A cat staring at you with its big eyes, crawling up or rubbing its head against you; the behaviour of cats is fascinating and astonishing at times. What is your cat trying to tell you? These six tips will help you learn more about your cat as well as recognise its remarkable behaviour.
1. Recognising the behaviour of cats? Get to know your cat!
Learning to recognise a cat’s behaviour requires you to get to know the cat first. Every cat is different and their behaviour may be very specific to the character or breed of your cat. For example, yawning while eating may mean it is used to getting an extra treat and is trying to get your attention. But in other cases, yawning may be a sign of stress. It is important to get to know your cat before labelling its behaviour.
2. Try to think like a cat
Getting to know your cat requires you to think like a cat. Remember that cats are solitary animals which means they are fine being left alone. This is especially true of senior cats; a buddy is very important in the first stages of its life, which includes its socialisation. In addition, cats are real hunters. Expressing this instinct requires a sufficient amount of challenge. Cats that aren’t challenged enough, will experience stress and will become aggressive more quickly. Make sure there are enough challenges in the house, especially when you have an indoor cat.
3. Remember that cats love quality
Typical cat behaviour is to leave their food or take a single bite of fresh kibble. This is because of their sensitive sense of smell, which will tell them when food isn’t fresh or edible. Plus, a cat doesn’t need a lot of food because they have small stomachs. This is why cats will eat small portions. They don’t go for quantity, but for quality. This food is bound to make your cat happy!
4. Pay attention to your cat’s body language
Tail up, tail down, flat ears, whiskers back, large eyes, arched back. Body language is extremely important when reading cat behaviour. A happy cat can be recognised by the position of its tail; it should be upright like an antenna with a small curl at the tip (like a question mark). A swinging tail means the cat is not at ease; it is warning you that it is not enjoying the situation and you will have to do something about it. We all know the arched back and thick tail. A typical case of a startled or very upset cat.
5. Let cats get used to changes gradually
Cats are beasts of habit and very sensitive to stress. A change in their environment is enough to cause a lot of stress, including a new housemate, partner, baby or cat. A cat will need time to acclimatise. The holiday period can be stressful to a cat as well. Prepare your cat and any care-taker for the changed situation as much as possible, even if it will last only a short period of time.
6. Strange behaviour, consult your vet!
Cats are masters at hiding pain. But several behaviours may indicate pain, including: anxious behaviour, lethargy, uncleanliness and sudden aggressive behaviour. Whenever you notice any of these or other strange behaviours (that you haven’t noticed before), always consult your vet.