The behavior of cats includes their way of acting and the habits they carry out on a daily basis, as well as the language they use to communicate, relate and interact with individuals and stimuli in their environment. Although we can come close to a logical definition of what feline behavior is, the truth is that we still have a lot to discover about the nature of cats and their forms of expression.
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However, we do know that the behavior of a cat is influenced not only by the characteristics inherent to its species, breed, genetics, and the personality of each individual, but it can also vary significantly depending on the education, environment, and care provided by it. each tutor.
In this Best Pets Lover article, we will talk in detail about the behavior of kittens and adults, as well as the factors that intervene in the formation of the feline’s character. In this way, you can improve communication and bonding with your cats, pillars for a positive coexistence.
How is the character of a cat formed?
The character and behavior of cats can vary greatly, as it depends on various factors. Here we will talk a little more about them:
- Genetics: the character of cats is closely related to their genetic heritage, up to 30%, which includes the characteristic traits of the breed and the parents. Thus, when felines have a skittish character, it is very likely that they will pass it on to their children.
- Socialization: the socialization of kittens directly influences the character of their adult stage. This period, which includes from two weeks of life to seven, is considered a “sensitive stage” since it is where the recognition of “friendly species” occurs. Therefore, during the socialization of puppies, we must ensure that they interact positively with all kinds of people, animals, and environments, without causing stress in individuals.
- Learning: education and the environment in which they have been developed provide felines with an experience that will have a direct impact on their behavior. In spite of the fact that hereditary qualities and socialization assume a vital part, learning is key in felines, homegrown creatures with extremely high mental capacities.
Thus, each cat can show a unique character, even when we talk about sibling individuals who have been raised together and have had similar experiences. Although some behaviors are typical of the species, the three factors that we have detailed above are the ones that will directly influence the character and behavior of cats. That is why the task of educating a cat since he is little is so important.
You can understand the behavior of cats through their ears as they indicate their emotional state and level of alertness:
- When they are erect, pointing up, they indicate that they are calm.
- If they are erect but pointing sideways, it means they are angry.
- Low ears and to the sides connote anxiety and defensiveness.
- If they are all the way down and back, they may be upset or afraid.
As you can see, the position of the ears can give you interesting clues, but to have more precise information, you should also look at other aspects of its body. If your cat, in addition to having his ears completely lowered and backward, also shows dilated pupils (a phenomenon called ‘mydriasis’), you must interpret that he is afraid. On the other hand, if the pupils are smaller (‘miosis’), be alert, because this connotes that he is angry and, shortly, he may attack you.
LIVING WITH OTHER CATS
Coexistence between felines is not usually easy. Fights and quarrels between them can become a frequent activity, and be provoked for various reasons.
Cats that have been neutered or that have lived with the family since they were little tolerated sharing their home with other pets much more. Fights often escalate into a struggle and show of force characterized by bristling hair, meowing, scratching, and snorting. Here are some of the reasons:
- Competition for female dominance.
- Territorial conflicts.
- Confrontation over access to food or drink.
- Fear between them.
- Pain during the game.
- Conflict while the female raises her litter.
- The appearance of a new cat at home.
In some cases, it is possible to try easy solutions to minimize these behaviors. For example, respecting the vital spaces of each one by separating their drinkers and feeders, locating their sandboxes in different places, and creating differentiated rest areas for them. Remember that cats sleep a lot (75% of the time), so it is important that they feel calm and safe in their space.
If even following these guidelines the situation does not improve, we recommend that you go to an ethologist, who is a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior.
AGGRESSIVENESS IN CATS
Cats are incredibly sensitive, but they have a very strong sense of territory. Changes in their physical or social environment can provoke extreme reactions that, although they may seem surprising to us, are completely normal.
FEAR OR DEFENSE
If your cat is in extreme fear, he may blow, stamp his paws, and run away. When cats defend their territory they can stalk, make a piercing sound or howl, and even jump on what they perceive as an intruder. Fear and territory defense can cause your cat to bite.
Fear and defense are often triggered by the senses of sight, smell, or noises made by unfamiliar cats outside. However, in some cases, the real origin of the aggression is never identified. You need to be alert, because it may happen that your cat directs its attack towards the “target” that is closest to it, for example towards another cat with the one who shares the house or even towards you.
The first step is to take your cat to the vet to determine if there is a medical problem causing this behavior. If he determines that he is in good health, he can provide you with the proper guidelines to deal with these reactions.
It is common for aggressive behavior to be associated with anxious or complicated dogs, but the truth is that cats can also have extreme reactions, even causing damage.
When cats sharpen their claws, they do it not only to keep them in good condition but above all to mark their territory by leaving visible and olfactory signs. Some cats even bite materials such as leather, cardboard, or fabrics.
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To prevent your cat from scratching cushions, furniture, and even the walls of your house with the excuse of sharpening its claws, you must provide it with an alternative. A good technique is to offer, for example, a piece of old cloth or carpet, a log of soft-barked wood, or pieces of softwood or sisal rope. Try placing them in different places and positions, both horizontally and vertically.
Until your cat leans towards his preferred option, we recommend that you cover the delicate areas of your house with plastic sheets that are not rigid, to protect them from possible scratches.
The only solution to ensure that your cat does not chew or swallow cardboard, rubber, cables, sewing threads, or other objects that may attract his attention, is to keep them out of his reach.
And if you detect that your cat’s destructive behavior is not appeased with some of these solutions, we recommend that you go to the veterinarian so that he can analyze these attitudes from a professional perspective.
CATS AND THEIR EMOTIONS
Emotions make your cat feel the impulse to act in response to a situation, as well as define how he feels once he has reacted. For example, the negative or adverse emotion of fear can lead your cat to defend herself, while the positive sensations she feels when you pet her can help her be more sociable.
Emotions can be divided into positive or negative, having ascending or descending scales. That is pleasure increases when your cat feels satisfied, until it seems exultant or ecstatic, while frustration can increase his rage or anger, generating fear or panic. When these symptoms appear, cats suffering from behavior problems are placed at the extreme ends of this emotional scale.
A recent study has shown that all cats have seven basic fundamental systems that activate their ability to react, according to the information that the senses transmit to their brain. These “seven wonders” include a “search” system to find food, a “fear” system by which they respond to unusual events that may be dangerous to them, a “play” system, and a “care” system by which they educate their little ones and establish vital social relationships.
In people, the areas of the human brain that have had a more recent evolution can transform this emotional potential into higher emotions, such as love, shame, contempt, concern, etc.
Although cats do not enjoy these “higher feelings”, it does not mean that they cannot develop simpler emotions such as well-being, sadness, anger, or fear, in the same way, that we humans do.
The behavior of cats according to their age
The behavior of cats varies according to the life stage in which they are. Thus, we can see that kittens are much more playful and curious, while older cats tend to show calmer behavior throughout the day.
Below we will talk a little about what to expect about the behavior of cats at each stage:
Puppy Cat Behavior
Puppies cats are not born with a defined character, although, as we have mentioned, there are personality traits that will be associated with the behavior of the species or genetics.
After birth, the kittens are completely dependent on their mother, until they are 9 or 15 days old, when they begin to gain mobility. At the same time, the beginning of their socialization period occurs, therefore, at this stage, it will be essential to socialize the kittens in a positive way.
We will let them interact with people, animals, and elements of the environment so that they can become familiar with them, thus avoiding the appearance of fears or other unwanted behaviors. All this will have repercussions on a balanced behavior in his adult stage.
From 4 or 5 weeks the socialization period begins to end, at the same time that progressive weaning occurs, and we will begin to observe new behaviors in kittens. Coexistence with their mother and siblings will allow them to learn the language and communication of cats, the basis of their social behavior.
We will observe that they begin to eat small amounts of food by themselves, use the litter box and bury their feces, the appearance of grooming towards themselves and other individuals, social play with their peers, predatory behavior, and a greater social behavior in general.
At this time it will be essential to use positive reinforcement (treats, kind words, or caresses) to encourage cats to show behaviors that we consider positive, such as using the scratching post, allowing themselves to be handled, or sleeping in their bed. It is important that we set with all the members of the household the behaviors to be reinforced, in this way we will achieve better results.
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Later, from 7 weeks of life and until puberty, felines start in the juvenile period, which is characterized by the appearance of sexual behaviors. At this time it will be essential to go to our veterinarian to inform us about the health benefits of castration of cats, such as the prevention of specific kinds of disease or pee checking inside the home.
Adult cat behavior
The behavior of adult cats will be greatly influenced by the stages of transition, socialization, and youth, even so, they will continue to learn throughout their lives from all those experiences that are presented to them.
If we have guaranteed them positive experiences, we will most likely see balanced behavior in our cats, although this may be slightly influenced by breed or genetics. However, there is no predictable behavior in adult cats, on the contrary, each feline will be able to develop its own character and temperament.
Even so, in general, we can observe that adult cats are territorial animals, which firmly cling to their routine as a way of preserving their well-being. Sudden changes often lead to stress in cats, which affects not only their behavior but also their health.
At this stage, it will be essential to continue stimulating the cats’ play and social behavior through daily activities and affection. We will avoid boredom and sedentary routines, betting on environmental enrichment, essential for managing stable behavior and a healthy weight in felines.
If we observe changes in the character of cats, we will go to a veterinarian with relative urgency, because we must know that these animals tend to hide pain, anxiety, and other problems that they may suffer very well until they are already in an advanced state. Regular veterinary visits, every six or twelve months, will be essential to guarantee their good physical and mental health, as well as to detect any anomaly promptly before it gets worse.
From 10 to 12 years of age, we will observe the appearance of the first symptoms of old age in cats, both physical and behavioral. At this stage, cats spend more time resting, require more care and affection, are not as active, and may begin to develop health problems. It will be essential to continue encouraging play and daily habits, even for a shorter period of time.
The behavior of cats with humans
Last (but not least), let’s talk a little about the behavior of cats with humans, specifically about the relationship they have with their guardians.
The survival instinct of cats pushes them to stick to a routine and defend their territory, but it also has a huge influence when it comes to relating to people. In general, it is totally normal for cats not to immediately approach an unknown person, although of course there are very sociable individuals who enjoy contact with people.
Cats tend to avoid and shy away from people they don’t know, those who are especially noisy, or those who want to catch them. In case of not being able to flee and feel cornered, cats can show certain warnings, such as snorts and growls. In the case of being ignored, they can even attack.
Subsequently, while attempting to safeguard or assist deserted felines, it with willing be essential to be exceptionally persistent and attempt to acquire the trust of the cats so they personally approach. Also, discover at Best Pets Lover some tips for approaching a fearful or frightened cat safely.
Yet, on the off chance that we discuss the connection between cats and their watchman, we as of now expect that it is a bond in light of love and trust. Of course, we cannot expect cats to act in the same way as a dog or a guinea pig, since they are different species.
In turn, felines tend to be more independent animals that often opt for a more solitary lifestyle in their natural state, although cats can form colonies of cats where each individual preserves its autonomy but collaborates with the survival of its own. cluster.
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Therefore, although cats understand that we provide them with optimal conditions for their development and we offer them affection, cats do not see us as references, as dogs do, but rather as members of their community (or family, for that matter). put it in more “human” terms).
In this manner, their approach to showing love to their watchmen will be basically the same as the manners by which they express appreciation towards different felines. To find out more about displays of affection in the feline world, at AnimalWised we show you 10 signs that your cat loves you.
The behavior of cats in heat
To finish, we must make a special mention of the behavior of cats in heat. We must know that sexual behaviors are totally instinctive and that they cause changes in your body and behavior. Influenced by daylight hours, weather, and other individuals, heat in cats causes certain behaviors, such as:
Although there are some contraceptive methods for cats that prevent the appearance of these symptoms, such as the injection for heat, we must know that they also have serious side effects on health. The main viable method for forestalling them totally is emasculation. Consult your veterinarian to find out more.
Understand your cat’s behavior and language
If you’re trying to understand your cat’s behavior and body language, our guide will explain everything you need to know to speak cat language!”
Learn to recognize the language of cats and their different behaviors:
- in a relaxed state, This is how your cat will spend most of her hours and it is a fundamental part of the feline language: relaxed, happy and comfortable in a familiar environment. It’s like he’s satisfied to see life go by. It might interest you Why is my cat always sleeping?
- in a state of attention, It may seem cute and fluffy, but if your cat is focused on a moving object or something new around here, you’ll notice her body language change as she tries to decide the best response to that stimulus.
- in a state of happiness, A happy cat is easy to recognize: you will easily understand their body language. Starting with the tail that keeps it up, and if, in addition to being happy, it feels safe and ready to receive affection, your cat will lie down with its paws up, waiting for you to pet it. Also, don’t forget the typical petting request where your cat snuggles up to you.
- in an anxious state, Cats are very sensitive, especially to changes. You can give him a reassuring pat when he comes in for reassurance and attention. Cats will always look for a safe place, if they come to you, try to be patient, consoling, and affectionate.
- in a state of fear, His body language will tell you that he is terrified, and he will only return to normal when he feels safe. Try not to move abruptly to calm him down, as he could be interpreted as another threat.
- in a state of frustration, Your cat may express frustration due to a specific immediate problem, such as not having their favorite toy, due to “excessive caresses” or some presence that makes them uncomfortable. Although your cat can get over his short-term frustration period relatively quickly, it’s hard to play with a long-term frustrated cat. So if you think that he may be suffering from this problem due to unusual or negative behavior over a long period of time, it is important that you consult your veterinarian.
- in a state of anger, Always avoid provoking an angry cat: do not stare at it or yell at it, do not make sudden movements or try to touch it or calm it down, as it may interpret it as a threatening gesture, and attack you.
- in a state of relief, When an angry, scared, or frustrated cat feels that the threat has passed, he begins to feel relieved and you will immediately notice a change in his behavior. To give you an idea, a frightened cat runs away from the situation and hides; When he already shows relief, he leaves his lair to re-interact with his surroundings
Cats are observant, attentive, and expressive animals. It is very easy to identify the situation in which your feline is. Remember that it is very important to have the knowledge of how your cat reacts to changes and the signs of happiness from him, you can help him stay healthy, both physically and emotionally.
10 keys to understanding your cat’s behavior
“Cats are one of the favorite pets. On International Cat Day, these are some facts to better understand them and achieve a great bond with them”
Cats have unique and often mysterious behavior. By the way, they have a lot of pet peeves that are part of their usual character. Sometimes they run away and are surly and other times, instead, they chase us around the house, looking for signs of affection.
1- Cat body language
It is very common to see them moving their legs, they do this to express that they are comfortable and safe, because they execute the same movements that they did in the happiest stage of their lives: breastfeeding.
Another important part of their body language is the tail, which expresses different feelings depending on its position and movement.
Cats often rub their heads against the legs or pants of humans to leave their scent marking their presence and territory.
2- Petting a cat
Although many cats enjoy being pampered, it is important to know that interaction with humans is something they must learn in a relatively short period of time, between two and seven weeks of life.
In addition, the cat’s personality, the areas of the body that are touched, and how the cat is handled in general can play a role in how the cat responds to human affections.
According to scientists, a cat that tolerates petting is not necessarily a happy cat, as there are higher levels of stress in cats that tolerate petting instead of actively showing their discontent.
3- The food of these cats
Cats cannot taste anything sweet. A genetic defect is responsible.
Therefore, foods with added sugar do not taste any different to cats than foods without sugar. It is best not to give them sugary products.
Cats speak with one another essentially through their non-verbal communication. It is important to note that they almost only use meows with humans, as they often do not perceive their body signals.
According to a recent study, cats can recognize their name and distinguish it from other similar words of the same length and intonation, even when the person who pronounces it is a person unknown to them.
5- How much do cats sleep?
Cats are very sleepy, most house cats can sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day (50 to 110 minutes at a time) and it is not unusual for a cat to sleep up to 17 hours.
They are of twilight or nocturnal habits, which coincides in part with the times that the modern urban human being can dedicate to them.
6- Anatomy and its power of adaptation
Cats are agile and flexible and it is often amazing how they can pass through certain places or manage their body with superlative suppleness and finesse.
The shoulders of cats are only connected to the spine by ligaments and muscles, and the collarbone is just a vestige. This makes its skeleton flexible and allows it to cushion jumps and enables it to go through small holes.
A fit cat can jump up to 2 meters from a standing position, without prior momentum running. Felines have 32 muscles in every ear, while people just have six.
7- The look of cats
Although they use many parts of their body to communicate, such as their tails and legs, their eyes are a fundamental part of their overall communication. Cats speak with their eyes. Through the look, they say if they are afraid, angry, or calm.
Staring at a cat can be a pattern of intimidation or defiance. They do it when in a state of alert they stare without blinking trying to dissuade the possible threat. Hence, it isn’t great to gaze at them since they feel tested.
They are capable of winking their eyes or even more so of making mischievous and complicit half-closed eyes when they want to express that there is no conflict and that everything is fine.
8- Cat licks
Hygiene and grooming (possible due to the rough and prickly structure of their tongue), are desirable consequences of a task motivated fundamentally by reasons of identity and identification, thermal regulation, and incorporation of vitamins.
When we caress our cat, it is most likely that we will receive in response a series of obsessive and rhythmic licks given by the minimum on the areas where we have touched the animal. This does not mean contempt for us, far from it, it means a biological need to defend and clarify their identity and identification as a cat and nothing more.
9- Cats and games
Depending on the type of game, toy, or activity and the interaction that the activity needs, it will be the time that should be dedicated. If you get bored easily, it’s because you didn’t find the game attractive.
There are numerous components to engage felines, from toys to food, yet the most effective way to do it is by playing with them. Specialists recommend that direct contact with the body not be part of the game as they need the consistent message that the body is not for sinking teeth or claws. Toys ought to be utilized to reproduce the pursuit of feline requirements to do.
10- Cats and old age
While it is not common for cats to live 20 years or more, it is acceptable that the average feline life span is considered to be between 13 and 15 years. Aging is a natural process, which produces changes in the body’s metabolism, hormonal balance, and sensory perception. Age brings with it a gradual decline in the body’s metabolic activity. Decreased tolerance to medication, inability to regulate body temperature, decreased caloric needs, and decreased immunity to disease accompany this decline.
The progressive degeneration of the organs responsible for hormonal functions (thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, and kidneys) can lead to associated diseases. The ability to taste, smell, hear and see also decreases with age.
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Physical and behavioral manifestations may reflect some of these bodily changes: progressive loss of brightness of the eyes; fur thinning; increased sensitivity to cold; loose skin; prominent spine and hips; stiffening of the joints; graying of the muzzle; muscle atrophy and deafness.
Behaviorally, the older cat is less tolerant of environmental changes, sleeps more and is less active, and may even appear more irritable. Once they reach eight or nine years of age, cats are more susceptible to diseases associated with aging. It is advisable to have older cats checked annually or more often by a veterinarian.
THE BEHAVIOR OF SMALL CATS
Sociable cats are more likely to have kittens adapted to society. The little ones “feed” on their mothers’ calmness or their fearful attitude towards people. Although feeding time is important, it is also essential to include petting, talking, and playing with the puppy in order to build “people skills” in him.
Kittens are usually weaned at six or seven weeks but may continue to nurse for comfort as their mother moves further and further away from them. Stranded little cats, or those weaned early, are bound to display unseemly sucking ways of behaving sometime down the road. Ideally, the little ones stay with their littermates (or other role models) for at least 12 weeks.
Kittens that are orphaned or separated too soon from their mother or other litters often cannot develop appropriate “social skills,” for example, learning to send and receive signals, what “bite inhibition” means, how far to go in a fighting game. Play is important to them because it increases their physical coordination, social skills, and learning limits. By interacting with their mother and littermates, kittens learn to “be cats.”
Those who are handled between 15 and 40 minutes a day for the first seven weeks are more likely to develop larger brains. They are more explorers, more playful, and learn better. Skills not acquired in the first eight weeks may be lost forever. While these stages are significant and genuinely predictable, a catlike’s psyche stays responsive to new encounters and examples quite a ways past their puppyhood. Most cats remain babies, in body and mind, for the first two years.
The following table provides general guidelines for the stages of development.
From 0 to 2 weeks
- Learn to orient yourself to the sound.
- The eyes begin to open and are usually open for two weeks.
Partition from their mom and littermates as of now can prompt unfortunate acquiring abilities and hostility toward individuals and different pets, including different felines.
2 to 7 weeks
- By the third week, their sense of smell is well developed, and they can see well enough to find their mother.
- By the fourth week, the sense of smell is fully mature, and hearing is well developed. They start to interact with their littermates, they can all walk quite well and their teeth start to come in.
- By the fifth week, their eyesight is fully mature, they can right themselves, run, accurately position their legs, avoid obstacles, stalk and pounce, and catch “prey” with their eyes.
- By the sixth and seventh week, they begin to develop adult sleep patterns, motor skills, and social interaction.
- They begin to groom themselves and others.
From 7 to 14 weeks
- Social and object games increase their physical coordination and social skills. Most of the learning is achieved by observation, preferably from their mother.
- Social play includes rolling over, hugging, ambushing, and licking.
- Play with objects includes using paws as spoons, throwing, pawing, chewing, and holding.
- Tail chasing, pouncing, jumping, and dancing are their social or object games.
From 2 to 6 months
- For the most part, they are influenced by their “brood” (other species are now among their playmates).
From 6 to 18 months
- High exploration of affirmation.
- If he is not spayed or neutered, sexual behavior begins.