Ever wondered why your cat can be loving towards you one minute and mount a seemingly vicious attack the next? Cat owners from across Worcestershire came to watch Vet JT deliver his recent presentation on cat behaviour and behavioural disorders and were treated to a thorough Q&A session that covered a variety of topics.
Questions asked by the audience ranged from “why have my two cats fallen out since the new ginger cat moved in next door”, and “why does my kitten howl after he’s eaten”, to “why do cats hate cucumbers” and “is my cat healthy if she has different coloured eyes”.
As well as answering the audience’s questions, JT’s helped local cat owners to understand what normal behaviours are, which may be considered undesirable, and what types of behaviours are classed as disorders.
One issue that seemed to be very common in the audience, was being bitten by your cat. One minute your cat can be fine, even loving towards you, and the next minute he/she can bite and/or scratch you.
Vet JT explained, “Cats are descendants of the African Wild Cat and still have some very strong hunter/prey natural instincts. If you engage in rough play or use your hands to play with them, it’s likely this natural instinct will kick in and your cat will ‘attack’, as if it was going after prey. This is a reflex behaviour, not an attempt to hurt you.”
“Also, unlike dogs, most cats don’t like to be stroked firmly for a long period of time, but prefer a couple of light strokes at most, or to be tickled under the chin – each cat is different though, so it’s important that you take some time to observe your own cat and their response to your interactions. It is common for owners that do ‘over stroke’ at times to get bitten. This is often referred to as petting-induced aggression, and it can be easily managed.”
Both of the above scenarios are normal cat behaviours, but JT’s advice if you have a cat that bites and want to avoid being bitten, is to a) use toys to play with your cat rather than your hands and b) only give your cat a couple of strokes and then move your hand away. Remember affection with cats has to be always on their terms.
Over the next few weeks we’ll bring you some more insight’s from JT’s cat behaviour talk, but for now, we’ll leave you with some of the feedback we had from the audience.
“It [the event] was enlightening, informative and engaging – an all round great forum and evening. It was interesting (and somewhat comforting) to hear how others are dealing with their cats’ behaviour” – Olivia Lees