“18 Important Points of Cats Behavior”
By: Dr. Zahid Afzal
As veterinary professionals, proactively educating your clients on what to expect from their feline friends and how to prevent some of the more common behavioral issues will improve the chances of that cat staying in its home.In this Article you will learn about some of the more common and potentially problematic feline behaviors to best educate your clients and work towards strengthening the bond with their cat through better understanding. As in the veterinary profession, I personally analyzed that more than 60% of Cat/Feline Health related problems are due to Behavioral Changes/Behavioral Disturbance. So understanding these Basic 18 points of Feline Behavior leads to the perfect diagnosis of any health related problems.
Points of Feline Behavior:-
- The sensitive socialization period of kittens towards humans is between 2-7 weeks of age. Socialization of kittens involves exposing them to a variety of people and experiences, in a safe environment. Cats are believed to reach social maturity at 2 .5 to 4 years of age.
- Kittens learn a great deal from their mothers, so good maternal behavior is essential for healthy kitten development. Kittens that are separated from their mothers and hand-reared away from litter mates are more likely to be fearful of kittens and people, more sensitive to novel stimuli, and slower to learn.
- Playful behavior with litter mates and the mother begins around 4 weeks of age and predatory type behaviors begin to be incorporated into and dominate play behavior by 3 months of age.
- Predatory type behaviors may be directed towards humans and, if not properly managed, can lead to aggression issues in the home.
- Domestic cats have long been erroneously labeled as “asocial,” possibly due to the fact that they are solitary hunters. In fact, domestic cats are actually very social animals. The complexity of social interactions increases with an increasing number of cats in a home. As a result, the likelihood of problem behaviors increases in multi-cat households.In short we can say that the probability of problem behaviors increases with an increased number of cats.
- Space and access to resources to prevent behavioral problems. This includes multiple litter boxes and litter box locations as well as multiple feeding locations, water locations and resting areas. Providing single cat resting perches makes use of vertical space in a home and functionally increases the useful square footage, thus decreasing potential points of conflict between cats.
- Most litter boxes designed today are too small for the cat. The formula for the Kitten Litter boxes( Housing Box of Kitten) should be No. of boxes = No. of cats +1.
- Cats are known for their fastidious behavior. Grooming takes up a good portion of their time, second only to sleeping/resting. Despite this, people often fail to keep the litter box clean. The litter box should be scooped regularly (at least daily) and washed using soapy water on a regular schedule.
- The tendency is to place the litter box in a location that is less desirable to and not frequently used by the humans in the home (such as a basement or laundry room). It is important to place the box where it will be scooped regularly and not forgotten.
- Cats generally will prefer a quiet, private and easily accessible location which allows them to see their surroundings and not be startled by humans, other household pets or household machinery. For example, if the litter box is placed in a laundry room, a washing machine that goes off balance or a noisy buzzer that sounds as the cat is visiting the litter box could lead to inappropriate elimination.
- Marking is a normal behavior for the cat and is a form of both olfactory and visual communication. There are multiple forms of marking including scratch marking, bunting (facial mark), rolling and urine marking.
- Cats usually scratch mark on prominent surfaces that are in the path of their travels; therefore scratching posts need to be in prominent, well-traveled locations. Selection of fabrics on furniture that do not provide purchase for the claws can make the furniture less attractive.
- There are multiple forms of aggression in cats that may lead to problems in the home. These include, but are not limited to: play related, redirected and territorial aggression. Consultation with a veterinarian is important any time a cat exhibits aggression.
- Cats are also notorious for redirected aggression – when upset they often lash out at the closest target. In a study, the two most common inciting stimuli identified for redirected aggression were loud noises and the sight of another cat.
- Owners should be counseled regarding feline body postures so that they can better “read” their cat’s mood and avoid handling during times of heightened arousal. If the source of the aggression can be determined, steps should be taken when possible to eliminate the cat’s exposure to that source.
- Some cats may develop territorial aggression in the house and attack other cats in the home as well as the owners. This type of behavior is more common in sexually and socially mature cats. This type of aggression may be the result of inter cat conflicts and fear. Provide plenty of resources for the cats in the house to minimize territorial protection.
- Cats surpass dogs as the most popular pet . Sadly, natural feline behaviors can be misinterpreted, causing a breakdown in the human-animal bond leading to relinquishment to shelters and euthanasia.
- The more cat owners understand natural behaviors natural of cats, the more likely they can learn to manage specific behaviors and live happily with their feline friends.
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