Cat Behaviour

1
The litter box rule that cat owners should not ignore
2
Haiku: An Unlikely Friendship Emerges
3
What is Your Cat Really Thinking?
4
Are you letting your cat walk all over you?
5
5 things I learned about making a bed with cats around
6
Caturday Art: Let’s sing Acatpella!
7
Caturday Art: The Cat and Printer
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How to facilitate harmony between rival cats with this easy tip
9
7 Reasons Why Cats Love Your Laptop
10
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Cat Moms!
11
Why we decided to stop declawing cats – Interview with two no-declaw clinics
12
Declawing – why it needs to stop
13
Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?

The litter box rule that cat owners should not ignore

Providing the right number of litter boxes per cat is one of the key factors in preventing inappropriate elimination or spraying behaviors before they start. Litter box aversion is one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters.

There’s a long line for every situation in life; the line at the grocery check-out, the line at the boarding gate and that inevitably long line in the women’s restroom when intermission is about to end. Don’t you hate that? But there’s a restroom of a different kind in your multi-cat household, the litter box, where waiting in line should never be the norm. It’s a well-known fact that the key to a happy and confident cat is providing ample space for each cat to own, more so when they’re co-existing with fellow feline housemates. And even more so when it comes to their toileting habits. When one of your cats start spraying ‘cat-fiti’ on your walls or doors or gifting you with puddles on your hardwood floor, take that as more than a hint that you need to make some litter box adjustments. Having too few litter boxes for multiple cats is like playing musical chairs; except in this instance, the eliminated cat becomes the eliminator, or rather, the inappropriate eliminator! Yes, that viscous yellow liquid under the chair in the kitchen is not your toddler’s spilled orange juice! (horror of horrors)

There are various factors that may cause a cat to avoid the litter box such as location, size, type (covered vs. uncovered), type of litter substrate, how often it gets scooped and cleaned, stress and the number of boxes.  Read More

Haiku: An Unlikely Friendship Emerges

A sweet peck on the cheeks, a nose to nose greeting, perhaps a game of chase a bit later. One of them is twice the size of the other but in recent months, Charlie and Sarabi have formed a friendship that is quite odd, yet endearing to watch.

At 20 pounds, with a large set head, cheeks and jaw line that resembles an unneutered Tom’s, this large lad could easily rule the Chirpy roost. Instead, Charlie is a huge cuddle bug and chief biscuit maker, always bowing his head in submission to the Chief Social Facilitator, Mr. Jack, asking for head boops and grooms. His physique bears testimony to the much-touted phrase “he’s not fat, he’s just big-boned, because, well, he truly is big boned!

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What is Your Cat Really Thinking?

Instead of our Marvellous Monday Haiku, we present something a little different on this marvelous Monday morning. We know humans are always wondering about what us cats are thinking. You write books about “thinking like a cat,” you Google things like “Why does my cat do this or that?” But to tell you the honest to whiskers truth, there is no secret to know what we want. We’re constantly demonstrating our needs. We drop hints and signs everywhere, and if that’s not enough, many of us vocal cats (myself included) speak our minds! For the most part, you get us. There is no mystery to why we chase the red dot… it’s red, it moves randomly and we like to chase things.

We’re not very different you and I. Both curious by nature; perhaps that is why you are attracted to our species, Felis Catus, in the first place.

I think the human-cat relationship is something special because you have come to understand that one most vital thing about us; that we have never been fully domesticated and we are still very much in tune with our wild roots.  We know you like that about us. So in honor of our special bond, here is a poem which summarizes my kitty thoughts …. just in case you were still wondering.

thinking cat

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Are you letting your cat walk all over you?

I lay here, unable to move, barely able to stretch my legs for fear of waking a sleeping pile of purring fur at my legs. My neck feels contorted, head shoved off the pillow, and then I open my eyes staring nose to nose at my oldest cat, me graciously accepting a raspy tongue for a second or two. Well wasn’t that a good night’s sleep?!

Cat and his human

Our cats are always hogging our space, wanting to be with us, everywhere. Like many cat people, we practice an open door policy for the bathroom. There’s one cat asleep on the mat next to the shower, there’s another looking curiously from his ‘basin bed.’ I have accepted that cat hair, like invisible floating snowflakes, will always mysteriously land on my mascara wand when applying makeup. This is the complete cat package, one that we would never give up for the world.

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5 things I learned about making a bed with cats around

Most cat owners know all too well the daily struggle of making a bed with cats lurking about. There you are removing the bedding, shaking out the sheets and cats come from all corners of the house to make a mad dash for the bed to pounce and ‘tent’ under flying sheets. Cats have a built-in radar for hearing the rustle of sheets and bedding no matter where they are in the house.

“Someone’s making the bed, let’s go pawticipate!”

The more you shake out the sheet, the more excited your cat becomes, thinking this game is most definitively ten times better than that silly wriggly new toy you had bought last week. On a cat’s list of things to do, only ‘boxing’ or sitting in a box, tops ‘helping the human make bed’, which comes in at a close second.

These are the 5 things I learned about making the bed with the help of cats

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Caturday Art: Let’s sing Acatpella!

Cats sing Acatpella for morning breakfast

Our most riveting ‘Acatpella’ performance at breakfast time!

There are not many things us cats do together as a team. Of course, there’s synchronized sleeping and grooming, but those things are largely accidental and form part of the random humdrum existence of cat life. But there is an activity that unites us all towards a common goal, and that is performing our morning song to be fed our breakfast on time. If you have never heard of ‘A-cat-pella’ before, you have never lived in a multi-cat household. This is the moment when we set aside our differences with the dawning of each new day and unite as “team cat”, performing our morning song with unrivaled purpose and vigor. Our harmonies are sweet, yet tinged with an urgency that screams “hear the cry of our starving clan”.

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Caturday Art: The Cat and Printer

Cat and the printer

George tries his calming reiki skills on the ‘beast’.

Hello my furriends! I’m George and I’m super stoked to be featuring in this week’s Caturday Doodle. Like all cats, I am very attuned and connected to my environment and everything around me should have their place. But I’m also one of those cats that get easily over-stimulated by enthusiastic human cuddles when the energy transferred is just too much to bear. Luckily my humans know this and everything is good in the cuddles department.

But there is one other thing in my cat environment that I don’t quite think belongs there and it needs to go.

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How to facilitate harmony between rival cats with this easy tip

Cats grooming each other

Let me groom you, my friend.

In every multi-cat household, there is that one cat that unwittingly performs a very important task – sharing and maintaining the communal scent of the whole group through grooming. In our household of ten cats, this cat is none other than Mr. Jack, the groomer of all cats. Cat behaviorists call this the ‘social facilitator’ cat. One could compare this cat to that nice kid in high school who reaches out to the less popular kid and befriends him. He’s confident enough not to care about reputation but believes that everyone counts. For Mr Jack, it doesn’t matter if you’re not in his circle, he doesn’t discriminate and will happily go around grooming the others, mixing all the scents so that everyone smells the same. This is a vital ingredient in the success of maintaining harmony in a multi-cat household. Scent is everything for a cat. Whether Mr. Jack knows this or not, when there is a grooming session in motion, the tension between the cats automatically decreases.

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7 Reasons Why Cats Love Your Laptop

Cats at computer

She’s changed the darn password again!

Cat-cess Denied

Hello everyone and Happy Caturday. It’s Mr. Jack here and today I’d like to talk about an obsession of ours that has probably perplexed humans since its invention. No, it’s not tuna. It’s not even catnip. I have bigger fish to fry and I have my paws firmly gripped onto its keys every day. Yes, it’s your computer, your laptop, your precious iPad, or whatever name it goes by. But for us cats, it doesn’t matter what you call it, a computer by any other name is just as awesome! I know I’m in good company because all you cats out there can relate to this cat obsession with keyboards and technology. Cat savvy humans have tapped into this trend of ours and have even built us some amazing apps for cats. A high paw to that I say!

There are many reasons why we love your computer and why it’s a good thing for you too. I highlight just a few below:

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the Cat Moms!

Cat Mom

Cat Mom and her thinking cat

Celebrate that special bond

It’s Mother’s day and us cat moms deserve a place at the table. Let’s embrace our cool cat lady-ness and relegate that mythical creature, The Crazy Cat Lady, to the history books. We should proudly celebrate the special bond we share with our feline friends because we have almost come full circle where cats are earning their rightful place as cherished members of our families. They have reclaimed their ‘cool’ badge courtesy of the Internet, the dog park for kitty lovers. Cats have been in vogue for a while now with the likes of celebrity cat ladies, Taylor swift and Katy Purry Perry flaunting their furry felines on social media. There’s a Grumpy cat meme for every situation and who doesn’t like cats in bowties? But more importantly there are more scientific studies being carried out on cat-human relationships and us humans are delving deeper into understanding cats better in order to live in harmony with them. Hooray for the kitties and their humans!

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Why we decided to stop declawing cats – Interview with two no-declaw clinics

 

Cat with toy

There are a few veterinary clinics in Montreal who have decided to take a solid no-declaw stance and have stopped performing declaws. The Pierrefonds Animal Hospital and the Centre Vétérinaire Riv Sud are two such veterinary clinics. I have reached out to them for an insider view of declawing and why they have taken this major step to stop practicing it. The good news is that both clinics report a growing awareness among their clients about what declawing is. These clients are very willing to accept the many humane alternatives. However, there still seems to be that tiny percentage who will insist, but they now happily decline them. Eventually with persistence and education, hopefully these requests will be a thing of the past. Below is my interview with Anita Cuisinier DVM and Susan Brown DVM.

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Declawing – why it needs to stop

cat showing claws

Scout proudly displaying her claws and feeling confident, the tortie way.

 

Declawing in North America is a controversial topic. I had never heard of declawing before, until I moved to Canada. I knew that North American cats, for the most part, lived an indoor pampered life of luxury and comfort and that of course, like everywhere else, are valued members of their families. What I didn’t know was that there existed a culture of declawing for reasons none other than to spare the couch from damage. Roughly 31% of these pampered North American cats are missing a vital part of their anatomy, their toes. Try as I may, I could not come to grips with the fact that it is done purely for the convenience of the owners with zero benefit to the cat. As someone who has had the honour to have been owned by many clawed cats all her life, the idea of declawing is not only cruel but totally absurd. Why remove a body part that is as vital to them for their functioning and well-being, as our limbs are to us? As many as 28 countries all agree that there is nothing controversial or debatable about the amputation of cats’ toes, it’s just outright inhumane and shouldn’t be practiced.

March 29 is National Declaw Awareness Day. The goal is to create awareness around this heated topic, educate cat guardians about what declawing entails and help put an end to this unnecessary procedure which is still very much rife in North America. But what exactly is declawing and why is it still practiced here?

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Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?

Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?
The wonders of the litter box, cat toilet, cat washroom, kitty potty or whatever you wish to name it, is something most of us cat guardians love to hate. Sure, there is no dog walking involved and no poop to scoop up in a park, little Fluffy comes toilet trained. I was always fascinated with the cat’s innate ability to cover their waste. It’s just what cats do, it’s in their DNA. Put a kitten in front of a litter box and they immediately know what it’s for and start digging a hole to take care of business. These fastidious habits of washing up after eating and burying feces stem from their link to the wild before they were domesticated. In order not to attract any attention of potential predators they would wash off any remaining scent after eating and bury their feces after doing their toilet business.

When I look back at the cats I’ve had, I’ve only ever encountered litter box problems when they were frightened by something, bullied by another cat in a multi-cat household or sick. And now that my oldest cats are twelve and thirteen years old and I have never had a soiling problem ever – not even during the car rides to cats shows around Ireland and on two plane trips to two different countries!

Problems arise when we, as cat guardians, don’t recognize the signals that our cats are sending us. When your cat starts to eliminate in inappropriate places it is important to examine when and where the problem started and from there figure out how to stop the behavior. Remember that cats do not understand punishment, like rubbing their faces in their mess, or isolating them in a bathroom.

There are many factors that come into play when kitty starts to soil inappropriately and that can include any of the below:

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