Wednesday, January 26

Four things your cat would rather you stop doing


Our cats are stressed. And one of the reasons is simply that we ask too much of them. It is not surprising that diseases such as feline dermatitis, cystitis or kidney problems are becoming more and more frequent in our house cats; And all of these problems are usually related to stress.

Why won’t my cat stop licking me?

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But we can remedy it and make, of course, our cats happy. Although, to begin with, we need to understand them better, know what they need, and also what they like. And quite the opposite: recognize those things that our cat would prefer us to stop doing.

1. Stop stroking your cat’s belly

If we live with a cat or a kitten, this scene may be familiar to us: we arrive home and our beloved feline receives us, first, with a few rubs of his body against his legs. Then he falls to the ground, makes the furry kibble (one of my favorite cat gestures!) And lies on his back, exposing his irresistible belly.

And I say irresistible, because many people interpret this “hello kitty” as an invitation to caress the belly of their felines. But it is not: it is only a social signal with which they say “hello” to us, and also the cats tell us how much they love us, how happy they are to see us, and how much they trust us.

Let’s think about it this way: the gut is one of the most vulnerable parts of our cats and they would never show it to someone they distrust because they would literally be putting their life in danger. In fact, the science tells us that the belly is one of the most sensitive parts of cats; and also one of the areas of their body that, normally, they least like to be caressed. Not to all, because there are always exceptions: but yes to the vast majority.

We already know: the next time our cat shows us the gut, let’s take it for what it is: a “I love you very much and I am very happy to see you, human.” And, instead of throwing ourselves on his gut (and ending up getting a well-deserved bite), let’s respond with gentle strokes on the chin, behind the whiskers, or under the ears; that our cat will enjoy much more.

2. Do not hold the cat in your arms, purr favor

Sometimes all we want to do is pick up our cats and cuddle them, even a little bit. They are so soft and adorable! But this is not always a good idea. My experience as an expert in feline behavior tells me that many people hug their cats because it is what they (humans) fancy; But it doesn’t always mean your cats like it too.

In fact, there are much kinder ways to interact with our felines, following what we learn from science, and “good cat etiquette”: we know from studies that when we let our cats take the lead, interactions tend to be more interesting , longer and much more enjoyable for everyone. And you will, for example, get your cat to lick you: a sign of all the love he has for you.

There’s more: most cats prefer to keep all four of their legs in contact with the ground. For this reason, when we pick them up, many begin to shake, wiggle and become tense: it is the unmistakable sign that they want you to put them down.

3. The “staring war” with your cat is not fun.

It may seem like a harmless gesture to stare into the eyes of our cats, even amusing; but your feline disagrees. For cats, staring into each other’s eyes is a sign of defiance or warning; even the start of a fight: everything contrary to a loving or kind gesture. In fact, many cats can feel intimidated and uncomfortable.

You already know: let’s avoid “star wars” with our cats. This does not mean that we cannot look them in the eye; but they will prefer that we put on a soft, relaxed look, and that we blink frequently.

4. And forget about punishing your feline

Not only is it unpleasant, it can border on abuse. Also, cats don’t understand punishment. As simple as that. Our domestic cats, all of them, come from a solitary hunter (Felis silvestris lybica).

This implies that cats do not have as developed a social language as we do. And also, among other issues, that they do not understand the punishment. What’s more, when we punish or yell at our beloved cats, they will most likely end up scared of us, and we can permanently destroy the relationship we have with our cat friends.

If there is a behavior that you do not understand, that you want to understand better or, even, that worries you or you would like to change your cat, the advice is to resort to the feline behavior inquiries with an accredited expert. Because cats do learn, but they need us to teach them in their catlike way.

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