4 things your cat is trying to tell you
‘No Mr. Snuggles!’ you yell, as your feline friend proceeds to demolish your precious couch despite the 704 times you’ve told the furry little monstrosity not to. Whether your couch is a precious 19th century, fine Italian silk antique or a comfy IKEA purchase from many years ago, scratch marks on furniture can be infuriating.
If you are a cat owner, you will also be no stranger to being woken up by your feline friend (or fiend) as her meows pierce through the hollow hallways at 3AM in the morning. While our canine friends are easy to figure out thanks to their expressive faces and body language, their feline counterparts can leave even the cat-ladiest of cat ladies at wits end trying to decode their behaviour.
While deciphering the mysterious actions of felines can be challenging, studies by cat behaviour researchers (yes, it’s a real thing!) give us a glimpse into the minds of felines. Here are 4 things your cat might be trying to tell you.
1) When I’m purring it doesn’t mean I’m happy
It’s a common misconception that when your cat is purring she’s happy. While that may be true, research has found that it may mean something more than just feelings of comfort or content. It can also mean that your cat is in pain, nervous or simply even asking for help! Because “asking for help” is not part of a cat’s vocabulary, purring is their next best option and may indicate a variety of internal states. Often the best way to truly understand what they’re feeling is to pay attention to their body language and little clues such as posture and tension.
Purring accompanied with head bunting, licking and brushing is a good sign that your cat is contented and happy. Purring with a hunched back, in a fearful position, or simply hiding in quiet dark corners may signify that the cat is sick or in pain.
2) Hands off the belly human
You come home and see your furry feline crawling up to your feet to greet you and turning over to expose her soft underbelly. You reach out to give her a good tummy rub, and before you know it, your hands are covered in scratches and bites. So what the heck cat?
Unlike dogs who show their bellies as an act of submission and in anticipation of some good ol’ belly rubs, cats rarely want their belly touched. In the wild, feral cats often expose their stomachs as a defensive position to fight off predators and much of this behaviour is still ingrained in today’s domestic cat. While a cat’s soft underbelly is her most vulnerable spot, her desire to showcase it to you is sign of adoration and feeling secure enough to relax in your presence. In fact, it can be the warmest compliment a cat can give to its pet parent.
3) I scratch because I need to
Cats love to scratch, and just because they love digging their nails into your precious furniture, doesn’t mean they’re actively trying to ruin our stuff (or our lives). Cats love to scratch for many reasons. For one they may be scratching to sharpen and to remove dead outer layers of their claws. Alternatively, cats are highly territorial creatures and their claws contain sweat glands which help mark their territory both visually and through their scent. An excited and happy cat can also be particularly scratchy. Your best bet? Try diverting her scratching behaviour to an acceptable surface.
Britex tip: A good way to teach proper scratching etiquette is to offer a scratching post. It needs to be anchored securely so it doesn’t wobble, or your cat may not take to it. Try positioning the scratching post near your cat’s favourite resting areas or the furniture they love digging their claws into. Direct your cat to the scratching post during play time or when she’s scratching furniture. Remember to reward your cat with pet treats or praises once she uses the post to reinforce the behaviour!
4) Cats peeing outside the litter box
One of the best things about cats is their uncanny commitment to hygiene. But when your cat starts to pee or poop outside of their litter box, it may their way of telling you that you need to step-up your litter box cleaning game. Overly full litter boxes or infrequent scooping can be enough for your cats to pee and leave smelly presents on your pillow, furniture or even carpet. Cats are perfectionists, so they definitely don’t fancy having to walk around their own waste to relieve themselves.
Another common reason for this behaviour may be that your cat is stressed about her current litter box set up. Having the litter box too close to their feeding area or high traffic areas of the house may discourage the cat from using the litter box. Similarly, having multiple cats in the household may indicate that there may be competition for the litter box. Cats are also picky little creatures, and this extends to how they poop. Some may prefer a crystal-like litter while some may opt for a sandy texture.
Britex tip: Experiment with different litter options to determine your cat’s preference. Remember to have one litter box per cat in the house to avoid competition and as a backup when one box gets full.
While dogs are prone to pee in the house every now and then, cats may resort to this at times too. Just because we love our feline friends doesn’t mean we love enduring the stain and smells of cat pee. Any cat Mum or Dad can attest that cat pee leaves behind a strong and pungent odour and an unmistakable stain, especially if it’s on fabric surfaces like carpet or upholstery. So what happens if your couch smells like cat pee?
Britex Urine Remover is a unique ‘no touch, no scrub’ enzyme-based formula specially formulated to remove old and new urine stains. It’s ideal for removing cat pee stains and their associated smells from carpet, rugs, mattresses, upholstery and much more. Britex Urine Remover ensures you never have to touch cat pee, with its formula working to destroy underlying stains and odours; just spray, apply a cloth or towel to the areas and wait!
The enzymes in the Britex Urine Remover break up the uric acid crystals and draw them out of your fabric or carpet. It is also pet and family safe.
All Britex products are available online or can be purchased at the Britex Deep Cleaner hire stand in Bunnings Warehouse, Woolworths and selected Coles, IGA, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware Stores.
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