He prefers boxes to his basket, squats my computer as soon as I turn it on, blinks his eyes … So many attitudes that disconcert and are often misinterpreted. Decryption of the mysterious habits of our pet felines.
– By doctor Laetitia Barlerin, veterinarian
1. HE WAKES ME UP AT NIGHT
You think, “He’s hungry. “
He thinks:” No more boring! “
No need for a clock radio with it except you can’t program your time. It’s invariably hers: 4 or 5 in the morning. He starts meowing, then jumps up on the bed and rubs against your face, purring. You end up getting up to fill his bowl. The real nature of the cat is that of a solitary and rather nocturnal predator with peaks of activity at dusk and dawn. These are privileged moments of huntingwhere he sees there as in broad daylight while his favorite prey, rodents, come out of their hiding place. Early morning is when the birds start to sing in the nightly silence and are more easily spotted. This is why your cat is in great shape at 5 a.m. while he snoozes all day. He wants to hunt, to go out, to play, to eat, and does not understand that you are still in the arms of Morpheus.
For full nights, close your bedroom door, play with him for a long time in the evening before going to bed, and provide him with a kibble dispenser toy to keep him busy while you sleep.
2. HE LIES DOWN ON MY COMPUTER
You think, “He can’t stand me working. “
He thinks:” We’re nice and warm. “
You just have to come and strum your computer for it to jump on the desk, rub against you, then lie down casually on the keyboard or the documents spread out, eyes half-closed. Provocation to prevent you from working and to force you to take an interest in him? It is not so. According to him, it is the best resting place in the house: he finds there heat (that of the desk lamp, of the computer), tranquility (necessary for your work) and the attention of a person. who talks to him or caresses him. And the rustling of leaves under his feet is funny.
The best is to place a soft cushion on a corner of the desk and under the lamp. The presence of a cat promotes concentration and creativity, it is proven!
3. HE KNEADS MY KNEES
You think, “Ouch! “
He thinks:” I feel good with you. “
Every night, it’s the same ritual. You sit on the sofa and he immediately climbs on your knees to come knead your sweater, your pants or your skirt while purring. It could have been a pleasant moment if it weren’t for the annoying and painful habit of kneading while going out and in his claws. Ouch! Still, he just wants to tell you that he’s fine with you and that he’s relaxing. Because this unusual behavior is to be compared to that of the kitten who heads the udder of its mother and “kneads” it to promote the flow of milk. Like a return to childhood triggered by your presence, the contact with soft and pleasant fabrics (such as the skin of his mother?) Is a well-being.
Do not push him away, but remember to cut his claws and slip a plaid over your knees.
4. IT FITS IN THE BOXES AND BAGS THAT I BRING BACK
You think, “He’s really weird. “
He thinks:” I’m having! “
It has the “cardboard mania”: when you bring a package home, it waits until it is empty to slip into it and play chasing an invisible mouse. The plastic bags have the same effect on him, he goes in, turns and returns, then comes out like a racing car. Some even like to tear off the edge of the cardboard or chew on the plastic. Strange… In fact, cardboard and plastic are great playgrounds for him. Several senses are stimulated: touch (he likes contact with these materials and sliding on plastic), hearing (the rustling on contact with them excites him), smell (traces of food odors?). He loves to hide there, to observe the surroundings without being seen and to kick anything that passes nearby.
Very economical games for cats, to be consumed without moderation provided you cut the handles of the bags and remove the staples from the boxes to avoid injuries.
You think, “He’s annoying. “
He thinks:” I am calm. “
Admit that it’s disarming when he happens to frantically lick the coat you just stroked or combed. As if a smell (your smell!) Bothered him. Three explanations are possible depending on his mood. Either he wants to analyze the smell that your hand or the brush has left on his skin (olfactory traces of food, cosmetics, etc.) and at the same time put his hairs back in place. Either the epidermal stimulation close to a massage triggered a grooming session in him by reflex. Or finally, if he does not appreciate the physical contact, he is upset and his frantic licking allows him to calm down and calm his internal tension. If its tail is beating pace, the latter hypothesis is more likely.
Next time, wait for him to come and get a hug on his own.
6. HE BLINKS WHEN I BLINK
You think, “He’s winking at me.” “
He thinks:” Peace and love. “
You look at your cat lovingly and… he looks away. But if you blink at it, so does it. Is it mimicry? Are we wary of the dark gaze and furrowed brow of an obviously angry person? Cats also communicate with their gaze, which reveals their feelings and intentions. Thus, a cat who wants to keep a fellow creature who has broken into its territory at a distance stares at it, pupil contracted and hair bristling (offensive attitude). Conversely, a dilated pupil (“black eye”) and ears stuck back indicate the fear of a cornered cat who cannot flee but is ready to attack (defensive attitude). Thus, staring at a cat is, in feline language, a sign of threat. To defuse the conflict, he looks away. This is why, instinctively,
To reassure him of our intentions, it suffices to blink his eyes, he will respond with a blink or by squinting to indicate that he understood the peaceful exchange. This is how two friendly cats “ talk” to each other at a distance.
7. HE DROPS ITEMS FROM MY DESK
You think, “He wants to annoy me. “
He thinks:” If we played? “
Pens, paperclips, eraser, laptop … What fun does it have, when you are concentrated on your work, to come and push the objects on the desk to send them into the void? Even if you have the impression that your cat spends his days sleeping (sixteen hours on average all the same), during his waking phases, he needs activities, games, hunting but also interactions. Outside, he can have fun with herbs that move in the wind or butterflies. Inside where everything is frozen, he tries to occupy himself. Dropping things is fun, especially as you react by moaning. He gets your attention, which reinforces his behavior. He takes care of him and in addition we take care of him, what more could you ask for?
Take his gesture as a call to contact and play, take a break and throw him a mini-ball, a rubber band to start a game. Don’t wait for him to ask you to and force yourself to play with him at least morning and evening.
8. HE BRINGS HIS NOSE CLOSE TO MINE
You think, “He doesn’t like the smell of my moisturizer. “
He thinks:” Hello. “
When he is up to your face, he likes to delicately bring his nose up to your nose as if intrigued. A suspicious smell? Not at all, he just wants to greet you in a friendly way. When two friendly or peaceful cats meet, they go nose to nose while touching. They greet each other as well but also exchange olfactory information. Each one verifies that the congener is indeed an acquaintance or that it is part of the same group. The individual scent captured is a sort of CV that provides information on identity, sex, age and certainly origin, the places he has been in, the house where he lives. It happens that after this “Eskimo kiss”, one of the two protagonists suddenly pulls back and spits on the other, probably because he realized that he was dealing with a stranger.
The cat lives in a world of smells, let’s not forget that!
9. HE KEEPS ASKING FOR FOOD
You think, “He’s a glutton. “
He thinks:” Take care of me. “
No sooner have you set foot in the kitchen, than Monsieur Cat runs up and meows insistently, rubbing against your calves. You serve him his pittance and, depending on the day, he swallows it up or he refuses it with an air of disgust, meowing all the more. The same scenario is repeated every time someone approaches this strategic piece. Some cats live to eat (and not the other way around). Bulimia is then a sign of illness (such as the onset of diabetes) or discomfort (he eats to calm down). But in most cats, the “hungry cat’s meow” is just a ritualized request for attention. If a cat meows, it is first to make contact. We interpret it too quickly as an expression of hunger (like a crying baby) and we feed it … A reward that reinforces the cat’s behavior! So that then the latter can meow without being hungry, just so that we take care of him. He associated cooking with a positive interaction with you (and secondarily with a fresh treat).
So, if he meows, respond “beside” with words, hugs, play, and deal with him more often.
10. HE LICKS HIMSELF AFTER MISSING A BIRD
You think, “He’s ashamed. “
He thinks:” I am calm. “
In the garden, he has a bird in his sights, he approaches with felted steps, skimming the ground, hiding in the grass. It stops then jumps on its prey… which escapes at the last minute. Pitiful, he frantically begins a grooming session as if nothing had happened … The urge to groom himself after a failed hunting action may seem incongruous. Yet the reason is… hormonal. The toilet is one of the cat’s favorite activities, he spends two to four hours a day. Its function is not only hygienic. Making contact with his body calms him. Skin stimulation would trigger the production of endorphins, analgesic hormones that provide well-being.
Licking therefore calms emotional tensions such as those linked to frustration after a missed grip. It allows him to return to an emotional balance essential to resume hunting. Nothing to do with any shame he might feel.