The basic elements for keeping cats in the house are water, food, and a litter box. Of course, you also take the pet to give it love. If you want to do more for your cat and make her even happier, it can be useful to look at what else the cat naturally needs.
In addition, observing her and learning her language can help you map out specific wishes. How can you give concrete form to these wishes and offer your cat an (even) happier cat life?
Why (Learn To) Understand Your Cats Behavior And Language?
In order to offer your cat a pleasant(er) life at home, it is important that you, as the owner, study cat behavior. Although many will think they know their cat well, this is certainly not always the case. Cats are masters of disguise. This makes it more difficult to recognize how the cat is really feeling and why she is reacting the way she is reacting.
Gaining insight into cat behavior helps you to better understand your own cat. By observing your cat, you get to know her specific wishes. You can then respond to this. In this way, you make your cat’s life even more fun. You certainly don’t have to do any breakneck feats for this. Sometimes simple adjustments are enough to increase the cat’s enjoyment of life.
Like many animals, cats also have their own language. This mainly consists of body language and vocal expressions. By learning to understand this cat language, you gain more insight into your cat’s actions. For example, what does the cat experience as pleasant, and what is her state of mind in a certain situation?
The tail is very important for the cat for several reasons. The tail is, among other things, a measure of the cat’s state of mind. This is useful to know as an owner.
- The cat that is happy to see you has its tail straight up.
- If the tail is straight and twitches a little, the cat is very happy with you.
- If the tail is straight and the tip is slightly bent, the cat is friendly towards you.
- If the tail is straight and thick and the hairs are perpendicular to the skin, the cat is angry.
- If the tail hangs in line with the body, then the cat is interested in something.
- If the tail swings a little along the body, the cat is in an amorous mood.
- The tail hanging down along the body, but with an upward end, tells the cat that something is worrying the cat.
- If the tail hangs down and the hair is straight, then the cat is afraid of something.
- If a cat sits with the tail on the floor and only the tip moves, then she is irritated in something.
Kicking Paws Kicking
or kneading with the paws is something the cat already does as a kitten. By kneading around the mother cat’s nipples, the kitten stimulates milk production. Many cats are still kicking in adulthood and sometimes the reason is given that a kitten was taken away from its mother too young. In a number of cases, this will be correct, but the cat also experiences the kicking or kneading as reassuring, she feels safe.
If the cat sits comfortably on your lap, your thighs or stomach can unfortunately also be used for kneading. Since cat nails in the thighs or abdomen are painful, for many people pushing the cat away is the first reaction. However, do not push your cat away abruptly, the cat will not understand this. Stimulate her curiosity by distracting her. Some examples:
- Make a certain sound. She is more likely to respond to high notes.
- Visibly throw her favorite toy somewhere.
- Give her a nice bag of catnip.
However, if you want to keep her on your lap, make sure you have a pillow or rug nearby. You put this on your lap as soon as she wants to sit with you. She can then use the pillow or rug to knead on. A cat on your lap is pleasant, but it also says something about the cat in relation to the owner. If a cat wants to lie on your lap on its own, she has complete trust in you. You don’t want to damage that trust, because trust strengthens the relationship between owner and cat.
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Cats have a coercive nature and can try to force something on you with sound. An example: If the cat usually gets her food as soon as you start eating herself, she may meow (increasingly louder) if it takes too long. The cat is trying to get your attention and thus force her meal on you. Often the cat is given what she asks for.
However, if she finds that this behavior is effective, it will be practiced more often. To prevent yourself or your cat from getting irritated, it is better to ignore her at that time. You give her a meal (or whatever she’s trying to force) on your time. In this way, you send the signal that ‘nagging’ does not pay. Repeat this several times so that the cat understands.
Cats can also coo or purr. Spiders say something about her state of mind. It indicates in some cases that the cat is having a good time and in other cases that she is in pain. In the latter case, the cat confides in you by purring and hopes that you will take her pain away. The purring is then a reassuring sound for the cat itself.
So it’s important to pay attention to why she purrs. What can help you is that the purring cat who is having a good time often drools a little. She loses a drop of saliva every now and then. A combination of kneading and spinning is also a sign that the cat is having a good time. If in doubt, it is good to consult the vet.
Plants are important in a cat’s living environment. Plants in the house stimulate the cat’s natural behavior and that is good for her well-being, especially for an indoor cat and a cat that gets limited outside.
Cats wash a lot and swallow quite a bit of hair. In some cats, the ingested hair will come out in the feces, but many cats have to vomit the occasional hairball. The frequency of hairball outbreaks can vary widely. This has to do with the type of cat and the season.
If the hairball remains in the stomach area for too long, the stomach lining can become irritated and the cat may feel uncomfortable. Edible grasses in the house will be used by the cat to stimulate the body to take action. Grasses are unnatural for the cat and must therefore be vomited out. She also vomits up the hairball in her stomach.
There are several plants that help the cat to vomit the furball. The most common plants that are almost always for sale at the green specialist in 2020 are:
- Cat grass is for sale for approx. $ 3,-
- Lily grass, is for sale for about $ 4.50
- The umbrella plant is for sale from $ 6,- up to approx. $ 50,-. With a large plant, the cat also takes a long time.
You have to replace the small plants regularly. If you have one cat, a small plant can last you about three to four weeks. Bringing these plants into your home prevents the cat from starting on your other ornamental plants in the house. Ornamental plants, especially certain palm species such as the Mexican mountain palm and the gold palm, are very popular with cats and are eaten if there is no alternative available.
Complete lookout post
Cats like to sit high. In this way, they can have a good overview of the space and anticipate ‘imminent danger. While there will be little imminent danger in the home, it is in their natural behavior. Furthermore, cats are curious animals. There are several ways to make your cat happy with high objects that she can jump on and see everything.
If you’re creating an elevated lookout for your cat, be careful what spot you choose. A ‘nice’ spot for the cat must meet a few conditions, namely:
- heat (especially no drafts)
Sitting Softly And Clearly
The easiest way to get the cat to sit high is a large scratching post. You need a stable pole of at least 1.50 meters high. Synthetic plush is usually used to make the seating platform a bit more comfortable. A large stable scratching post of a reasonable quality material starts in 2020 at € 150 and can go up to € 750 to € 800.
When buying a scratching post, it makes sense to take the size of your cat into account. Most cats such as the oriental breeds, the Persian, the European cats, or the British Shorthair will fit just fine on the normal plateaus. For example, if you have a Ragdoll or Maine coon, then it makes sense to buy a scratching post with larger seating platforms. Another possibility is to make something on the wall yourself.
Seating platforms, and sturdy shelves on the wall, can also be a solution and are a lot cheaper than a good scratching post. If you opt for this, you should keep in mind that the cat can easily jump to the seating platforms. With a staple gun, you can staple a plush or fleece blanket or a plush cat bed to the shelf. This way the cat is nice and soft. You can buy these materials in 2020 for about 40 to 50 Doller.
A cat likes to have something to see and you can achieve that by creating a spot by the window. She has plenty to look at there, from people walking by to birds in a tree or children playing in front of the door. For a suitable place with a view, you can place a high scratching post by the window, for example.
You can also clear a corner on the windowsill. Put a cushion on it, so that the cat can sit comfortably. If there is a large plant next to her created spot, that is extra pleasant. The large plant provides shelter for the cat.
Sharpening the nails is also part of the natural behavior and is essential for the cat. Where outside the tree is used to sharpen the nails, you must provide an alternative inside. If you don’t do this, the cat can use your furniture to sharpen its nails. Most scratching posts are wrapped with sisal rope. This material is ideal for sharpening the nails.
If you don’t take a scratching post into your home, there are also shelves on the wall or on the floor with sisal rope or thick pressed cardboard. You already have such a shelf in 2020 for $ 15,- increasing to about $ 35,-. A bit more expensive is a piece of real tree trunk that is attached to a sturdy piece of wood and usually has a plateau, for sale for around $100.
Another option is clipping the cat’s nails. There are special scissors and files for sale at the pet store. It is a meticulous job because you can only cut in the dead part of the nail. If your cat has a light nail color, you will see the difference between the life (perfused) part and the dead part.
The white is the dead part and can be trimmed. If it is not clearly visible, it is not recommended to trim the nails yourself and it is better to ask the cat groomer or vet to do this. On average you have to trim your nails about 3 to 4 times a year.
As an owner, you may have devised a very nice sleeping place for your cat, but that does not mean that the cat will also use it. There can be many reasons why your cat doesn’t use your chosen spot. Sometimes you gain insight into this by observing the cat and seeing where she does go to sleep. A good sleeping place should in any case be a safe place for the cat.
There are several options to offer your cat a safe place to sleep. It is important that there is one entrance/exit.
- For example, a higher nest in a scratching post can be a good place to sleep. This is usually a closed container with one hole in it. No open plateau, because the cat must be able to crawl into it.
- There are also large barrels with holes and plateaus on the side, in which the cat can lie down safely at different heights.
- A plush cat bed that you buy ready-made in the pet store and put it on a higher place, for example on a cupboard, can also function as a sleeping place.
The cat that feels completely safe in the house can also just go for a quiet place. For example, if the bedroom door is open, cats will take over your bed. If the closet door is open, a shelf in the closet with a stack of clothes or towels can make a great place to sleep.
All in all, it doesn’t have to be that hard to have a happy cat walking around the house. It does help if you have insight into cat behavior in a general sense and the specific wishes of your own cat. By actively responding to this, you will only make your cat happier.