Understanding Your Cat
Cats can be the most mysterious of domesticated animals. Unlike dogs, cats retain a degree of independence and often insist on roaming, hunting and fighting, as though you don’t provide everything a cat could need!
Cat ownership gets less mysterious and easier when you understand a bit more about your pet. There’s the less pleasant side – like finding out the causes of diarrhea in cats – and the cuter one – like finding out what your cat means when it’s purring at you, but both are important, and both can make you a better pet owner.
When Your Cat is Sick
Cats can fall prey to a number of different health conditions, just like humans. A lot of the time, these will clear up by themselves – many stomach upsets, from vomiting to diarrhea, for example, are caused by your cat eating something that disagrees with them and they’ll be fine once their stomach is clear.
Look for appetite loss, hair loss and weight loss as indicators that something major could be wrong. Trust your instincts as well – if your pet is behaving differently to normal and you’re worried, then it could well be worth making a trip to the vet.
Why Do Cats Fight?
If you’re worried about your cat fighting and getting injured, then it’s important to understand why they fight in the first place.
Cats will often fight to establish or defend territory: if a new cat moves into your neighbourhood, be prepared for lots of hissing and howling as the boundaries are adjusted. In many cases, disputes like this are resolved without violence: stand-offs and howling help every cat in the neighbourhood to respect and then avoid territories.
If you own more than one cat, you might find them fighting over territory in your home. Cats don’t often live happily in groups, and in the home this can lead to fights. Give them a sense of separate territories by providing separate feeding and sleeping areas.
When to Pet a Cat
Some cats love to be petted, but you need to respect even the most affectionate cat. Unexpected strokes, or petting in the wrong place can cause distress and lead to aggression.
Make sure your cat knows where you are before you reach out – try not to surprise your cat! Reach out a hand and allow the cat to sniff and approach you: letting your cat choose to be petted reduces the risk you’ll get scratched.
A cat purring is a sign it’s having a good time! If the purring stops, it’s a sign to stop the petting. Other warning signs are an aggressively lashing tale, dilated pupils and flattened ears. These are all signs to stop stroking and back.
If you understand the signs your cat is sending, you can enjoy a much closer, happier relationship!