As a pet owner, it’s more than likely that you talk to your pet on a regular basis, and you probably also wistfully wish they would talk back. That’s particularly common with cats, who can be tricky to figure out at the best of times, and whose behaviour frequently seems more than a little odd to us. In the absence of verbal confirmation from our furry friends, we have to rely on what we know about cats and go from there.
Except that what we “know” about cats isn’t always as clear-cut as we might think. There is plenty of received wisdom that either isn’t true, or is merely partly true. For a long time, the assumption was that one human year equalled seven cat years. That’s not quite accurate, even if such a thing can be properly calculated. And many other of the things that we frequently assume to be true are, in fact, a lot more complicated than we’re given to assume.
Cats are standoffish and not prone to affection
Many of our misunderstandings about cats come about as a result of seeing them as being a smaller version of a dog. Therefore, we end up comparing them to dogs. This means it’s inevitable that we’ll have some misconceptions, and the idea that cats are cold or unfeeling is based on the fact that they don’t leap around for our attention. They also, generally, don’t like being approached for cuddles; you need to let them come to you, gaining their trust by just being there for them. When a cat opens up and comes to you, they can be incredibly affectionate and cuddly – and very loyal.
Cats are low-maintenance pets
Left to their own devices, cats may well like to do their own thing. They like to explore and they’re generally resistant to being walked on a lead. The general assumption that we end up with is that cats are independent – which is true up to a point. But they can get upset when we go to work and leave them on their own. They do recognise us and we are part of their routine. Their loyalty doesn’t just come from the fact that we’re the ones with the Canada Pet Care discount code who can offer them treats. You’ll know this if you’ve been working from home and regularly needing to shift a cat from your laptop keyboard!
Cats wag their tails when angry, and purr when happy
Don’t just read that headline and be discouraged if you hear your cat purring! Most of the time, when a cat purrs, it is a positive thing and it can be triggered by petting, cuddles or even just proximity to a person (or another pet) they love. A purr, however, can also mean your cat is fearful or stressed, especially if they also tend to hide or shelter somewhere while purring. Usually, context will be your guide here. As for the tail-wagging, it depends on the way the tail is moving. Rapid back-and-forth movements will usually mean they’re irritated. If the tail is moving more slowly, it means they are focusing intently on something, while a gentle waving usually signifies contentment – you may see it while your cat is eating.
We can all agree that it’d be ideal if our cats could tell us what’s going on, but if you learn to read your cat’s ways, then you’ve got the next best thing – a way of knowing your cat and anticipating their needs.