Decoding Mr Whiskers: 4 kitty cat behaviour myths debunked

   

Jade Poole from I write words

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cat behaviour myths

Cats face a few incorrect stereotypes and these common misbeliefs have caused many people to think twice before welcoming a kitty cat into the family. Now, it’s time to separate fact from fiction and debunk 5 behaviour myths about Mr Whiskers.

Cats are one of the most popular pets, however, they have often been misunderstood due to their mysterious behaviour: their midnight adventures, their eating and sleeping habits, their picky personalities, and the idea that these furry friends have 9 lives. This has led to paw parents accepting bad behaviour from their cats or simply, rather choosing a dog as their animal companion.

Contrary to popular belief, cats can be wonderful, well-behaved pets that provide a lifetime of love and affection. Once you uncover the truth behind cat behaviour myths, you can better the way you parent your kitty and if you don’t already own a cat, you might just change your mind about not wanting a feline family member.

And don’t worry about cats losing their mystery – they will always be adorably peculiar!

Read on to discover: The 3 essentials for new cat parents.

1. Cats can’t be trained

There is a common misconception that cats are very difficult (if not impossible) to train. This has led many pet owners to believe that there is no solution to their cat’s bad behaviour. You’ll be relieved to know that cats can be trained and that it is usually easy to do so (unless Fluffy is particularly stubborn).

When training your cat, it is important to use positive reinforcement. This means rewarding the good behaviour, rather than punishing the bad behaviour. 

Punishing your cat can induce stress, leading to behaviour and health problems – these aren’t things you want to deal with during cat training! Equip yourself with lots of treats (such as catnip, cats go crazy for it!) and of course, patience when training your cat.

The outcome should be a better-behaved Mittens and a very happy paw parent.

While you’re here, read: 5 effective ways to keep your cat's litter box smelling fresh

2. When your cat rolls onto its back, they are asking for belly scratches

When a cat rolls over and shows their stomach, many will think that their purring pal is asking for belly rubs and will often be met with an unexpected bite or scratch. Don’t take it personally if this has happened to you, as it is a behaviour that can be easily explained.

3 common reasons why a cat will roll onto its back:

  1. To show a defensive position. When Mr. Whiskers feels that he cannot get away, he will roll onto his back so that he has his paws and teeth free to fight predators. It is likely that your cat is scared when they roll into this position, so the best thing you can do is give them space.
  2. To show that they feel relaxed and safe in their home. The stomach holds many vital organs, so it is a sign that your purrfect pet is comfortable enough to lie in this vulnerable, belly-up position.
  3. To show that they want to play. Mittens may just be hinting that she wants you to bring out the feather wand or catnip mouse to play! Be sure to grab your kitty’s favourite toy rather than using your hands to play, as you do not want to associate your hands with chew toys (trust us, the playful scratches and bite marks aren’t worth it!).

The fool-proof approach is to watch your cat’s body language and gauge whether they want to be cuddled, to play, or to simply be left alone. If your feline friend is wanting some attention, rather pet their shoulders, head, and chin than their delicate belly to keep them purring and happy!

Read on to learn: What tale does a cat’s tail tell

3. Cats are solitary animals who like to have the house to themselves all-day

This is a very important myth to debunk… asap! Cats have a reputation for being antisocial, however, this stereotype is often untrue. Your cute cat requires cuddles, attention, and playtime each and every day. It is important that you set aside an hour or so each day to spend with your cat.

Leaving Garfield alone for long periods might lead to separation anxiety, which can lead to symptoms such as bad behaviour, excessive grooming, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Cats that are left alone tend to become bored and will start to adventure out more, looking for entertainment and cuddles elsewhere. As much as your cat likes to make you think that they don’t need you, they really do.

4. Cats clawing the furniture = bad behaviour

 It is frustrating coming home after a long day at work to see your comfy couch torn up, but here’s the truth: scratching is an important and normal behaviour for cats.

Why your cat loves a good scratch:

  • Helps your cat release energy
  • Sharpens their claws
  • Allows them to stretch their muscles
  • Marks their territory

Unfortunately, you cannot expect your cat not to scratch anything at all, so you will need to provide outlets for your kitty to claw, such as horizontal scratching mats or a scratching post. This is where the positive reinforcement training (and patience) comes into play! Remember to reward Fluffy each time she chooses to use the scratching post to ensure this is the only thing she learns to scratch – your curtains will thank you!

Don’t leave before reading: What cat insurance looks like with Oneplan

Cats can make a wonderful, loving companion and you shouldn’t write them or their behaviour off based on myths and unfair stereotypes.

Do a bit of research to learn about the ins and outs of owning a cat before bringing Mittens home, we can guarantee that many of your beliefs about cats aren’t true!


Yours in insurance you could cuddle,

Oneplan


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