I spent some time with my friends Anne Germain and her husband Keith last weekend. Anne and Keith have four cats, Gizmo, Bilbo (usually referred to as Bo) Simba and Frodo. Gizzy and Bo are sisters and the boys are brothers. For the first time in their little lives, the girls willingly allowed me to stroke them. Funny that, because I’ve known them for years. The boys have always been friendly towards me but not the big girls.
The boys, both gorgeous long haired black cats, had two sisters who have both, sadly, died. Anne tells me that the change in the girls’ behaviour has been since the most recent death.
It started me thinking about my own cats and cat behaviour generally. I know very well that my beautiful Telesto was not happy with having her teeth scaled last year. Then earlier this year, she started to exhibit stress related behaviour so I plugged in a Feliway diffuser and crossed everything hoping it would help.
Amazing stuff, that Feliway, because within two weeks, she was much, much happier and had returned to her old self. The manufacturers, by the way, say it can take up to six weeks to make a difference, so I was very impressed that it was so quick.
I had discussed her behaviour with my vet who explained that cat behaviours and social structures are very complicated, way too complicated for us humans. So the change in Anne’s cats is maybe not surprising.
Telesto’s behaviour was also probably not difficult to understand. Cats are territorial creatures and don’t much like change. There is a particular cat that comes into my garden; we nicknamed him Dave that she particularly dislikes. In fact, she is scared of him. A year or so ago, she spent all night awake, sitting on top of a neighbour’s shed because Dave was in my garden and she didn’t want to pass him to come in. I know this because I kept getting up to check on her. Even when I shooed him out of the garden, she wouldn’t come in; cats are stubborn too. Anyway, he kept coming back as soon as I turned my back. Telesto also gets upset when I work long hours and she doesn’t feel that she gets enough of my attention.
It’s not just Telesto who has benefited from the Feliway though. Oceana has been more relaxed too. It’s only my little girls who don’t seem to have been affected, but then they don’t seem to be affected by very much. They are happy little souls and apart from the fact that they were abandoned at a couple of weeks old, they have lived with me for all but three months if their lives so clearly have a lot to be happy about! They are well looked after and loved so don’t have a bad life.
The little ones don’t go out very much, and if they do, they like me to leave the door open (we don’t do cat flaps). If I close the door they both do an impersonation of a meercat, standing on hind legs looking through the window. So cute!
Some other interesting cat facts:
- On average, cats spend about 16 hours a day sleeping.
- Female cats tend to be right pawed. Just watch them to see!
- Cats can hear high frequency sounds about two octaves higher than humans. Their hearing is better than that of dogs.
- A cat can run at a speed of about 31 mph over a short distance.
- A cat can jump about five times its own height in one leap.
- When a cat rubs its cheeks against you or objects it’s not just a sign of love, it has glands in its cheeks that mark you or the object with its scent. Its tails and paws also carry the cat’s scent.
- In many parts of Europe and North America, black cats are considered to be a sign of bad luck, however, in Britain and Australia, the opposite is the case. However, back in the Middle Ages, they were considered bad luck here.
- The reason that cats don’t like water is that their coats do not insulate them well when wet.
- Cats usually have twelve whiskers on each side of their face.
- Cats don’t have such good colour vision as humans, and can’t see things very close up.
- Isaac Newton invented the cat flap.
- Cats almost never meow at other cats, they reserve that for humans.
© Susan Shirley 2015