Ever sat around in awe of your cat? My husband and I do all the time. Unlike me, he has never had cats before, so compared to him, I'm something of an “expert” on cat behavior. My husband has asked “why does our girl cat rub her face on the same spot every day, several times a day?” He also asked: “Why does the boy cat take off at full sprint for no reason?” I respond, as I usually do, “Because they are cats”. But of course I realize that my answer does not really answer the question. I guess that since, I have always accepted the cats and their behavior as a given, I just never really put much thought into it. But I think it's time to try to actually respond to my husband.
Why do cats rub their faces on objects and people so often? According to experts, like all other cats, our cats have scent glands around their little mouths. When they rub their faces, their scent is left on an object or person as a way of staking their claim. Of course, because our sense of smell is not as keen, we cannot detect this smell, but any other cat can. For example, if I am near a cat or a dog, both cats know at once. I always feel guilty because they have this look of betrayal. I'm always looking for excuses and must assure them that I am still their mother. Usually, when they both have the chance to rub on me a few times, all is forgiven, and they leave contented. I suppose that they visit the same object or person so often because they want to ensure that the item remains marked as their own.
Why do cats impulsively takeoff at full speed? Experts say this behavior is cased by boredom. Apparently, this activity is common in domestic cats. Just because the cat is in the home does not mean he has lost the instinct to chase. It seems that an indoor cat will now hunt phantom prey instead of hunting for the real thing outside. Because our cats are not allowed out, except for the male cat that walks on a leash, we have a lot of phantom hunting.
The next question is: “Why do our cats knead?” A bit of research indicates that the kneading action can be leftover from the cat's kitten stage. When a kitten nurses, she massages her mother because she is happy or to get the milk flowing. As the cat ages, this massage action always seems to give both satisfaction and pleasure. When my two cats knead me, I try to get to them to rub my back. I think I can get a free message this way. Unfortunately, this never works and I end up with a cat vigorously massaging the most sensitive part of my body. I think as we continue to observe and admire our cats, my husband will have more questions. My first answer will be “because they are cats” and then I will feel guilty, do my research and then write a sequel.
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