I did a small article last year about cats.. and wanted to do a much larger one about the difference between dogs and cats that some people don’t know.
Since this is a large article I split it up in main sections
Communicating with Cats
Cat Treat Recipes
The Basics about Cats
1) you can pick out a dog 90% of the time, but a cat will pick you 100% of the time. Case and point… my other half was picked by our first cat Bubby (he was known as Jelly Belly at the time) he was pawing and wanting to be petted. Our second cat Buggy (then known as Yankee) picked me… he was friendly and kept pawing at me from the kennel at Petsmart and was being super loving with me.
The exception to this rule is our third (and possibly final) cat Miss Bit-bit (known as Jessie) she was found as a feral near a dumpster and she was tiny.. we saw her at Petsmart and picked her. She was a kitten at the time so that’s an exception that can be made
2) Cats will come to you for attention – Bubby does this often
3) Not all cats like catnip
4) Cats really should not have human milk as most are lactose intolerant (I have tried to explain this to Buggy, but he paws me for more milk aways)
5) Cats have an much personality as dogs
6) It is possible to walk a cat on a leash (though I would highly recommend a harness, they sell them at Target or at petstores) Buggy loves going outside on his, I tend to make sure no one is in the front yard for fear of him getting laughed at.
The following vocalizations are fairly common to most cats:
- Short meow: “Hey, how ya doin’?”
- Multiple meows: “I’m so happy to see you! Where’ve you been? I missed you!”
- Mid-pitch meow: A plea for something, usually dinner, treats, or to be let outside.
- Drawn-out mrrraaaaaoooow: “Did you forget to feed me, you idiot? I want dinner NOW!” or similar demand.
- Low pitched mraaooww: “You are so lame. The service around here sucks,” or similar complaint.
- High-pitch RRRROWW!: “OUCH!!! YOU STEPPED ON MY TAIL YOU IMBECILE!”
- Purr: Most often a sign of contentedness, but can also be used when in pain or afraid — an instinctual response to hide weakness from predators.
- Hiss: “Steer clear. I’m angry and I’m not afraid to draw blood.”
- Clicking sounds: Cats who are tracking prey will make a distinctive clicking sound.
Most Cats Use the Following Gestures to Communicate:
- Tail straight up or straight up with a curl at the end: Happy.
- Tail twitching: Excited or anxious.
- Tail vibrating: Very excited to see you.
- Tail fur sticks straight up while the tail curls in the shape of an N: Extreme aggression.
- Tail fur sticks straight up but the tail is held low: Aggression or frightened.
- Tail held low and tucked under the rear: Frightened.
- Dilated pupils: Very playful or excited. It can also indicate aggression.
- Slowly blinking eyes: Affection, the equivalent of blowing a kiss.
- Ears pinned back: Fear, anxiety, aggression
- Tongue flicking: Worry, apprehension
- Rubbing head, flank and tail against a person or animal: Greeting ritual, ownership claim
- Head-butting: Friendliness, affection
- Face sniffing: Confirming identity
- Wet nose kiss: Affection
- Licking: The penultimate sign of affection. Or an indication that you need to clean up after a sardine snack
Communication with Cats
Helping Your Cat Understand You
As you communicate with your cat, the words you use are less important than how you say them and the body language that accompanies them. If you say “DOWN!” or “NO!” in the same tone you use for, “Good Kitty! Here’s a treat,” you’ll confuse your cat and she’ll misinterpret what you’re saying. Consistency is the key to successful communication with your cat.
To correct behavior, use a loud, firm, authoritative voice, and use this same tone consistently in conjunction with body language. For example, when ordering your cat “down,” make a stern face, and use one of your hands to point down.
For praise, or when calling your cat to dinner or offering treats, use a higher-pitched “happy” voice, smile, and beckon with your hand.
If your cat is begging for attention when you are trying to work or accomplish some other task, you will need to say “NO!” firmly, and gently push the cat away without showing affection. Cats don’t have much respect for the human’s personal space and will try repeatedly to invade it, so you may need to repeat the NO-push combination several times before Fluffy gives up and leaves you alone. If you say “no” and pet your cat instead of pushing her away, she will interpret your actions as a welcome signal.
Most cats will also respond to a sharp hissing or spitting sound as a “no” command when they are doing something seriously wrong and need to be stopped.
If you consistently use the same voice, facial expressions and hand gestures, most cats will have no trouble understanding what you say. The more you communicate with your cat, the better the two of you will become at understanding each other.
(taken from http://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-affection )
Slow Eye Blinks
When cats encounter strangers or other cats, they usually greet them with an unblinking stare. Slow eye blinks – often called “Kitty Kisses” – are a sign of contentedness and affection. You can make a game of this by slowly blinking back at your cat and see how long the interchange can last.
Grooming is not all about hygiene. Cats groom each other both as a stress-reliever and as a bonding mechanism. If your cat grooms you, it’s a sign that she accepts you as part of her feline “family.” It can also be a way of claiming “ownership” of you.
Head Rubbing and Butting
If your cat rubs her face on you, she is “marking” you as her property. There are glands on her face that secrete pheromones which act to mark territory as well as signal comfort and familiarity. Each cat’s pheromone signature is unique, just as our fingerprints are. When she leaves behind this calling card, she’s saying “MINE!”
If your cat follows you from room to room and hangs out wherever you are, it’s a sign that she’s interested in you and wants to be where you are. Some cats who otherwise do not display affection can still express their love just by “being there for you.”
Bringing You “Gifts”
As repugnant as it is to find that Fluffy has left a mutilated mole or dead bird on your doorstep, do not yell or hurt her when you find it. She has bestowed a cherished gift upon you and is hoping you’ll be pleased with the offering, just as a child seeks approval from his parents. The best way to discourage this behavior is to keep her indoors.
Excitement at Your Return Home
You may not witness this, but your spouse or roommate might. Most cats who are bonded to their owners will respond with excitement when they hear your car in the driveway, or when you make distinctive sounds (like jingle of the key in the lock) when returning home. If they run for the door when you come through it, they’ve missed you and are relieved that you’ve returned safely home to them.
When your cat rolls over and exposes her belly to you, she is signaling that she trusts you and loves you. Exposing her belly exposes her vulnerability. If she did that in the wild, she’d be toast. She’s comfortable enough with you to let down her guard.
Many cats use a question mark-shaped tail to greet someone they like. A tail in the full upright position also indicates familiarity, trust and affection.
This instinctual gesture originates from birth, when your cat kneaded her mother to stimulate milk flow. In later life,kneading signifies contentment, pleasure and adoration, especially if accompanied by drooling. This is one of the greatest expressions of love that your cat can bestow upon you.
Cat Love Can be Subtle
Unlike dogs, cats usually won’t shower you with sloppy kisses, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. In their own subtle way, cats will let you know where you stand, and petting a purring, head-butting cat in your lap is a quiet pleasure that can make your day
Recipes for Cat Treats
Nik Nak’s Valentine’s Tuna Treats
Adapted from Simply Pets
Your cat’s heart will melt for these healthy tuna-infused hearts!
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
- 1/2 can tuna or 1/2 cup chopped chicken (cooked)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or cod liver oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- catnip (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets with cooking spray.
- In large bowl, mash the tuna (or chicken) into smaller pieces. Then add flour and milk. Mix well.
- After all is mixed, pour in water and oil. Mix well again.
- Now, beat the egg in a separate dish until egg gets a foamy texture. Add to mix.
- Mix well. (The dough mix will be sticky.)
- Using your fingers, shape dough into small bite size balls, about the size of a marble. Put balls on the greased cookie sheets. Flatten balls with hand, and shape into little hearts.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove heart treats from oven, then wait five minutes and turn treats over so other side will cook. Bake 10 more minutes or until golden brown in color.
- Place treats on cookie rack to cool. Cool for 15 minutes. And NEVER give treats to your pet right after cooking.
Note: You can add the catnip to the recipe or sprinkle on top of treats. They like it either way. Store them in an airtight container and keep treats in the fridge or a cool, dry place.
Catnip Heart Cookies
Adapted from Free Pet Projects
Most cats go cuckoo for catnip in any form, but put the magic herb in a heart-shaped cookie and watch the fun begin!
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons of wheat germ
- 2-4 tablespoons of catnip
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of molasses
- 1 egg
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, wheat germ and catnip).
- Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl (egg, milk, vegetable oil and molasses).
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and work it into a dough
- Lightly flour the counter or other work surface
- Remove a portion of dough and use a rolling pin to uniformly flatten the dough to a thickness between 1/8 of an inch and 1/4 of an inch.
- Cut the dough into hearts using a cookie cutter or a knife.
- Place the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp and lightly browned.
This recipe will make approximately 50 medium-sized cat treats. Once the treats have cooled, gently remove them and place the cookies into several small freezer bags.
Since these treats are preservative-free, they will not last forever. So to extend the life of these treats, store them inside the freezer in several small freezer bags. As needed, remove a bag from the freezer and leave it out for several hours to thaw. Once the treats are thawed, transfer into a Tupperware container for easy access and store the treats inside the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Links for more information
http://www.catster.com/ -> is a wonderful source of information on all things cat.
http://lovemeow.com/ -> all things cat (and cute!)