Why does my cat
purr when I pet her?
According to Dr. Rob Jones, a
veterinarian with a keen interest in animal behavior,
the original function of purring was to enable a kitten to tell his mother
that "all is
well." This often occurs during nursing. A kitten can't meow and nurse at the
same time, but it can purr and nurse without any problem. The mother often
back, reassuring the kitten.
Older cats may purr when they play or
approach other cats, signaling they are
friendly and want to come closer. Cats also purr when they are contented,
as when they are petted, again giving the signal "all is well."
Strangely enough, cats can also purr when
they are distressed. Sick and injured
cats often purr. It is thought that this is the cat's way of reassuring
Why Does my Cat Rub
Against my Legs and the Furniture?
Smell is an extremely important
sense in cats, in some cases more than sight. Cats
have scent glands on multiple places on their body including their faces
and feet. On
their face, the glands are located around the eyes, below the ears and on
the chin. By
rubbing their face on various objects, they are leaving their scent. Other
the object will often stop and sniff, maybe even rubbing their faces on
the object to
leave their scent as well.
Scent marks contain molecules called
pheromones. Different glands secrete different
pheromones which affect a number of behaviors including reproduction and
The pheromones that come from the glands on
the face generally have a calming effect
on cats. There are now various on the market that contains these facial
When applied to vertical surfaces, it can decrease a cat's tendency to
spray (mark the
area with his urine).
Tips on Preventing
Cats from Scratching the Furniture
You can train your cat to stop scratching your furniture. If
you have a cat that
scratches carpeting and furniture, here is what we recommend:
Get a scratching post,
or better yet, furniture with scratching areas. Cats scratch
most frequently right after waking so it's critical that the scratching
post is convenient
to where they spend much of their time.
Try different kinds of scratching posts.
Some cats prefer real wood posts and will
not touch rope sisal posts. Others prefer cardboard, and still others,
Find out which kind your cat prefers and then spray with a catnip spray or
keep a catnip
If your cat has already scratched your
furniture, clean with an enzyme odor remover
to eliminate their scent which they will return to.
Finally, show your cat how to use its
Scratching Post and praise and pet
when it is using its furniture instead of yours.
Like most training, the earlier you start,
the better. Remember, kittens younger than
six months generally do not respond to catnip as well as adults do.
Urine Spraying: How to
Many cat owners confuse urine
spraying with urinating though they are quite different.
Urine spraying is a normal, innate territory marking behavior that has
nothing to do with
your cat's sanitation.
Most common in non-neutered males and
multi-cat households, the spraying of urine
on vertical surfaces like drapes and furniture is his way of identifying
"his" property or
covering the scent of other cats.
Here are a few suggestions for controlling
Have your cat neutered
when it is 4-6 months old. In addition to the many other good
reasons to have your cat neutered, more than 90% of cats will not start
spraying if they
are neutered before the behavior begins.
Restrict the view of the outdoors.
If your cat sees another cat, his natural response
will be to mark his territory- your home. Move furniture away from
windows, pull the
drapes, or cover the lower portion of your window.
Foster a positive relationship between your
cats. Cats that get along
competitive and are far less likely to spray. Play with them together and
give each one
equal attention. Have them eat and sleep together. Encourage them to groom
by wiping them down with a damp cloth.
Keep to the routine.
Change often causes spraying. Feed at the same time each day
and keep its food, litter box, and bed in their respective places. When
people visit, put
your cat in a separate room (particularly if your visitors have cats of
their own and may
carry in their scent).
Use a pet
repellent, If your cat
repeatedly sprays in one spot.
sprayed areas thoroughly. Use products that use natural
actually devour odor-causing bacteria instead of just covering up the
Important note: If your cat urinates
outside of its litterbox, you should call your vet
immediately. It may have a urinary tract infection (cystitis) that needs
to be treated
as soon as possible.
Why does one of my
cats like catnip and the other one doesn't?
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
is a plant in the Mint family that grows wild as a weed and
is found throughout the United States, particularly in the Midwest.
Cats under three months of age usually
don't respond to catnip. Most older cats
typically become excited or aroused as they smell, chew and eat catnip.
frequently salivate, roll and rub, and sometimes run and leap in the air
responding to the catnip. Not all cats are stimulated by catnip to the
and over a third of cats won't respond at all.
Strange as it may seem the different
responses are probably due to environmental
factors, genetics, and the gender of the cat (males are more likely to
females). If a cat who normally reacts to catnip is in a strange
environment or is
anxious, she may not react to the catnip. Cats in certain genetic
"lines" do not react
to catnip. No one really understands the genetic trait, but it can be bred
into a line
through genetic selection. The cat-active ingredient in catnip is "nepatalactone".
This substance closely resembles a chemical found in the urine of female
This may be why unneutered males generally have more of a reaction to
than females and neutered males.