Tag: feline behavior

Buddy Condemns Scientists Who Claim Cats Are Psychopaths

NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat condemned British scientists who pegged cats as psychopaths in a new study, saying he’d like to “introduce them to my claws,” if not for the fact that he’s too charming to do something so uncouth.

“I was offended when I read that study, frankly,” Buddy said, pausing to spit out the bones of a mouse he’d just killed and sip from his bird blood cocktail. “The very idea is preposterous.”

Psychologistsfrom the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University developed a questionnaire that asks cat owners servants to rate their felines’ behavior based on 46 different behavioral statements.

Examples of the statements include: “My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away”, “my cat vocalises loudly (e.g meows, yowls) for no apparent reason”, and “my cat is very excitable (e.g goes into ‘overdrive’ and becomes uncoordinated).”

Respondents were asked to rate, on a 5-point scale, how closely each statement applied to their cat(s).

“Asking our servants to respond to the survey was the first mistake they made,” Buddy continued, using a claw to dig bits of mouse from between his teeth. “I mean, do you ask Beethoven’s gardener to evaluate the master’s symphonies? Would you ask the overnight office cleaning crew at Apple to gauge the brilliance of Steve Jobs? Would you ask Brian Scalabrine to weigh in on the transcendent talent of Michael Jordan? Of course not. So why would you ask my human to evaluate me? Why would you think such a simple creature could hope to understand the cathedral that is my mind?”

“And furthermore, why should I care? Does the lion concern himself with the opinions of sheep? I’m officially a jaguar, by the way. I don’t know if you knew that. Yeah. They welcomed me into their mystic community and call me Kinich Bajo, which means ‘god of wisdom.'”

Personality traits like delusions of grandeur, charm, lack of empathy and narcissism are typically associated with psychopaths, experts say. A psychopath might, for example, imagine he’s a large, muscular cat when in fact he’s 10 pounds soaking wet.

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Buddy imagines himself as a powerful authoritarian leader

The degree of psychopathy varies widely among felines, lead author Rebecca Evans said.

“We believe that like any other personality trait, psychopathy is on a continuum, where some cats will score more highly than others,” Evans said. “It is likely that all cats have an element of psychopathy as it would have once been helpful for their ancestors in terms of acquiring resources, for example food, territory and mating opportunities.”

 

Reason #94 To Keep Your Cat Indoors: He’s A Bully

Most of the time when we talk about reasons to keep your cat(s) inside, it’s because the great outdoors pose innumerable risks to the lives of cats.

People make a big deal of cats retaining many of their wild instincts, but the truth is they’ve been domestic animals for 10,000 years, and the only “natural habitat” for them is under the care of kind people in a safe home or a managed colony where they’re protected, fed and given veterinary care.

But cats are predators, technically an invasive species in most places, and they have a jerk streak, so there are plenty of valid reasons to protect others from them.

A cat in Pleasant Hill, California — about 20 miles east of Oakland — illustrates that last point perfectly. Apparently he’s been inviting himself into the neighbor’s house via the cat flap, where he bullies the neighbor’s cat, helps himself to its food and adds a final insouciant insult to injury by taking a nap in the neighbor’s house. Then he strolls back into his own home in the morning, enjoys breakfast and has another nap.

Lisa, the offending cat’s human, said she found out about her cat’s jerktastic behavior via social media, and wrote to The San Jose Mercury News’ pet advice columnist for counsel on how to handle the situation. The neighbors have begun hiding their cat’s food in a closet, but understandably they want Lisa’s aggressively napping cat burglar to stay away.

“Not sure how to curtail his activities. Neighbor is not happy with our cat’s behavior,” Lisa wrote. “Locking our cat inside at night is not a good option; he is very vocal when locked up.”

Columnist Joan Morris offered blunt but perfect advice: Stop letting your cat out.

“I think both of you should keep your cats indoors, and the neighbors should lock the cat door, but as it’s your cat burglar that’s causing the issue, it’s up to you to curtail him,” Morris wrote. “Keeping your cat indoors at night is the simplest solution. The adjustment might be difficult — probably more for you than for him — but in time he’ll get used to it.”

I understand it can be very difficult to curtain feline behavior. If there were an Olympics for being annoying, Buddy would take gold many times over for his relentless meowing when he wants something and isn’t getting it. But the one thing you can never do is give in, or the little stinkers will learn that they get what they want when they yowl incessantly.

Do you agree with Morris, or should the bullying moggie get his way?

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“I’m up in your house, eatin’ ur foodz, bro.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Human Surprisingly Easy To Manipulate, Rescue Cat Says

NEW YORK — It took only six seconds for Jenna, Mikey’s new human, to open the bathroom door when guilted with mournful meows on Wednesday, the newly-homed cat reported.

The 28-year-old human woman entered the bathroom without her recently-adopted feline at approximately 6:22 pm on Wednesday.

“I said to myself, ‘Mikey, we gotta nip this in the bud right away. We can’t have her thinking she can use the bathroom without us, can we?'” the white moggie said.

Mikey launched into a routine that involved scratching the frame, reaching under the door and meowing frantically — “the classics,” he said.

Six seconds later the bathroom door opened, revealing a concerned Jenna.

“Oh my poor baby, are you okay?” she asked, extending a hand as Mikey padded into the bathroom. “I was worried! It sounded like someone was strangling you!”

Mikey said he milked his new human’s sympathy for all he could get.

“I flopped onto my back, gave out a little ‘Muurrrp!’ and looked at her with my big, sad eyes,” he told reporters. “A few minutes later she was in the kitchen, showering me with snacks. Easy peasy!”

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Paws under the door: A classic feline manipulative strategy that almost always yields results, especially if you can grab something!

Mikey, who spent almost three months in a local shelter as younger cats were adopted during kitten season, said he’s proceeding cautiously in his new home and plans to use his keen feline powers of observation to develop a meticulous catalogue of which buttons to push at specific times “to yield maximum snackage and massages.”

“I haven’t used my solicitation purr yet,” he said. “So far my human’s been pliable and gives me what I want, when I want it. The other night she spent four hours laying in a very uncomfortable-looking position to avoid disturbing me while I napped on her shoulder. I want to see how far I can take it before bringing out the big guns.”

Patience has paid off, Mikey said.

“Her boyfriend came over the other night,” he said. “I could have hissed, peed in his shoes, chased him off. After all, there can only be one man of the house. But he brought a gift for me, one of those track towers with the ball you swat around, you know? I have to admit, I was impressed that he knew enough to pay tribute to me. That guy’s alright.”

How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Alone?

Back in the Dark Ages of kitty cognitive knowledge, when scientists wouldn’t go near a cat with a 20-foot pole because they were considered impossible to work with, the conventional wisdom was that as long as a cat was fed and watered, its needs were met.

Going away for three days? Leave a few bowls of dry food and water and you’re good to go, or if you really want to splurge, get an automatic feeder, the prevailing wisdom went. Gonna be away for a week or two? Get someone to check in on the cat a few times a week just to make sure food and water is available.

“If you want a dog but you don’t have time to meet all of its needs, get a cat,” people would say. “They take care of themselves.”

It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong the “prevailing wisdom” on cats really was, and thankfully in recent years we’ve seen a boom in research into cat behavior, intelligence and emotional needs. Among the many things verified by those studies is the fact that cats absolutely are emotional animals and are not the cold, indifferent automatons many people insisted they were.

One reason for that enduring myth may be cats’ famous stoicism. Ignore a dog and she might cry, become destructive or pee in your house, but one thing’s for sure — she’s going to let you know she’s not handling the isolation well. Ignore a cat, and he’ll just withdraw.

I’ve seen plenty of examples of the latter in the homes of friends and acquaintances. The cats are just sort of there, existing like the furniture or plants, interacted with rarely and given affection only occasionally. Those poor cats are quiet, seemingly indifferent, expecting nothing and sadly accepting of their place. They are neglected.

But when you pay attention to your cats they come out of their shells, so to speak. They warm to you. They reveal their hidden emotional core.

Of course, when you raise a cat with attention and love, that’s there from the very beginning, and they WILL let you know when they’re not happy with your absence.

Who do we know who’s like that? His name sounds like Bum, or maybe Bunny, or…oh yeah! God forbid I should ignore Buddy. I’ll never hear the end of it. In fact, he’s on my desk right now, butt parked next to the mouse, and I’m sure any minute now he’s going to decide that I’ve been writing for too long and declare it’s Buddy Time.

Of course, the little jerk attacked his own cat sitter, a friend who has been caring for him when I’m away since he was a kitten! That complicates things.

“Oh servant! Servant, come here at once! I’d like a massage!”

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering how long you can really leave your cat alone. The answer is no more than 24 hours without someone dropping by to check on kitty, refill the water and food bowls, and give him some attention.

If you’re gone longer you’re going to want to make concrete plans for a cat sitter to be there every day.

“You should not leave your cat alone for a prolonged period,” veterinary postdoc Mikel Delgado told Inverse. “Cats also have emotional and social needs that can’t be met when they are left alone for extended periods.”

If your cat likes to play, that’s great, but even if the little one doesn’t, your cat sitter can make things easier by simply hanging out, Delgado said.

Now if you’ll excuse me, His Grace needs me…

The Very Reverend Buddy: ‘Let Us Pray’

I managed to film a brief clip of Buddy enthusiastically “praying.”

This gesture is also called cat pleading or begging in various corners of the interwebs, but as far as I can tell it really doesn’t have anything to do with asking or pleading. I’ve seen my cat do the same motion while he doesn’t think anyone else is around, while he’s at the window looking at birds, and at other random times.

The gesture is so random that this is the first time I’ve managed to get a decent clip of it. Usually by the time I’ve got my phone pointed at His Grace and begun recording, he’s finished his “prayers.”

I have no clue what it means or why some cats do it. All I know is that it’s a fairly rare thing. Perhaps a cat behaviorist somewhere could offer some insight.

Reverend Bud
“Dear Lord, provide me with turkey.”

Also: Happy Adoptaversary to Holly B, Retro Dee’s cute furball. Holly is named after Buddy Holly, so she’s a little buddy too, and she’s been with Dee for two years now. We wish Holly good health and many more years with her loving human, Dee.

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Holly getting some Z’s in a uniquely feline way. Credit: RetroDee