Tag: grooming

Why Does My Cat Sleep On Me?

As readers of this blog know, Bud’s favorite “place” to sleep is on top of his Big Bud.

Why do cats like sleeping on their humans? A new article from Treehugger provides some possible answers to that question. For accuracy purposes, we asked Buddy to weigh in on the reasons mentioned in the article.

1.To Mark Their Territory

Cats have scent glands that release pheromones all over their body. Marking humans with these pheromones means that they are part of the cat’s in-group, a behavior learned in groups of cats in the wild to distinguish members of the pack from non-members.1 When a cat sleeps on you, it marks you with its scent so it can be reassured that you smell familiar and safe. Even cats who enjoy solitude may rub and head-butt their owners as part of the same scent-marking process.

Buddy says: This is true. My scent says “this is my human,” so other cats don’t get any ideas when Big Bud is traveling in The Outside.

2.To Stay Warm

Many cat owners are familiar with the sight of their cat sleeping in a sunny patch on the bed, or even knocking over plants and whatever else is in the way in an attempt to get an ideal window napping position. Warmth induces relaxation and sleep in cats, and few spots in the house are warmer than being directly on top of a person. Warmth may also contribute to the initiation or maintenance of restorative sleep in cats, meaning that seeking out warm spots for sleep can help them stay healthy.2

Also true. Humans are nice and warm, and on really cold winter nights, nothing’s toastier than burrowing under the blanket with your human and sleeping against their body. Just make sure you don’t get squished!

3.To Feel Safe

Animals are more vulnerable to attack while they’re sleeping, and cats are no exception. As a result, cats who see their owners as a sign of safety and security may enjoy sleeping on or near them. This behavior can also be traced back to kittenhood. When young cats are growing, they are typically in large litters with other cats, nursing from their mother, and sleeping together in a group, sometimes stacked on top of one another. Particularly without other cats in the house, humans may have a substitute role in this situation.

Wrong! Erroneous! Absurd! My human sleeps next to me to feel safe, not the other way around. When he’s woken up in the middle of the night by a scary sound and his fur’s on edge, I say “Don’t worry, Big Buddy, I will protect you with my razor claws, my tiger fangs and my really big muscles!” When he got up one night, picked up a baseball bat and went looking for an intruder, I took point by hiding behind his legs. Not because I was scared, but because BAM! The burglar’d never know what hit him if I suddenly sprang out.
 
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4.To Bond With You

In experiments to stop cats from destructive scratching and urine-marking behaviors, scent-marking was proven to be a powerful way to preserve cat-human bonds. When your cat sleeps on you and marks you with their scent, it’s creating a powerful olfactory reminder that you both belong to the same group. Being close to humans also allows cats to hear and feel familiar and comforting sounds, like a beating heart or rhythmic breaths during sleep, which are reminiscent of safe sleeping spaces with a mother cat and siblings.

See number one! It’s also about comfort. Humans are great mattresses!

5.To Show Affection

As demonstrated by a recent study on cat-human bonding, cats are not the solitary creatures they are often portrayed to be. In the wild, cats comfortably live in matriarchal societies and are known to exhibit a variety of group bonding behaviors including mutual grooming, allorubbing, and sleeping together. Sleeping with their owner is one way cats can show affection and caring.

You can interpret it as affection, yes, but the important thing is that Big Buddy cannot go anywhere without me knowing about it. Say he gets up in the middle of the night to use the human litter box room. By sleeping on top of him, I know the second he starts to shift, and I can not only follow him to the litter box room before he shuts the door, I can also howl at him on the way back so he gives me a snack just to shut me up before going to bed. No snack, no peace!

A Cat’s Revenge!

Back in July I wrote a humor post about Buddy “generously grooming” me while I slept:

“It was early and I hadn’t started meowing into my human’s ear at 106 decibels yet,” Buddy recalled. “Big Buddy looked so peaceful as he snoozed, so I decided I’d let him sleep and catch up on grooming myself.”

It was then that the spirit of altruism struck the normally selfish gray tabby cat.

“As I was licking my butt I thought, ‘Buddy, why are you being so selfish? Doesn’t your caring human deserve a little grooming too?’ So I stopped licking my butt and started grooming Big Buddy’s face with my tongue. Got it nice and clean while he slept, so he wouldn’t have to wash when he woke up.”

Satisfied with a job well done, Buddy hopped off the bed, walked to the corner of the bedroom and stepped through the flap of his litter box for his 8 am bowel movement.

After burying his business like a gentleman, the considerate cat quietly climbed back into bed.

“I looked over and realized I’d missed a spot right on Big Buddy’s lip,” Little Buddy recalled. “I’m nothing if not thorough and a perfectionist, so I promptly corrected my mistake, licking my human’s lip clean.”

It is, of course, completely disgusting and precisely the sort of dry, absurdist humor typical of this blog. Readers can draw comfort from the fact that their own cats, whatever their faults or annoying habits, don’t groom their humans’ lips. Because that would be gross.

As for me and Bud, well, he mostly contented himself to grooming my beard. The problem? I shaved it off just the other day.

buddy_upsidedown

So last night I was a dreaming a dream whose details have faded from memory, but one thing remains distinct: In my dream, fat wet raindrops began to fall on my face and lips.

I woke with a start to find Buddy grooming my chin, lips and right cheek, blurted out an “Ugh, Bud!” and vigorously wiped my mouth dry with a tissue.

I can unfortunately confirm it’s not nearly as funny when it really happens to you.

Do You Bathe Your Cat?

Julie’s comment on our last post about cat photos got me thinking: I haven’t given Buddy a bath since he was a kitten.

There are a few good reasons: Many veterinarians don’t think it’s necessary if the cat doesn’t go outdoors, doesn’t have any flea problems and doesn’t come into contact with potential toxins. A short-haired indoor cat who is healthy and flexible enough to thoroughly groom himself doesn’t need bathing, according to trusted animal organizations like the ASPCA.

Unless your cat is a rescue off the street, unable to groom herself or is one of the “hairless” breeds — like a Sphinx — caretakers should “absolutely not” bathe their cats, feline guru Jackson Galaxy agrees.

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Not a happy camper: Most domestic cats loathe baths. (Credit)

Since Buddy is young and healthy, and the little guy was always seriously distressed by taking a bath, I decided not to put him through the stress. Fear of water may seem ridiculous to us humans, but for cats it’s a big deal.

He does a good job grooming himself, I’ve never detected any odor on him, and perhaps most importantly I’d need heavy gloves, a plastic mask and a family size tube of antimicrobial ointment for the inevitable wounds in places where I’m not heavily armored.

I am, however, open to feedback. Are there good reasons why I should be bathing Bud? Have I been too eager to accept the anti-cat-bathing argument because I don’t want to get soaked and scratched by an angry cat? Am I being negligent by not bathing him?

If you do advocate bathing cats, how often do you bathe your own little buddies, and how do handle the ordeal?

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Cats may be stoic, but not when it comes to enduring baths. (Credit)

Dear Buddy: Why Are Humans So Ungrateful To Their Cats?

Dear Buddy,

My humans are good people who serve me well despite their abysmal hunting skills. Every now and then I kill a juicy mouse or a lizard, you know, to show I can provide and pull my weight around here.

Sometimes I leave my gift on the kitchen counter, and sometimes I leave it on one of their pillows in their my bed. High visibility places, you know? Nothing says “You have been serving me adequately, have a delicious meal on me!” quite like leaving the gift where you know it’ll be stumbled upon.

Unfortunately they’re a bunch of ungrateful jerks! They start acting all dramatic, they put the fresh kill in a paper bag like it’s toxic waste and they throw it out. That’s just adding insult to injury.

Why can’t humans express gratitude?

– Maxwell in Maryland

tenor

Dear Maxwell,

I know exactly what you mean! I used to groom my Big Buddy, using my saliva to shampoo his hair, but he acted like I was the disgusting one.

Well, I solved the problem, yes I did! I wait and quietly groom my butt until my human falls asleep. Then I give my butt a few more thorough licks before climbing on top of my Big Buddy and grooming him, starting with his beard and working my way to his upper lip.

I find that grooming his beard immediately after grooming my butt is best because my poop gives the bristles on my tongue a more malleable quality, which is good for grooming human hair. Plus it leaves his beard smelling nice and familiar, like our home after I use the litterbox!

Humans are just ungrateful creatures, Maxwell, but night time affords many opportunities to help them when they don’t realize it. Why not drop a mouse into your human’s mouth while she’s asleep? Who knows? She might like it!

Your friend,
Buddy

 

 

Buddy’s Mailbag: Get Your Tongue Off Me!

Dear Buddy,

I know your advice column is meant for cats, but I thought you’d make an exception for a human who seeks your wise and benevolent guidance, Oh Great Handsome One, for who else is as smart and perceptive as Buddy?

My question is: Should I buy a Licki? You know, one of those silicon rubber “tongues” with spikes that are supposed to mimic a kitty’s bristled tongue. I’d like to bond with my cat, and according to the people who make the Licki, grooming my kitty just like a momma cat is the best way to bond.

What do you think?

– Human In Hawkins, Indiana


Dear HiHi,

Oh hell no!

Big Buddy bought one of those things and creeped up on me all stealth-like when I was taking a nap one day. One second I’m dreaming about bountiful feasts with endless roast turkey, the next I’m waking up to that daft two-legs dragging a rubber tongue back and forth through my fur, looking like an epileptic seal.

I thought I was being attacked by a porcupine dipped in crazy glue! Once I realized what was happening, I gave Big Buddy a hard paw smack and bit his hand for emphasis: Get that weak shit out of my personal space!

Licki Terrorist!
Horrific and embarrassing for everyone involved. Don’t. Just don’t.

So no, don’t buy a Licki. You’ll just waste $25 on a piece of rubber that makes your cats loathe you. Instead, provide massages on-demand and step your treats game up. Now that is something your kitties will appreciate.

– Buddy out

Licki fail!
“Get it away from me!”

Licki? No.
This poor cat looks traumatized. He should smack his human like I did.