Aaron recently bought me larger monitors for my computer – highly useful for grad school – but the cats apparently think my desk is even more irresistible. Now all three regularly stop by for desk visits.
Tag: cats are weird
Sock Bin Cats
As cat owners know, cats are ninjas. Some have incredible hiding powers. (Some, however, not so much…) A couple weeks ago, Charlie would disappear and we couldn’t find him in his usual spots. We knew he was somewhere in the house but couldn’t figure out where. Then I saw something move out of the corner of my eye…the sock bin. Charlie had climbed inside Aaron’s sock basket and decided to take a snooze in it.
Cats are so weird.
Do your cats hide in unusual spots? Do they sleep in laundry bins or dresser drawers? Share in the comments!
Return of the Box Monster!
Help! The box monster has returned! Whatever shall I do?
I think when Aaron ordered a dryer vent sweeper, Mau was more excited about it than anyone else in the house because it came in a long, thin box. While Garrus and Charlie occasionally sniffed it or peeked inside if a toy bounced inside, Mau immediately claimed the box as his.
Most amusingly, Mau typically saunters into the box after eating his breakfast and has a sit. I guess it is his Sitting/Pondering Box. Evidently this Box Monster contemplates the wonders of the universe.
The box is extra special because it has crinkly paper in it. It also makes a fun gully in which to bat around toys and a spot from which to pounce on his housemates (apparently). I just think he looks extra cute in his box but I’m likely biased…
Do your cats like boxes? Does the shape and size matter? Does the inclusion of crinkly paper make the box special to your cat? Share in the comments!
Since we adopted Mau, we purchased a breakaway collar and tag for him. (We also have updated his microchip information.) We debated what color to get for him – should it be red to match Garrus and Charlie or another shade? Ultimately we decided on a vivid cerulean shade to complement his Frank Sinatra eyes. Doesn’t he look extra dapper?
You can see a sliver of his collar in this photo. The light in this photo (taken by Aaron) makes his eyes look a darker shade of blue than usual.
Here you can see his tag!
Mau is doing well. He’s on a medication which will hopefully re-balance the good bacteria in his gut and resolve his diarrhea issue. Whether he is truly a senior at 15 or younger, he’s pretty healthy and active – he loves to play with springs and explore boxes. He gets along well with both Garrus and Charlie, his playmates and snuggle buddies, and continues to be Aaron’s Bro Cat. We’re very happy with our handsome boy.
Do your pets have fun collars? Do they wear bow ties and/or bandannas? Please share in the comments!
Cats will find the most interesting ways to amuse themselves – and often end up making their humans chuckle too. Occasionally all three cats will have the zoomies, though it is rare for all three to have the zoomies at the same time. During a decent scamper session, there is usually quite a bit of jumping onto and sliding on top of the ottoman. Apparently Mau discovered another use for the crocheted blanket after his slide made it askew: it makes a hiding spot!
“You can’t see me! I’m hiding!” (No, not really. I could see your fluffy tail sticking out from beneath the blanket.)
“Where should I scamper to next?”
Do your cats ever get the zoomies? What happens? Do your other pets join in or is it a solo excursion? Share in the comments below!
Charlie’s New Spot
Sometimes cats are weird and do surprising things. Lately I haven’t found Charlie in his usual spots and it seemed like he disappeared. While cats can be ninjas, I always worry when I can’t find one of my cats – after all, they could be stuck in a closet or something. But no. Charlie has decided to chill in a rather unexpected location…the carrier!
“What, Monday is here already? No thank you. I’ll take a nap instead.” ~Charlie
Do your cats like to hang out in the carrier? Do they sleep in unusual places in the house? Why do you think they chose those spots? Share in the comments!
Harmony in a Multi-Cat Household Part Two
Some cats prefer to have buddies, as in the case of Charlie and Garrus. Others are happier as solo cats (example: Nala). Still other cats get along better with dogs than cats, as was the case for Boudicca. It depends widely on the cat’s personality, background, age, previous experiences, health, and other factors.
It’s important to remember that cats and dogs have very different social behaviors. Wild cats tend to be solitary, and as a result, they don’t have the complex social relationships and behaviors that other animals, such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, and whales, have. Dogs have easily recognized play behaviors, such as the “play bow”. By contrast, cats do not have these ritualized play behaviors. Misunderstandings can occur as a result. Case in point, one cat may chase or swat at another in play but the other cat may interpret this as a threatening action. Consequently, the play session can quickly escalate to a fight.
Garrus, being a bona fide Gentleman Cat, is willing to share the ottoman. Mau takes it as an opportunity to sprawl and flaunt his belly.
In short, cats can be incredibly socially awkward. This has certainly been the case for Mau and, to a lesser extent, Charlie when he tried ever so earnestly to befriend Boudicca every day, regardless of her definite opinions on the subject.
Ahem. Mau appears unaware of the concept of personal space. Garrus, for his part, is again relegated to being another cat’s pillow. (Charlie has done this a few times so this situation is not new.)
There are several factors to consider when keeping a multi-cat household, whether it is introducing a new pet to residents or helping housemates get along. There are several actions you can take to keep things peaceful. They can include:
- Background. A cat’s ability to successfully adapt to a new home with housemates depends on the cat’s age, personality, prior experiences, health, and other factors. Where did this cat come from? How did the cat react to other cats in the shelter? Charlie, for example, had no such compunctions and would walk right up to a new cat and roll onto his back. For this reason, the director paired him with the well-mannered Garrus. Since Charlie was so affable, he and Garrus became instant friends.
- Space. Cats highly value their personal space, and some feel safer high up or in down low in cave-like environments in which to hide. Make sure you provide ample areas for your cats to hide in, sleep, play in, and call their own. We have multiple sleeping areas (including cat beds, couches, chairs, the bed, and the window seat), the cat tree, and boxes throughout the house.
- Decreased competition for resources. This is closely related to #2 and #4. Lessen friction by serving food in separate dishes and providing enough litter boxes. Having a variety of options where to snooze, sunbathe, watch birds, and play also helps, as does providing vertical territory and hiding or safe spots.
- Feeding arrangements. In the morning, our cats jauntily escort us into the kitchen in anticipation of breakfast. We have learned that putting a dish in its own position and putting it down in the same spot each time keeps the peace. Garrus, for example, sits like the gentleman he is by the end table while we prepare his meals; he beelines to his spot before we set the dish down. Each cat has their own dish so they don’t have to compete for food.
- Calm environment. Sometimes using a calming pheromone diffuser like Feliway helps cats relax and get along better.
- Attention. Spend one-on-one time with each of your pets. Play with them. Offer scritches and belly rubs. Have a snuggle. Your attention and affection is also a resource. Don’t have your pets compete for it.
Garrus and Charlie like to share the blue elephant pillow and snuggle.
Playing vs Fighting
Feline housemates, just like human housemates, may not always get along. Depending on the cats involved, they may actually fight or simply ignore one another. Other cats like to play and tussle with one another, and that can sometimes look like they’re fighting.
Photo courtesy of Petcha
How do you tell the difference between tussling and actual fighting? Here are a few things to look for:
- Body language. When cats prepare to fight, they will adopt a defensive stance, curve their spine, bristle their fur, and flatten their ears. A big bottle-brush tail lashing back and forth is another indication of escalating aggression. By contrast, play cats will generally have calm, forward ears (sometimes they may flick back but are not flattened down) and won’t not have bristly fur or look like a classic Halloween scaredy cat.
- Position. Playing cats generally have looser positions as they tumble. Sometimes they put a paw around the head or go after the belly area (playing may look rough), but note that they take turns. Fighting cats square off against each other, attempt to intimidate each other with posturing and loud vocalizations, and strike only when necessary.
- Noise. Playing cats generally don’t make a lot of noise. They don’t yowl and scream, but if the play gets too rough, there may be a couple meows of protestation! When they do this, they teach each other manners and that biting too hard ends the game. Kittens learn this from an early age, ideally from their siblings and from occasionally disciplinary nips from their mom. Fighting cats hiss a lot, growl, scream, snarl, and generally make A LOT of ruckus.
- Friendship. Cats that play together generally have a friendly relationship and see each other as belonging to the same social group. They may snuggle together, groom one another, and even share toys or food. When cats do not have this kind of cordiality, they avoid one another and may have totally separate territories.
Photo courtesy of PetMD. Note these two tense cats are squaring off and just look angry.
Photo courtesy of Free Cat Images. These two cats are tussling, not fighting.
Photo courtesy of Chewy. The tabby on the right prepares to playfully bop the one on the left.
If you want more information about determining whether your cats are playing or fighting, check out Vetstreet, AnimalWised, and PetHelpful.
Do your cats play or do they fight? Do they like each other? What kind of antics do they do during a tussle session? Please share in the comments!
So This Happened Last Night
I don’t think Garrus wasn’t consulted.
“Instead of taking pictures, you could, you know, help.” ~Garrus
“Boundaries? What are those?” ~Mau
The snuggle ended when Garrus slid from under Mau and stood up, letting Mau to unceremoniously flop on the ottoman. Then Mau declared that lap time would commence forthwith with Aaron.
Where Are Your Toys, Charlie?
Charlie is a busy, ridiculously cute, and rather kittenish cat. He loves to play. Fortunately–and amusingly–he is perfectly happy to play with nearly anything. I’ve seen him bat around a coffee bean and, later, a single kibble for hours. We have given him crinkly Mylar balls and Ethical Pet heavy gauge plastic springs. At times he will bat around a jingle ball and investigate a puzzle egg toy in order to get a treat out of it. (A dear friend sent me these particular puzzle toys, along with a piñata, but a similar puzzle toy can be found on Chewy.)
When Charlie is particularly frisky, my living room looks like a daycare center with toys spilled haphazardly everywhere. Of course, Charlie temporarily loses his toys whenever he bats them under furniture and cannot fish them out with his questing paws. Whenever we recover toys for him, he reacts with such unfettered glee. (Often times though, he loses his toy again within half an hour. Then the cycle begins anew.)
By far, though, Charlie’s absolute favorite toys are the two fuzzy brown mice and a fuzzy brown ball that he tore off the cat tower. (We cut away the remaining elastic strings to prevent him from being able to chew or swallow them.) It’s utterly hilarious and terribly charming when I catch Charlie carrying these toys around in his mouth. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to snap a photo of him doing this yet.
When we need to vacuum, we pick up all the toys and temporarily place them on one of the cat tower platforms. Charlie and Garrus prefer the one on the left, so we put the toys on the right platform since they don’t use it as much. At first, we did this purely for practical reasons but soon we noticed that Charlie decided this was a new game. After he realized that his toys were all in one spot, he would scale the tower, go to the right platform, and bat at least one crinkle ball off the platform onto the floor. He typically goes straight for his fuzzy toys, picks one up in his mouth, and either carries it down to the floor or simply drops it. Then he goes back to his spot on the left platform. If we immediately replace the toy, he takes it as a cue to play with extra zest and attacks the toy (and usually the scratching poles in the process), tosses the given toy back onto the floor, and usually starts batting it around for awhile after that. Sometimes chirping accompanies the toy carrying and/or the batting session. It’s very silly.
Now when we find his fuzzy toys on the floor, we surreptitiously replace it back onto one of the top three platforms for Charlie to find. We’ve also occasionally hid them inside the kitty condos or put them on a lower platform in order for him to investigate and to keep things interesting for him. I’m quite pleased when I see that he is using his mind as well as his paws to keep himself entertained. If playtime is not occupying him, it could be mischief!
His latest project is depositing toys around the house in odd places. It’s not uncommon to find a mouse in the middle of the hallway or under a chair after we wake up. On a few occasions Charlie has approached me with a toy in his mouth, only to drop it and scamper away. It’s not clear whether he wants me to throw said toy (he doesn’t fetch…yet) or if I should regard the toy as a present. Sleeping Garrus on the bed? Clearly a toy mouse needs to go under his tail without Garrus’ apparent knowledge. Maybe Charlie thinks Garrus needs a napping buddy. Mom’s in the bathroom? A fuzzy ball needs to be placed just outside the door…because reasons. Another mouse needs to placed in the exact center of the kitchen floor. Perhaps it is the mascot for the kitty convention they will hold under the kitchen table later.