Cat People

Discussion in 'Community Center' started by YellowSwiss, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. WhitleyStu

    WhitleyStu Keep'em scary sharp!!! Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    767
    Dec 8, 2006
    My wife has worked at a veterinary hospital for almost 30 years and that is always referred to as "Kitty Trap".
     
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  2. jlauffer

    jlauffer Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Only one of our two cats will lay belly-up like that, but they both let us scratch their bellies. But have also had cats that didn't.
     
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  3. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    A few thoughts on kitties, and I don't mean them as absolutes, but my own observations and conclusions.

    Belly

    I've read (and come to generally concur) that cats show their bellies not as an invitation, but to convey trust, because it is the most vulnerable spot on a cat. And that rubbing the belly is kind of like a mini breach of that trust, though not an egregious one because no injury results, so it's enough to annoy (or eventually annoy) some kitties, but not enough to cause them to lose any serious amount of trust in their human friends who do it.

    When Smokey goes belly up, he seems to like or at least tolerate the chest rubs and scratches, but I learned very early on that if my hand went to the belly it was not long before it would get kicked away. Gently, mind you, and I don't push him or tease him.

    Sensitivity

    Once, he was on the mattress, and was rolling around as cats do, but he seems to have poor spatial awareness, and he rolled right off, then looked sheepishly back at me. This was the first time I had seen his clumsiness, and I let out a laugh, but as soon as I did, he made his annoyed trill sound, and bolted out of the room. Poor guy was embarrassed! Anyway, I try to not laugh at him for stuff like that now, I just pretend to ignore it for the most part. He seems more at ease that way, though still clumsy sometimes.


    Cat Needs
    In reference to the above fact, indoor cats know this, and so they develop defense mechanisms for coping. I once read that "only secure, happy cats sleep with their bellies up". I don't know if I agree with that statement any more. Secure, yes. But happy? As far as I know, cats need a few things to be truly happy. They need enough of the following:

    • food
    • water
    • grooming
    • play time / hunting training
    • socialization
    • territory
    Friendly Captives

    Someone once said that indoor cats (like Smokey) are friendly captives, because they ultimately have no freedom beyond the confines of their house, or apartment, and are entirely dependent on the jailors for food and cleanliness. Their entire world is portioned out by the owner. As such, I question whether indoor cats truly have happiness, or rather have as much happiness as they could. At least in Smokey's case, I don't have a lot of room in my small apartment for him to truly roam about, and I am leery to let him become and indoor outdoor cat. I know they have statistically shorter lives, and are more like to get sick or injured, if not kitnapped. So for now at least he remains a well cared for captive, but I am sure he's not got enough territory to patrol, and I know he doesn't get the full playtime and hunting training he needs. He has delivered me a couple mice though. And he sometimes plays with the variety of interactive toys I have made for him, but he loses interest so quickly and walks away from me. I need more space so I can set up a cat room where there are better nooks and crannies he can pop out of to catch the bird, snake or mouse toy I will use that day. I also got those mouse feeders that you put kibble in but haven't been able to get him to show any real interest in them. I'm probably doing something wrong.

    Manipulative or Conciliating Behavior

    Because he knows I am bigger than him, and he can't get away from me, I suspect my little buddy shows conciliating behavior in order to make me more amenable to his needs. When he goes belly up, yes he is indicating trust, because he knows I have never hurt him, and doesn't expect me to, but I question whether it is truly a show of happiness, due to the above. Or when he gives a headbutt, or rubs his face into my hand, or does various other cute things, I have come to believe it is essentially "sucking up" not out of genuine friendship, but because he wants something.

    Cat Verbalization
    This part in particular I think applies to dogs also, and probably many other types of animals. I believe cats generally understand humans when they speak, not because they know our language (though I think they can learnt to make associations with certain words), but because there seems to be a universal understanding of vocal cadence, inflection, and tone of voice among certain animals. My cat meows and trills always seem to be easily understood in their meaning, with an upward inflection in pitch indicating a questioning mindset. For example, he does that when I can tell he has been trying to get my attention for food, and he sees me get up and look at him, he'll do the upward pitched meow, like "You're going to feed me now?", or if I call him to get his attention, he'll do the same thing.

    Body Language

    That tail says a lot. But I think it's different with every cat. Smokey's peculiar body language has earned him the nickname "Tail whacker" from me. Because he whacks his tail against just about everything he walks by. When I am filling his bowl, he walks his tail against the nearby doorframe, and it's "thump.... thump.... thump.... etc." until I finally put down his bowl for him. Of course he meows excitedly as I am filling it, too, and I often say "Who else do you think it's for?" Other times, if he wants food or attention, he'll not only rub against my ankles, but he'll stand right there, and either whack me with his tail, sometimes repeatedly (like "Hey!"), or he'll wrap his tail around my ankle and just stand there until I acknowledge him. If he wants me to follow him, he'll do a forward flick with his tail that is kind of like when you motion with your hand to call someone over.

    Additionally, there are times I know he is uncomfortable, like when I am brushing mats out of his fur. He doesn't get them very often anymore, thankfully, but when he did, and I had to use a bit more force to get them out, he would gulp an awful lot. Also when I am telling him to stop doing something or there are other generally tense conversations where he might expect me to be agitated, he gulps. I have looked it up a few times to see what I can find out about cats gulping, but it's always related to medical issues, but this is psychological, and I believe that cats have many of the same boy language tells as humans when it comes to mood, and I think this is one of them. I had another cat before who displayed this same behavior, and like Smokey, he was also one I had to sometimes correct or scold (Disclaimer: I do not believe in correcting or scolding cats by physical punishment or yelling, instead I say sternly, "Don't do that!" and it works just about every time, they can tell I don't like what they are doing and stop, or at least Smokey does).

    There's a lot more, but this post is long enough for now, and I need to get back into the shop. In the end I think indoor cats are indeed our captives, and are often needy (as most of the indoor cats I have jailed... erm owned) because they have no other source of stimulation that that which we provide them. So I hope to keep learning to do better for my little guy, and to eventually have enough space that I can setup a home that is much more suited to his needs.

    I will try and post my video of Smokey taking down a mouse soon. Don't worry it's not graphic, the poor little guy doesn't know what to do with it other than bat it around and nibble a bit. Like I said he needs better training.
     
  4. Zzyzx Road

    Zzyzx Road Gold Member Gold Member

    11
    Sep 4, 2020
    I think indoor cats trade off one thing, for another. The two kittens in this photo were adopted feral kittens. The tabby had been attacked by a coyote, and could not use one leg. When we found her she was emaciated, dehydrated, and close to death. She has since recovered much of the use of her leg. The black kitten is night blind. He is fine, in our home, and we leave a light on for him. In the dark, he stumbles about and is quite scared.

    Both are very happy, as you can see.
     

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  5. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    They are beautiful. Maybe Smokey needs a buddy. I want to get him a dog, but again.... space...
     
  6. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    I ended up taking the poor guy outside and leaving him in the grass at the house across the road. That house has outdoor cats, which hopefully ended this guy's misery quickly.

     
  7. Zzyzx Road

    Zzyzx Road Gold Member Gold Member

    11
    Sep 4, 2020
    I truly enjoy the kitten posts, here. While I love the younger cats I am sitting here, now, with a 16+ year old male cat curled up beside me. His name is “Bob, the Cat.” We did not name him and he was a rescue cat. He is transitioning to his end of life, now. We took him to the vet on several days this week.

    My point, is, this old cat is curled up by me now and wants nothing more than a little love. I think it is the same for us all, in the end.
     

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  8. Bastler

    Bastler Gold Member Gold Member

    396
    Feb 9, 2020
    I'm sorry to hear that Bob the Cat is near his time. Try to take comfort in knowing that you gave him a good life.

    Here are two of our rescued kitties.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Rose and Thistle Custom

    Rose and Thistle Custom Josh Mead Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 9, 2018
  10. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    Hello fuzzy kitty!
     
  11. Rose and Thistle Custom

    Rose and Thistle Custom Josh Mead Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 9, 2018
    We got him today. He's 7 weeks old and has made @MrsR&T soooooo happy already. Haven't found a name yet.
     
  12. jlauffer

    jlauffer Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Got our brother and sister 9-ish years ago...they were only 6-7 weeks old at the time. Now this:D

    Screenshot_2020-11-06-09-07-57_kindlephoto-240072946.png

    That's the male, and at 22lbs he's basically twice the size of the female.
     
  13. MrsR&T

    MrsR&T Gold Member Gold Member

    128
    Oct 1, 2019
    20201106_211321_copy_1209x1612.jpg
     
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  14. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    6276F551-B988-4404-A2AB-0F9ED36B982A.jpeg It’s the time of year when it’s cooled off enough that I hear my computer making that machine gun rat tat tat tat tat in the other room as Grumpster puts her rump on my mini Mac to keep it warm & stretches her paws forward on the keyboard to run the scales up & down! :D
     
  15. Bastler

    Bastler Gold Member Gold Member

    396
    Feb 9, 2020
    We finally found the source of that odd rumbling sound in the computer.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
  17. Rose and Thistle Custom

    Rose and Thistle Custom Josh Mead Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 9, 2018
  18. Bastler

    Bastler Gold Member Gold Member

    396
    Feb 9, 2020
  19. Rose and Thistle Custom

    Rose and Thistle Custom Josh Mead Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 9, 2018
    glennbad, RLB0414, SW-EDC and 3 others like this.
  20. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    We have one cat that is slowly declining. The vet says "put him asleep"..... been there, done it. I won't this time. I will let nature take it's course. He's lost about 10 lbs. Big Siamese. He spends a lot of time on my lap. He doesn't clean himself as well as he used to which is a sure sign of the decline.
     

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