Why are cats so misunderstood? Seven common things people get wrong.
No matter how well you think you know cats, there is always something new to learn about our feline friends.
They can have some curious and confusing behaviours, from sleeping in strange places around the house to chasing anything that moves.
This can lead to them being misunderstood, but there is usually a good explanation for their weird ways.
Whether you’re new to cat ownership, or have had cats for years, we thought we’d clear up some of the most common misconceptions about moggies.
If you want learn even more about why your cat does what they do, you can take our fun, interactive online course called Understand Cats’ Needs. There’s even a quiz so you can test your knowledge and impress your friends with your high score!
They need other cats as friends
You might worry that your cat gets lonely being left on their own while you’re out of their house, but they probably quite enjoy having their own space.
Cats are solitary creatures, so they have no inbuilt need to be friends with other cats. Unlike humans or dogs who are typically social, cats are more likely to actively avoid each other and become stressed by another cat moving in on their territory. If you have a cat at home, think carefully before getting another one.
They catch prey because they’re hungry or mean
When your cat brings you ‘presents’ they’ve caught in the garden, they’re not being naughty or trying to tell you that you’re not feeding them enough.
Cats have an inbuilt need to stalk, chase and pounce as it’s one of their natural behaviours. They even get a surge of happy hormones released in their brain when they catch something, making them want to do it more.
Instead of punishing them for hunting, encourage them to redirect this behaviour onto toys that they can chase and catch instead.
They scratch the furniture to be naughty
While it might seem like your cat is expressing their dislike for your interior design choices, they don’t scratch the furniture to upset you.
Cats need to be able to scratch to keep their claws in good condition, and also to mark their territory with scratch marks and the scent left behind by their paws.
The best way to stop them scratching carpets and sofas is to cover these areas up and provide an alternative scratching post they can use instead.
They’re happy to eat and drink in the same place
Cats are very hygiene conscious, which makes them quite picky about where they eat and drink.
To avoid any bacteria from their food being transferred into their drinking water, they like their food and water bowls to be kept apart.
For similar reasons they also prefer to eat and drink away from where they go to the toilet, so make sure all of these things are well spaced out in the house.
They don’t mind sharing with other cats
When cats are living in close proximity to each other, they still like to maintain their own individual territories so they can avoid any conflict.
This means that they’re not keen on sharing and prefer to have their own food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, scratch post and bed that they can use in peace. Therefore, if you have two cats at home, the best way to ensure they get along is to have two of everything, plus one spare.
They need comforting when they’re scared
It’s a natural human instinct to think that your cat needs a reassuring cuddle when something upsets them, but they’re very different from us.
When cats are scared or stressed, they prefer to hide and be on their own to help them feel safe and secure.
Giving them lots of attention when they’re feeling this way will only make them more anxious, so the kindest thing is to leave them alone for a while until they’re ready to come to you for a fuss.
They only need one bed
If you’ve ever found your cat snoozing in the sink or on top of a pile of clean laundry, then you might be aware that they like to have a choice of bed.
It is believed that this behaviour also stems from their hygiene-conscious ways, as it helps to prevent them from catching fleas. If they switch their sleeping location regularly then they’re less likely pick up nasty parasites, so make sure they have plenty of bed options around the house.
Now you’ve learnt something new, it’s time to explore these topics even further and test your cat know-how with our Understanding Cats’ Needs course at www.cats.org.uk/online-learning