Understanding your cat

As we don't communicate in the same language as our cats, sometimes their behaviour leaves us baffled. We can mistake perfectly natural cat behaviour as naughtiness or stubbornness. That's why it's important to better understand your cat.

Respect her wishes

Cats are solitary animals and like to spend time alone, especially when they're sleeping or on the prowl. They're also night-time hunters, and this instinct won't be upset by regular daytime feeding.

Your cat should be allowed to express her natural behaviour and instincts. Let her spend time alone if she wants to, and make sure there are places in your house to which she can retreat for some alone time. Cats particularly like enclosed areas, such as cardboard boxes or cat beds.

Natural born hunters

Allow your cat to hunt. The "prey" doesn't have to be a real-life bird or a mouse, but simply a cat toy. Fishing rod toys, for example, are great for interactive play between you and your cat, and allow her to show off her natural hunting behaviour. Let her win every now and then and she'll be brimming with pride.

Play is particularly important for cats. If you humour her hunting skills inside the house, you'll limit the number of catches she brings you from outside. Cats don't bring you headless birds or mice to scare you or be difficult; they do so because they want to take their prey back to a safe place – their home.

A nose for communication

Cats communicate with one another using scented messages. Messages are left through scratching and spraying of urine as well as rubbing their scent glands. When your cat rubs on walls, furniture or doors she's marking her territory. When she rubs on your legs, she's communicating with you by saying, "You're my person".

Scratching also leaves a visual message and helps to keep your cat's claws nice and sharp. Make sure your cat has a specific area in the house where she's allowed and even encouraged to scratch. Providing a scratching post is the best way to keep your furniture from being ruined.

By learning more from your cat, you can build a better relationship and will understand what she's communicating to you. Your cat really does talk to you – you just have to watch and listen!

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