web analytics

January 24, 2021

Cats Show People Affection through Their Tails

11.09.14 Cats have many ways of displaying affection towards their favorite people. One of the sweet ways cats show people affection is through their tails. Sometimes cats will slightly raise the fur around the base while quivering the tail tips. Another way they use them to show affection is by wrapping them around the hands, arms and ankles of their favorite people.


Making Sense of Scent

Scent exchange

Maulee checking out a sock that has another cat's scent on it

Cats have an acute sense of smell. Scent is one of the ways that they relate and understand their environment. Scents can make or break new relationships. I preach scent exchanges when introducing cats to each other. Scent exchanges can either encourage friendships, or if forced upon cats can lead to violence and stress.

There are some sources on the internet that counsel forced scent exchanges by applying the scent of one cat directly on another when introducing a new cat to the resident cat or when working with inter-cat aggression.  I highly recommend not exchanging scents in this fashion. Doing so can stress the cat wearing the other’s scent and result in their hating or fearing each other—they cannot retreat away from the other’s scent. There is a more peaceful way of conducting scent exchanges. Instead of forced scent exchanges, gently pet each cat’s cheek with a different sock or soft towel and then put the scented towels or socks in the other’s confinement area, while the cats remain separated from each other. That way the cats have the choice of checking it out on their own schedule. If the cats don’t feel secure to venture near the scent-laced objects, then they don’t have to. They can wait until the smell dissipates in strength and then investigate it. It’s about choice. And it’s about reducing stress.

Not only does this pertain to cat scents, but also to calming collars and scents that well-meaning people sometimes put on their cats. Cats often find the scents and calming collars annoying or threatening but have no way of escaping them since they are wearing them.

Demystifying The Cat

  • Dogs have owners, cats have staff.
  • Cats do what they want.
  • Dogs come when they’re called. Cats take a message and get back to you.
  • Cats are mysterious.

These are a few of the misconceptions and cutisms that feed a false myth about cats. Cute as some of these sayings may sound, they have perpetuated a false stereotype about cats that has harmed and in many instances, killed cats. Unfortunately, many people believe that cats do whatever they want, and that their behaviors can’t be changed. They think that unappreciated cat behaviors such as inappropriate elimination, scratching the furniture and aggression can not be modified or stopped. Unfortunately, since so many people have bought into the myth, cats are regularly surrendered to shelters and or euthanized for these very fixable problems.

One of my goals as a certified cat behavior consultant is to bust this myth and to demystify the cat. Educating people about cats is very important, will help save lives and also help people appreciate how wonderful and special cats are. Cats are very trainable and behaviors that we don’t appreciate can be modified. Many times the reasons the cats are engaging in these behaviors is because of human error. Usually it takes some management and behavior modification, both of the cat and her human companion. Sometimes the fixes are simple, the result immediate, other times it takes more work, including environmental management, positive reinforcement and an understanding of the triggers. In the majority of cases, the behaviors can be modified and stopped.

Please, if you have a cat that is engaging in a behavior you don’t like, don’t give up on the cat. Chances are, the behavior can be modified. Instead call either a certified cat behavior consultant or a veterinary behaviorist. If you have economic challenges, then call your local humane society for behavior help. Many humane societies offer free phone consultations both for cats and dogs.