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November 18, 2018

Purrs Help Newborn Kittens Survive

04.12.15 Kittens are born blind and deaf. The vibration of their mother’s purr helps guide newborns to their first meals. Purring also helps keep them safe from predators. Because purr vibrations are not as easily detected as meows and other vocalizations, it is harder for predators to find the newborns. Purrs help newborn kittens survive.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook 

Purrs help new borns survive

Purrs help new borns survive. by Fotolia.

 

The Right Way to Greet Cats

12.28.14  The right way to greet cats. Instead of approaching or cornering the cat, position your index finger about 8” above the ground and point it towards her. She may be as close as a couple of feet from you or across the street. If she wants to socialize, she’ll approach you and touch your finger with her nose. Then she’ll turn her head until your finger is on her cheek. She will probably rub your finger and hand, marking you with pheromones produced by scent glands located on her cheeks. This is your invitation to pet her.

Maulee, the author’s cat, greeting her.

Maulee, the author’s cat, greeting her. by Marilyn Krieger.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Opening Holiday Presents with Cats

12.21.14 Opening holiday presents are fun for everyone—including the family cats. Keep an eye on your cats and kittens during the festivities. Make sure they do not become tangled in ribbons or other wrappings. Don’t let them play with fragile ornaments or small objects that can easily be chewed up or swallowed. Place candy, cookies and other food in areas that are inaccessible to your cats.

Are Cats Good Christmas Presents?

Not everyone can provide good homes for cats and other pets. In addition to the costs for food and vet care, they need daily attention, clean litter boxes, love and a safe environment. Instead of surprising someone with a cat for Christmas, get their feedback. Not everyone is ready for the responsibilities that comes with living with cats. If they are good candidates, take them to the shelter or a responsible breeder and let them meet and choose the cat they connect with. Many cats and dogs are abandoned and surrendered to shelters after the holidays because people thought they’d make good presents.

 

Ninja Kitten! Play Aggression

Today I met an adorable kitten—a 12 week old orange fluff ball, appropriately named Fluffer, who had been adopted when she was 8 weeks old. This tiny little ball of fur was terrorizing her adoring humans, biting and scratching whenever she wanted to play. According to the sleep-deprived cat parents, the only down time they got was when the kitten ate and eliminated. They were desperate for help and asked me to come to their home.

I was greeted at the door by Brittany and her frustrated mother, Anne. In the middle of the room Christopher, Anne’s husband, laughed and giggled as he delighted in playing with Fluffer, rolling the kitten on her back and petting her irresistible tummy. I watched for a few minutes as Christopher hid his hand under a newspaper, moving his fingers, encouraging Fluffer to stalk and pounce.

According to Anne and Christopher, Fluffer stalked and attacked at every opportunity. The time of day or the circumstances didn’t matter—when Fluffer wanted attention, she jumped, attacked and then bit. Usually she didn’t break skin, but occasionally she did. The problem, instead of getting better had worsened. Christopher admitted that when Fluffer went into attack mode, he usually responded by roughhousing with her.

I wondered if Christopher would be willing to change the way he related to Fluffer.

90% Human Behavior; 10% Kitten

It is natural for kittens to play intensely. Although play is fun it is also serious business. Kittens learn important survival and social skills when they play. Play also helps kittens develop coordination.

Kittens are little sponges when it comes to learning—they have to be in order to survive in a hostile world. Like all animals, one way they learn is by repeating behaviors when the behaviors are rewarded. Christopher reinforced Fluffer’s biting by using his hands when playing with the kitten. He also encouraged the kitten to grab and bite him during play—rewarding the kitten with attention when she attacked. Fluffer, being a bright kitten, assumed that biting was acceptable so now whenever she wants to interact with her favorite people she does what works—biting.

Brittany caught on right way. She thought a possible solution would be re-homing her dad so that he wouldn’t roughhouse with Fluffer anymore. Brittany wanted a kitten she could snuggle and cuddle with, not a Ninja kitten who pounced and attempted to kill anything that moved.

Changing Behaviors

The kitten’s behavior can be changed, but everyone in the household has to be on board—modifying how they interact with Fluffer. Christopher has to stop using his hands when playing with the kitten and he needs to resist roughhousing with her. His task is to learn how to play; using pole type toys and other interactive play items instead of his hands.

Time outs will also help change Fluffer’s behavior. Whenever she becomes over-stimulated or solicits attention through biting, Fluffer’s victim needs to stand up and leave the room without interacting with her. Time outs are short; a few seconds are usually all that is needed. Fluffer will quickly learn that when she bites and attacks, her favorite playmates disappear.

Everyone in the household promised they would do their part—changing the way they played with the kitten. Brittany could now look forward to stashing the first aid kit in the cabinet and safely snuggling with her little kitten.

Purr Byte: Safety through Purring

04.29.12 Purring helps to keep newborn kittens safe. Since the vibrations of purrs can not be detected as readily as vocalizations, it’s harder for predators to find the nests of mum’s with their newborns.

Bits & Bytes: One Reason to Purr

04.22.12 Kittens, born blind and deaf, find their first nourishment, guided by the vibrations of their mum’s purr.

The Enigmatic Purr

Part One: The Primal Purr

Purrs are complex. Even the most learned scientists and veterinarians can’t agree on the mechanism of The Purr. Cats purr in a variety of circumstances, conveying their emotions and state of mind with each purr. The purr most of us are familiar with is the reassuring purr from a contented, happy cat lounging on her favorite human’s lap. There’s more to the purr story…

Kittens are welcomed into the world with the soft vibration of their mom’s purring. Queens purr when they give birth. Perhaps they are purring because they are in pain, the vibration of the purr may help to release endorphins and might be self-reassuring. Whatever the reason for this purr, it is vital to the newborns survival. This primal purr is a perfect homing device for the kittens, guiding them through purr vibrations to nurse and to the protective warmth of their mother’s body. Since kittens are born blind and deaf, The Primal Purr is Nature’s perfect solution to insuring the first meals.

There’s another evolutionary component to The Primal Purr. Purrs help save newborn litters from the threat of a predator. A predator is more likely to hear a meow then feel the vibration from a primal purr.

When a kitten is 2 days old, she will start to purr. It is impossible for a kitten to meow and nurse simultaneously, so she does something better… she purrs. She purrs reassurances and contentment to her mom. Mom purrs back and all is right with the world.

(Part Two of The Enigmatic Purr will be posted soon)