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Owning A Domestic Cat 101: Cat Behaviors, Grooming And Traveling

Once again, our feline friends are protagonists in this blog. Our first entry for this series was Owning A Domestic Cat 101: Selecting A New Cat Or Kitten. Where we talked about different breeds of domestic cats, some of them more exotic than others.


Now we are going to talk about the behaviors most cats share, the basics of grooming, and traveling with your feline companion. If you’ve read all the entries of this series, then you have a really good deal of information to face the challenge of owning a domestic cat, and proves you are truly committed to be the cat owner you want to become.


There are behaviors that many cats share, but you might not know the logic behind them. Below are many of these characteristics as well as explanations as to why your cat may perform them so you can better understand what your cat is trying to tell you.



Understanding Your Cat’s Body Language

The easiest way to determine how your cat is feeling at the moment is by looking at their body language; and there are two specific parts of their body that will give you a lot of information, these are their ears and their tail.


A cat’s ears can say a lot about what they are feeling or trying to express to others, different ear positions mean different things. When the ears are forward and relaxed, then your cat is happy and listening to the sounds around them. When their ears are erect, the cat is paying attention to something; they are alert to the happening around them.


Flattened ears can relay fear or the cat being anxious. When ears are completely flat, it means they are fearful and aggressive, plus the cat is probably hissing and has their eyes narrowed. When ears are turned back, your cat is either annoyed or aggravated, this is a warning to whoever has caused their mood.


A cat’s tail can also say a lot about their mood and what they are doing. A straight up tail means you have a content cat; a straight and quivering tail shows your cat is happy. When the tail is horizontally behind, this means that the cat is relaxed, confident, and alert. If the tail is straight with a hook at the end, your cat is being friendly, but is not quite sure of the situation, person, or other animal.


A swishing tail can mean your cat is being playful or that they are annoyed. But when your cat’s tail is straight and fluffy, it means your cat is feeling fear and is threatened.



Is My Cat Talking To Me?

Short answer, yes. Cat’s meow is their way of communicating with us; in fact meowing is something that cats only do to get attention from humans. They can meow for many reasons: to say hi, to ask us for something, and to tell us that something is not ok. A common meow can mean they want to say hello to you or just want their dinner and such. 


There are other sounds that cats make that have other purposes like when a female is in heat and looking for a male, they kind of make like a howling sound. Or when a female is calling her kittens or a cat is being lovey with their owners, they will emit a rolling sound, like a chirr.


When a cat is hissing, this is a warning sign that your cat is not happy and they are getting ready to attack; also if your cat is growling, they want to be left alone. Now, if your cat is purring, it means they are happy and feel safe.

Are you still figuring out your life with your new cat? There are several tips you need to know in order to be a successful cat owner, so take a look at this: Owning A Domestic Cat 101: Important Tips, And What Supplies To Get



Other Notable Cat Behaviors

Kneading is a common behavior seen in domestic cats, in which they push in and out with its front paws, alternating between left and right. It’s a form of feline flattery when a Cat kneads you; is like they were saying they love you. In adulthood, a cat supposedly will knead when they’re feeling happy or content because it associates the motion with the comforts of nursing and their mother.


Cats are very curious. You have probably heard the saying that involves curiosity killing the cat. This is why they climb and explore everything that they can. This is an instinctive behavior that can often get your cat into a lot of trouble. This is why you need to make sure that your house is cat proofed so that your cat doesn’t harm themselves while exploring.


When a cat is clawing a scratching post or your furniture, they are not doing it for no reason; they are actually getting the exercise that they need. When they claw, they are able to stretch their muscles. They can also be doing it to mark their territory as well.


Even though many of these behaviors may seem odd, your cat does have an actual reason for performing many of them. The best you can do is to try to understand them to some degree and make sure that your cat is kept safe.



The Basics Of Grooming

Grooming is also a big part of having a cat. Just as you get a shower every day, do your hair, and whatever else your grooming entails, your cat needs to be groomed as well. Although you don’t need to bathe your cat on a daily basis, there are other things that need to be taken care of regularly.


You really don’t have to bathe your cat too often, especially if they are an indoor pet, but there will come the time that fluffy needs to get a bath. Giving your cat a bath is more of a two people’s job so you might need to ask someone to give you a hand. A good tip is to put something like a rug or towel in the tub that the cat can cling onto since there is a good chance the cat is going to freak out when it hits the water.


Make sure that you check the temperature of the water before you decide to dunk them; you need to make it a hot bath so they will be comfortable. Using shampoo specifically made for cats, start at the head and work your way down the body. You need to wash the head, ears and neck, don’t skip any spots when washing, but don’t get soap in your cat’s eyes. After your cat is washed and dried, keep them out of drafts until they are fully dry.

Now that you are learning about cat grooming, you might be interested in their diet. There’s a lot of good you can do for your cat’s health by taking good care of their diet. Start by taking a peak at this: Owning A Domestic Cat 101: Cat Food And The Health Of Your Feline



Making Your Cat Look Pretty

If you start grooming your cat from an early age, they will love for you to take out the brush or comb and start grooming them. It’s important to brush your cat when you notice they are beginning to shed their hair, this is for your benefit and your cat’s. You cat will love having that extra hair removed, there will be less hairballs, and your furniture won’t have hair all over it. If you find the coat knotted when you are brushing, use your fingers to untangle the knot and not the brush or comb.


You also need to make sure that your cat’s nails are trimmed; you can choose to do this yourself or have a grooming service do it for you. If you decide to take the task on yourself, you need to get clippers that are especially designed for cats. You also need to be careful not to cut into the quick of the nail or you will end up injuring your cat, this is why many prefer to have a groomer take care of this chore. After the coat and the nails are taken care of, you need to make sure that your cat’s ears are clean.


Cleaning the ears should be done on a monthly basis. Do not use a cotton tip to clean your cat’s ears! This process should only be done with a cotton ball and some mineral oil or alcohol, do not go any further into the ear than you can see to avoid causing your cat injury. The last step in the grooming of your cat involved their dental care. Many cats suffer from plaque buildup and it can become quite a serious health problem. In order to avoid this you need to try cleaning your cat’s teeth.


Of course this might not be fully appreciated by your feline friend, but you need to wipe the cat’s teeth with a baking soda and water mixture. The only other way to ensure that your cat’s teeth get the attention that they need is to have your veterinarian look at their teeth and possibly perform a dental cleaning on them as well.



Traveling With Your Feline Companion

Some cats enjoy traveling where others do not; it really depends on your cat’s personality. Traveling can either be an easy or difficult task when you have your cat in tow. There are different ways that you can travel and there are also different things that you need to consider with each mode of transportation.


Traveling by plane can be quite tricky if your cat hates flying. You might have the option of having them on the plane with you or having to send them below into an air conditioned cargo area especially designed for pet travel. Some airlines allow you to take your cat along in a carrier that can fit below the seat in front of you. You need to specifically ask the airline if this is an option or not, plus you need to consider if your cat will fit into such a carrier.


If this practice is not allowed you will need to have your cat in a carrier and check them into the cargo area. If you plan on traveling with your cat you need to make your reservation far in advance and inform the airline that you will be traveling with a cat. You also have to make sure that your carrier fits the criteria of the airline. You might even be able to have your cat sedated for the flight time frame by your veterinarian to make travel a little easier.


If your cat likes to go on car trips with you, then traveling a long distance by car is going to be a piece of cake. On the other hand if they detest it, it might not be the most enjoyable trip. Either way, you need to make sure that your cat is ready to travel with you. First, you definitely need a cat carrier when you are driving to help keep your cat safe and so you won’t become distracted while you drive.


You also need to make sure your cat has their collar on with their identification tag on it. If your cat doesn’t like the car, you might want to try getting them used to it in advance by taking your cat out for short trips around the block or down the street. Before you leave on your trip, you need to make sure to pack your cat’s bag as well as your own.


You need to make sure that you have their bowls, food, medication, litter box, litter, cat bed, cat toys, and some sort of scratching post so they don’t tear up the room wherever you are going. If your cat absolutely freaks out when you put them in the car, you might need to come up with another plan for your cat while you are away



Not Bringing Your Cat On The Trip

If you have the cat that freaks out whenever you try to travel by plane or by car, you will probably have to come up with a different plan. You can choose to leave your cat with friends, at home, or in a boarding place. Whatever you choose will probably depend largely on your cat and their attitudes and ability to adapt. A boarding place will allow you to leave your cat in a place where they will be taken care of.


Unfortunately not all pet boarding facilities are a great place to leave your pet, so you will have to do a lot of careful research before just dropping off your cat. A friend or family member might take in your cat so they can take care of all your cat’s needs while you are gone. You can also choose to leave your cat at home if you will only be gone a short time, or have a cat sitter stay at your home with your cat.


Don’t ask just anyone, make sure they can be trusted, and make sure to leave them with a list of things such as what food to feed them, when to feed them, when to clean the litter box, and any emergency numbers as well. For some, this might end up being the best option for their cat.

We hope this entry turns out to be useful for you. Please feel encouraged to say hello – we’ll be happy to help with any questions you might have, and if you’d like to comment on our site, products or service, we’d love to hear from you!

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