Why Do Cats Roll Over Into Their Backs But Not Let You Touch Their Bellies?
It’s common knowledge dogs love to have their tummies rubbed when they freely lay down before you and roll onto their backs. But, if you’re also familiar with cats, you know that when they roll onto their backs with their bellies exposed, rubbing the belly will most likely result in bleeding. So why do they do this? An expression of trust Cat behaviorists will likely answer that it’s a sign of trust when cats roll over and expose their bellies. That is true, indeed. But is it also a request to rub their bellies? The fact that your cat exposes
4 Ways to Know if Your Cat Thinks You’re Her Mom
Have you ever wondered if your cat thinks you’re her mom? TikTok user @gatofather breaks down the top 4 ways you can tell: @gatofather Does your cats do those things? #cat #fyp ♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery – Dante9k Remix – David Snell “Did you know your cat thinks you’re their mom if they do these things? 1. If they make biscuits on you. Kittens need their mom’s belly to stimulate milk, and your cat finds the same comfort on you as their own mom. 2. If they sleep with you. In the wild, cats are vulnerable when they sleep, but they feel much safer when they sleep next to their mom. 3. If they respond to their names when you call them. Cats have 64 muscles in their ears just to ignore humans unless you’re their mom. As most kittens talk to their mom for attention. 4. If they show their butt to your face. Cat moms lick their newborn kittens butts to help them poop easily. As a natural predator, exposing their behind is dangerous unless they trust you 100% like their mom. But you don’t have to lick it, though.”
Recent Study Finds Cats Have At Least 276 Distinct Facial Expressions
The stereotype of cats as distant and mysterious animals has been challenged by a recent discovery: cats possess at least 276 distinct facial expressions, shedding light on their capacity for emotional expression and communication. This unexpected finding goes against the common belief that cats are unresponsive and uninterested in human interactions. It suggests that these various expressions have developed over thousands of years of domestication, resulting from the intricate communication between humans and cats. Our extensive history with cats has fueled a growing interest in deciphering their emotions. Brittany Florkiewicz, a comparative and evolutionary psychologist from Lyon College in Arkansas, led a groundbreaking study to explore this further. The study builds on previous research that primarily examined facial signals in cats during interactions with humans or when experiencing pain. Florkiewicz’s study, however, delves deeper by investigating how cats communicate with each other and with humans. What better place to investigate than a cat cafe? Florkiewicz and her colleague Lauren Scott, co-principal investigator in her lab, spent 150 hours observing 53 domestic shorthair cats at the CatCafe Lounge in Los Angeles, California. This nonprofit shelter allows visitors to interact with up to 30 cats available for potential adoption. Their observations revealed an array of expressions, combining eye, ear, and lip movements. Surprisingly, the majority of these expressions conveyed friendliness rather than aggression. Some familiar expressions, like forward-pointing ears and whiskers with closed eyes, indicated friendliness. However, some expressions, such as what the researchers termed “play face,” featuring forward ears and whiskers with the corners of the mouth pulled back, lacked obvious meanings. Notably, while signifying anticipation of a treat, a lip lick could take on an unfriendly tone when combined with narrowed pupils and flattened ears. Whisker orientation proved surprisingly revealing, with content or joyful cats typically pointing their whiskers forward. Back in the lab, the team employed the Facial Action Coding System (CatFACS) for a more detailed analysis. CatFACS allowed trained observers to identify even the subtlest muscle movements. Each movement called an “action unit,” was meticulously documented and assigned a number using the video software ELAN. This approach facilitated creating and editing a video timeline capable of discerning expressions down to the millisecond. This meticulous analysis uncovered 26 distinct muscle movements that, in various combinations, yielded an astonishing 276 facial expressions. These expressions were categorized as 46% friendly, 37% unfriendly, and 17% falling into both categories. This detailed examination of facial expressions has unveiled nuanced meanings akin to distinguishing between genuine and forced smiles in humans. Although both involve smiling, subtle differences, such as eye movements, can indicate whether the smile is authentic. While many feline expressions have been decoded, some remain enigmatic. The research team plans to conduct follow-up studies to decipher these mysterious signals fully. The process of domestication has enriched the spectrum of social interactions among cats of the same species. Domesticated felines are known to engage in a diverse range of social behaviors, encompassing both non-affiliative interactions and a plethora of affiliative behaviors. These affiliative
New Study Suggests Cats Respond to Owner’s Baby Talk
Most of us can’t resist adopting a baby-like tone when communicating with our feline friends. We raise our voices, elongate our vowels, and ask repetitive questions like, “Whooo’s a good boy?” or “Whooo’s a pretty kitty?” Studies have shown that dogs tend to appreciate this “caregiver speech” and pay more attention when spoken to in this manner. Research has uncovered that cats also respond to this baby talk, but there’s a twist: they do so primarily when their owner is the one doing the talking. This finding adds weight to the idea that cats, like dogs, may form bonds with their human companions akin to infants’ relationships with their caregivers. Charlotte de Mouzon, an ethologist at Paris Nanterre University, embarked on this research journey due to a lack of studies on cat behavior in France. As a former cat behaviorist, she decided to delve into cat-human communication during her Ph.D. research. First, de Mouzon confirmed something many cat owners already know: we tend to use baby talk when addressing our feline pals, a habit she confesses to. But do cats, like dogs, genuinely react more positively to this ‘cat-directed speech’? To investigate, de Mouzon recruited 16 cats and their owners, who happened to be students at the Alfort National Veterinary School near Paris. To create a cat-friendly environment, de Mouzon transformed a standard room in the students’ dormitory into an impromptu animal behavior lab equipped with toys, a litter box, and hiding spots. The students brought their cats into this room and remained silent while de Mouzon played a speaker’s recorded phrases. In one set of recordings, each cat heard their owner say five phrases, such as “Do you want to play?” or “Do you want a treat?” The first three phrases were spoken in “adult-directed” speech, imitating how owners converse with other grown-ups. The fourth phrase was delivered in cat-directed speech, while the fifth reverted to adult-directed speech. This experiment aimed to determine if the fourth phrase would capture the cats’ attention. Dogs typically exhibit unmistakable reactions when they hear “dog-directed” speech, like turning their heads or perking up their ears. Cats tend to be more subtle. To gauge their responses, de Mouzon assigned scores based on the cats’ reactions, such as ear movements or slight head turns, ranging from zero to 20, with 20 indicating the strongest reaction to the sound. As the cats heard their owners’ first three phrases in adult-directed speech, their reactions gradually declined, with an average score dropping from 13 to four. However, when de Mouzon played the fourth phrase in cat-directed speech, the cats’ average reaction scores jumped to 14. Their scores then dropped again to around six upon hearing the fifth, adult-directed recording. In contrast, when the same experiment was conducted with a stranger’s voice, the cats’ reaction scores started high (around 15) but failed to recover, dropping to about five, even when the stranger used cat-directed speech. On the other hand, dogs tend to perk up even when addressed by strangers,
Tips for Owning a ‘CH Cat’
Cerebellar Hypoplasia, often referred to as CH, is a neurological condition that affects cats and dogs, leading to unsteady movements, tremors, and difficulties in coordination, reminiscent of ataxic cerebral palsy in humans. Cats with CH frequently experience challenges with balance and may even struggle to walk altogether. Notably, CH in cats is non-progressive, which means it does not worsen with age. The primary cause of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in cats is typically the mother contracting the Panleukopenia virus during pregnancy. If the virus is transmitted to the kittens towards the end of gestation, they may be born with CH. Importantly, kittens with CH are neither infected with nor carriers of the Panleukopenia virus; it simply hinders the growth of their cerebellum in the womb. Additionally, trauma or malnutrition during gestation can also trigger Cerebellar Hypoplasia. Unfortunately, many veterinarians and rescue professionals remain unaware of CH, leading to the unfortunate premature euthanization of many CH-afflicted cats before receiving a proper diagnosis. It’s essential to understand that cats with CH do not experience pain and can lead entirely normal, happy, and healthy lives. They have a standard life expectancy and do not pose any risk of contagion to other animals or humans. Cats with CH tend to adapt to their condition over time, requiring varying degrees of additional care depending on the severity of their symptoms. While they may be more susceptible to accidental injuries, they can still thrive with proper support and care. The comic artists of Chaos Life shared their tips for adopting a cat with CH based on their experience with their own cat with CH, ‘Nix’: Tips for Owning a Cat With CH: “Cats with GH are often unaware of their condition, so always provide easy ways for your CH cat to climb up and don from favorite, safe surfaces, or they will find their own way to get to where they want to go.” “Cats with CH often need wide, flat dishes for food and water because they tend to ‘peck’ at their food. Those with mild to moderate CH will often bob their heads as they eat or drink as a way to locate the food/water and maintain their balance. Dishes that are too deep run the risk of spilling or being fallen into, which will startle your cat and trigger a frantic reaction not unlike a jumping bean covered in needles. No one likes needle-beans, so keep their bowls shallow, low, and stable. Also use stainless steel — plastic loves bacteria.”
The Tale of the US Capitol’s ‘Demon Cat’
As Halloween approaches, now is a good time to learn about the legend of the ‘demon cat’ said to haunt the U.S. Capitol. The story of this spooky feline traces its origins back to 1898 when D.C.-based journalist Rene Bache penned an account of ghostly apparitions associated with the Capitol building. In his writings, Bache described the ‘feline spook’ as a creature that mysteriously transformed from an ordinary-sized cat into an elephantine behemoth before the eyes of onlookers. He claimed this phantom feline had been terrorizing congressmen and others within the Capitol since 1862. Origins Historically, there were many individuals present at the Capitol who might have witnessed such an enigmatic cat. During the early years of the Civil War, Union soldiers occupied both the House and Senate chambers, guarding against potential Confederate attacks. Later in the year, the Capitol was converted into a makeshift hospital for wounded troops. It’s plausible that cats did reside in the Civil War-era Capitol. During that period, cats were commonly kept to control the rat population, which thrived due to the 20 large ovens in the basement producing 10,000 rations daily to feed the soldiers. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Did You Know? (@didyouknowblog) 1904 The legend may also have been spread by Capitol Police officers responsible for nightly patrols. At the time, these officers were tasked with capturing stray animals on Capitol grounds. According to Samuel Holliday, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s director of scholarship, such instances included lassoing stray horses in 1904 and apprehending 31 dogs in 1910. Capitol tour guide Steve Livengood suggested that an inebriated guard might have initiated—and perpetuated—the tale to get a day off. 1935 Regardless of its origins, the legend of the demon cat continued to grow over the years. In 1935, a Capitol policeman claimed he had fired his weapon at a large black cat, claiming the cat had “the generous proportions of Mae West plus the disposition of Bela Lugosi.” By this time, believers speculated that the phantom cat, with eyes resembling headlights, could also be found at the White House. Current Day Today, the most significant piece of evidence in favor of the Demon Cat’s existence is a set of feline footprints etched into the cement floor of the Small Senate Rotunda near the entrance to the Old Supreme Court Chamber. While the Architect of the Capitol attributes these paw prints to the rat-catching cats once present in the building, believers of the Demon Cat myth beg to differ. They argue that the footprints only emerged after the rotunda suffered near-destruction in an 1898 explosion, which they attribute to the evil cat, despite official records blaming a gas explosion. These believers also contend that the initials D.C. carved into the same floor stand for Demon Cat. Though these footprints and initials have been carefully preserved within the Capitol for historical record, there have been no recent sightings of the Demon Cat, as reported by Steve Livengood in 2018.
What Your Favorite Type of Cat Says About You According to This TikTok Creator
The TikTok user @twistedwhiskertupelo runs a cat cafe in Tupelo, MS, so it’s no surprise that she spends a lot of time around cats and cat people. With this aggregate of knowledge, she feels quite confident in determining what your favorite type of cat says about you: Tabby “Starting off with a classic. You probably have a homestead, or at least you want one. I don’t know, maybe you’ve got some chickens already. You’ve also probably got a husband named Jim who only shows his love for you by biannually barbecuing you some hamburgers that are a little overcooked. You appreciate the sentiment, though.” Orange “If this is your favorite, I just want to ask: when was the last time that you took a bite out of the package and threw the food away? This is a safe space.” Grey / Grey Tabby “If you have a kid, you’re probably raising them Montessori style. If you don’t have a kid, you have way too many house plants. You’ve probably painted an antique piece of furniture white and then weathered it.” Nakey “If this is your favorite, there’s only one thing I know about you and it is that we are not in the same tax bracket.” White “You’re either going to be the best person I know. We’re the worst person I know. There’s not really going to be any in-between. I can appreciate that you have a cohesive aesthetic, though. But if I went to your house, I’d probably have an ADHD meltdown at the lack of visual stimulation. It’s okay to have a rug.” Black and White “You have a tenuous grip on your mental health at best. Baby, I’m not sure who hurt you, but I’m sorry that they did. Luckily, being crazy means you’re kind of a ride-or-die friend, and people like that, so perks, I guess.” Black “You think that you’re hard, but let’s be real. This thing is registered as an emotional support animal.” Calico “If this is your favorite, you’re either a 7-year-old girl or a 92-year-old lady. If not in age, then at least in spirit. If you’re confused what side of the spectrum you’re on, just look around you. Is there a discarded craft somewhere nearby? We know which side you’re on.” Tortie “You like women. This is the Subaru of cats. Whether or not you’ve admitted that to yourself is between you and your god.” Dilute Calico / Dilute Tortie “You’re probably the mom friend. What’s it like to be well-adjusted? I wouldn’t know. You’re healthy? You’re hydrated? Oh, cool. You have a good relationship with your parents? I didn’t even know that was possible.” Garbage Cat “You’re here for vibes and vibrations, and I respect that. Sometimes you can be a bit passive, and maybe people walk all over you, but you really don’t care.” “And if you’re about to say that all of them are your favorite, Congrats on being original.” If you’re looking for more unhinged cat content
Ensuring the Well-being of All Cats: Stray, Feral, and ‘Outdoor Cats’
Like our canine companions, cats that roam outdoors without supervision are exposed to many risks, including traffic accidents, confrontations with other animals, human cruelty, and diseases. Sadly, some cat owners fail to grasp the importance of engaging with their cats, offering meaningful interactions, and providing them with a stimulating indoor environment, resulting in a bored cat who looks to the outdoors for fulfillment. Responsible pet guardianship involves safeguarding our animal friends from the dangers they face when unattended outdoors. If you wish for your feline companion to enjoy a long, healthy life, the best course of action is to ensure their safety indoors with you. Life Expectancy of an ‘Outdoor Cat’ Indoor cats typically live to be about 12 to 20 years old, while outdoor cats often do not make it past five years. For outdoor cats, traffic accidents are the most common cause of premature death. However, there are many other dangers they must contend with. Some people do not want cats in their yards due to concerns over urination, defecation, digging, plant damage, or predation on birds and wildlife. Unfortunately, these individuals may resort to harming outdoor cats. Furthermore, outdoor cats face an elevated risk of contracting various diseases. Feline leukemia, feline AIDS, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), toxoplasmosis, distemper, and rabies are challenging to detect, not to mention, in the case of FIP and distemper, impossible to test for. Some diseases are highly contagious and can quickly spread to other pets. ‘Outdoor Cats’ and Wildlife Allowing cats to roam freely outdoors is also unfair to local wildlife. Cats are invasive, non-native predators. While your cat may occasionally bring home a mouse or bird, this likely represents only a fraction of the animals they have hunted. Studies have shown that cats with video cameras around their necks kill an average of 2.1 animals each week but bring home less than one out of every four. Research by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute estimates that free-roaming cats kill 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals per year in the United States. Are ‘Outdoor Cats’ Happier? Cats are happier and healthier when they are safe and live indoors. If your cat is eager to explore the outdoors, you can provide supervised outdoor experiences, such as walks on a leash with a well-fitted cat harness. However, not all cats will adapt to a harness and leash. Consider providing a window perch or a catio (a cat patio) in such cases. Cat Fence-In Barrier Kits, flexible mesh barriers atop privacy fences, can also help keep your feline friends secure in your yard. Should I Let My Cat Outside? We strongly encourage everyone to prioritize the safety and well-being of their companion cats by keeping them indoors, except when supervised outdoors with a harness and leash or within a designated catio. Our animal companions depend on us to ensure their safety and happiness. What to Do if You Encounter a Stray, Homeless, or Feral Cat The streets are not a suitable environment for cats.
How Chicken Eggs May Be a Solution for Cat Allergies
Cat allergies, characterized by sneezing, itching, and runny eyes and nose, are often triggered by cat dander, which harbors allergens. Surprisingly, these allergens are minuscule, about one-tenth the size of dust allergens, making them even smaller than pollen, mold, or dust mites. What makes matters worse is that once disturbed, cat dander becomes airborne, lingering in the environment for hours after you’ve interacted with your feline friend. No wonder friends with cat allergies may avoid your home. Recent research suggests a novel approach to alleviate these allergies, potentially bringing relief to millions worldwide—not through the allergy sufferers but rather through dietary changes for the cats themselves. The primary allergen responsible for the allergic reactions is Fel d1, a protein primarily found in cat saliva. Cats transfer this allergen to their fur and dander during grooming; when you pet them or use a brush, the allergen is released into the environment, perpetuating the cycle of allergies. It turns out, when a chicken is exposed to this allergen, they naturally produce an anti-Fel d1 antibody, known as polyclonal egg IgY antibodies, which they pass along to their eggs. Scientists have significantly reduced active Fel d1 levels at their source: the cat’s saliva. They’ve harnessed natural allergen-antibody interactions by binding Fel d1 to an anti-Fel d1 antibody in chicken eggs. This binding process reduces the levels of Fel d1 in a cat’s saliva, thus decreasing the active allergen that enters the environment through grooming. In an experimental study, cats were fed a diet containing this egg product with the IgY antibody. The results were promising, with 97% of the cats showing decreased levels of active Fel d1 on their hair and dander. On average, there was a 47% reduction in active Fel d1 on their fur after three weeks on this special diet. If this approach proves effective, it could be a game-changer for cat allergy sufferers. Individuals can keep their beloved cats without using immunotherapy or allergy shots. However, it’s essential to note that this is a more complex DIY solution. Merely feeding your cat chicken eggs won’t address the issue because anti-Fel d1 IgY antibodies don’t naturally occur in chicken eggs. Researchers exposed chickens to Fel d1 protein, prompting them to produce antibodies and lay eggs containing the anti-Fel d1 IgY antigen. When these eggs were incorporated into cat food, the anti-Fel d1 antibodies neutralized Fel d1 in the cat’s saliva. As the cats groomed themselves, the antigen adhered to their fur. Could a person with cat allergies protect themselves by consuming eggs containing anti-Fel d1 IgY? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Even if such eggs existed, they wouldn’t effectively neutralize allergic reactions because the IgY antibodies wouldn’t spread to the necessary areas, such as the cat’s dander. Additionally, these antibodies are rapidly destroyed upon ingestion, making dietary changes ineffective for allergy sufferers.
Cat Safe Halloween Decorations
You may have invested considerable time and effort in creating the perfect Halloween ambiance for your festivities, but have you considered the safety of your feline friend amid the spooky décor? Halloween decorations can harbor hidden dangers for your cat and other animals that might wander into your domain. Here are three vital tips to ensure your cat’s safety: 1. Beware of Candy-Based Decorations Candy centerpieces are increasingly popular additions to Halloween parties. While your candied apples, lollipops, or Jell-O candy creations may look frightfully fantastic, the allure of these goodies can be overwhelming for some cats. Unfortunately, many sweet treats, including candy, contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute. Xylitol can trick your cat’s body into overproducing insulin, causing a sudden and dangerous drop in blood sugar levels. Even a small amount can have catastrophic consequences for your kitty, and these effects can manifest rapidly. If you suspect your pet has ingested Xylitol, seek immediate professional assistance. Additionally, ensure you don’t leave candies on your porch for trick-or-treaters. Your cat, or any passing feline, might find the temptation too hard to resist. 2. Avoid Choking Hazards Pets don’t always possess the best judgment when it comes to discerning what’s edible and safe. Unfortunately, some decorations that appeal to their curiosity can pose choking hazards. Balloons, a popular choice for decorations, can become targets when they pop and resemble treats. Table confetti, another common décor item, may have sharp edges capable of injuring your cat’s mouth or causing blockages if ingested. One of the most perilous Halloween decorations for cats is fake spiderwebs. Available in various forms, these webs can easily ensnare your cat, leading to dangerous entanglement or even strangulation. 3. Choose LED Candles and Fake Flames Candlelight undeniably adds to the eerie atmosphere of Halloween, especially when placed inside pumpkins. However, real flames pose significant risks. Cats don’t comprehend the dangers associated with open flames, and a simple leap onto furniture or a flick of their tail could knock over an unattended candle, potentially causing a fire. Fortunately, there’s now a wide array of “flameless” candles available. These are battery-operated and mimic the appearance of traditional flames without posing any risk to your beloved pet. Lastly don’t forget to always give your decorations the cat test: View this post on Instagram A post shared by Bean & Winston 🐾 (@tabbytails_)
The Black-Footed Cat: Nature’s Most Efficient Hunter
The Black-footed cat may resemble your average domestic feline, but it harbors a remarkable secret – it’s one of the world’s most formidable hunters. But what makes this small wildcat so dangerous? The Black-footed cat, also known as the African black-footed cat, may appear innocuous, resembling a typical domestic tabby cat. They may look cute, but they’re, in fact, a proficient and deadly predator. Remarkably, this unassuming wildcat holds the title of the world’s smallest African wildcat and ranks as one of nature’s most efficient hunters. Their Appearance In terms of appearance, the Black-footed cat closely resembles its household counterparts. Standing at a mere 8 inches tall, measuring 14 to 20 inches in length, and weighing between 2.4 to 4.2 pounds, this wildcat starkly contrasts its more massive relatives, such as lions. Its coat has a light brown hue adorned with dark spots that often merge to form distinctive rings. Interestingly, the only black part of this cat is the sole of its paws, which protects them from scorching ground temperatures. Why is the Black-footed Cat Dangerous? The Black-footed cat’s diminutive size conceals an impressive arsenal of hunting techniques driven by its high metabolism. To satiate their constant hunger, these wildcats have honed their hunting skills to a remarkable degree. They employ three distinct hunting techniques: The Fast Hunt: In this technique, the Black-footed cat darts swiftly through tall grass to catch its small prey. The Slow Hunt: This method requires patience and stealth. The cat approaches its quarry silently and cautiously. The Sit-and-Wait Hunt: Similar to the slow hunt, the cat sits motionless, sometimes even closing its eyes while listening to the sounds of the night. It can remain in this position for hours, waiting for prey to come within striking range. With these varied techniques, the Black-footed cat can successfully capture between 10 to 14 rodents or small birds in a single night, averaging an astonishing kill every 50 minutes. With a success rate of 60 percent, Black-footed cats outperform even lions, which typically succeed in hunting only about 20 to 25 percent of the time. Their Prey The Black-footed cat threatens creatures such as mice, birds, and rabbits. However, humans need not fear these diminutive predators, as they are extremely shy and primarily hunt at night. When driven by extreme hunger, they might occasionally attack larger prey like goats or giraffes, opting to bite the prey’s carotid artery. However, such rare instances occur only when the cat faces dire circumstances. Their Habitat The Black-footed cat inhabits regions of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. They typically make their homes in dry savannah areas, often occupying burrows previously used by other animals. Additionally, they are known to take shelter in abandoned termite mounds, earning them the moniker “ant tigers.” A remarkable aspect of these cats is their minimal need for water, a unique adaptation to their arid habitat. However, they compensate by requiring a relatively sizeable daily food intake, approximately 250 grams of meat, to stay hydrated. Conservation Status