How to maintain a good relationship with a cat

Respecting the animal's personal boundaries and creating a comfortable environment for them is the key to success. kotom-5b5225f.jpg” alt=”How to maintain a good relationship with a cat” />

Felinologist and veterinary assistant Olesya Uspenskaya tells about how to offend cats and when to expect revenge from them.

—Obviously, there are just terrible hosts. It also happens that people and animals do not get along well with each other. Cats pee in slippers, for example. Do they “revenge” for insults?

– People tend to attribute human qualities to cats, and often not the best. How many idiotic demotivators and jokes about the fact that cats are vindictive and harmful? That they are attached not to the owner, but to the house?

I am especially amused by the myth of vindictiveness. In fact, in order to develop and carry out a plan for revenge, it is required to have abstract thinking, which cats do not possess, just like dogs. Their thinking is linear, they live in the moment – here and now. At the same time, they very well remember things that caused pain, stress – in a word, an unpleasant experience. It is only a behavioral pattern that is critical to the survival of the species.

Despite the appearance of a cat, this is a creature with emotions, space and desires that must be respected. There is no behavior in cats for no reason or out of harm – it is always caused by something.

— And yet, how prone are domestic cats to antipathy?

“They tend not to dislike, but generally to stress. The fact is that stability is very important for cats. In general, it is important for all of us and means the same thing – clarity, predictability and security. The place I understand and know is safe. A predictable person who behaves logically is safe.

– In other words, everything that is considered to be manifestations of character is nothing more than a reaction to a stimulus? Can't talk about resentment?

– Right. The same habit of “marking” is, in particular, associated with the manifestation of territoriality. The cat soothes itself by blocking someone else's smell with its own: “It smells like me – I understand that.” Something that can be mistaken for antipathy can be associated either with a specific person or with a situation.

A guest came and sat down in a chair. He might not have known that this was the cat's favorite chair. It turned out that she did not like the smell of a person. It is very likely that the animal will pee on this place and block someone else's smell. If a strong negative is associated with some person – for example, he stepped on a cat in his last visit and hurt her – she can mark his things, because the smell reminds her of the stress she experienced. He worries and annoys her. If he disappears, she will become more comfortable – everything is logical.

A cat may not like the body language, the voice of a person. This is the reason why cats have problems with children. They don't look like humans from a cat's point of view: babies smell, move, and sound differently.

Cats almost always talk to us using body language. And in the same way they read our messages that we voluntarily send them.

In fact, it all depends on the type of nervous system and the strategy of behavior. Most likely, a cat that does not have a pronounced territorial behavior will try to avoid an unwanted guest. If she is a pronounced “territorialist”, it is very possible that she will try to attack in order to drive her out of her territory. But most simply try to avoid the incomprehensible and unpleasant. This is what is called the “avoidance response”.

— How else can people stress a cat?

“Unfortunately, there are many ways. Cats communicate with each other and with us through body language. People use it not always correctly, but cats read our signals anyway. We are used to thinking of cats as something small and harmless, and few people would think that a cat has a personal space that must be respected. Therefore, cats are squeezed, disturbed by a sleeping animal, held in their arms in a way that is unpleasant for him. In addition, imagine the ratio of the size of a cat and a person – how it feels when it is stepped on and hovering over it. The same with strokes. Often people raise their hand from above, and for most cats, even without fear of swinging, this is unpleasant.

How to keep a good relationship with a cat

Many people like to take a fluffy cat by the cheeks and kiss it. And the cat thinks that the person has gone crazy and will eat him now.

Holding the animal in your arms, it is quite possible to bring your face to his muzzle. Moreover, the cat in such a situation, most likely, will rub its cheek. But at the same time, you need to turn your head a little, sideways – this is how we reduce the level of anxiety.

If a cat is not allowed to rest in peace, sooner or later it will begin to avoid people. They generally need high places for observation and recreation. Therefore, I am horrified every time when the apartments are furnished with low furniture and the animal has nowhere to go in such conditions.

Another point that is easy to drive a cat into stress is trying to punish her. It is useless to punish cats. I will say more – it's bad! On the Internet, most often it is advised to stop dominant behavior. To act, they say, as cats do with kittens: take it by the scruff of the neck and raise it to your face. Or vice versa – to press to the ground. In short, to show who is in charge here. However, the only thing the cat will understand is that humans are a dangerous and unpredictable creature to be feared.

Think about it: who does this to a cat? Grabs, throws up? The one who tries to kill her, like a dog. What emotions should a cat feel after this for a person?

Well, how, for example, does a table for a cat differ from another raised horizontal surface? Nothing. Sometimes this is the only such “comfortable” place in the house. If people don't like having a cat on the table, there are plenty of ways to make the place undesirable. However, if the owner swears, the cat will make the only conclusion – do not climb on the table with him. And accordingly, climb in his absence. The owners are surprised: “Well, he understands that it’s impossible!”. How and what does he understand? The animal understands that you do not approve of this. There is no you, there is no object of negativity, so everything is possible.

How to keep a good relationship with a cat

We must not forget that by prohibiting something, we must offer the cat an alternative. If you don't want him to climb on the table, offer him a window sill.

– Where is the line between attributing human qualities to domestic cats and potential harm from this? Comparing human and cat emotions, we come to the conclusion that they are very similar.

– You are absolutely right. Our emotions are almost the same. The only thing is that cats have a simplified range of them. “Compound” emotions, conscience or revenge, are inaccessible to them due to the lack of abstract thinking. But joy, affection, fear, negativity, aggression are their characteristic reactions.

— How are relationships between domestic cats usually built in this case and how to correct them?

– When the youngest cat, Pingwishka, came to me, my Sir Max – a beautiful creature with an indestructible nervous system, a good-natured bumpkin with an underground nickname “Tailed Nanny”, literally adopted him. Pinguy rode Max on his tail, slept on his belly. As a rule, friendly cats have a parent-child relationship. It's funny that their roles can change: now Pinguy has grown up, he still communicates very warmly with Max and cares for him – licking him or bringing rare goodies.

How to keep a good relationship with a cat

In relation to me, cats demonstrate both childish and parental behavior in the same way – to climb under the side, to crush with paws. In a word, care. I can wake up from everyone washing me together or bringing something of high value to my pillow.

If cats do not have a warm relationship, they are often neutral towards each other and coexist peacefully . Cats are very polite creatures, they do not like conflicts and discomfort.

The logic of my animals is this: all the best happens when we are all together. Hand-feeding the most delicious and desirable – only together. We love, stroke, scratch – also together. If someone starts to fight, everyone leaves. Thus, they very quickly realize that it is not profitable for them to swear. No one will benefit from this. This is not a punishment. I just don't like it when cats sort things out in front of me. I am not comfortable. I do not approve of this – I stop giving out what I want and distance myself.

– What should not be done to maintain a good relationship with your cat?

– Do not impose your own society, respect his personal space, respect the right to rest, respond joyfully to any initiative of contact. In addition, it is important to create a comfortable living environment for a domestic cat. Problems in the behavior of cats are often caused by the unfortunate placement of trays and beds. As a felinologist, I help people look at their apartment through the eyes of a cat. At the same time, I do not mean that one should forget about one's own convenience, but a compromise can always be found.