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October 23, 2014

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.

Cat Aggression

Petting induced aggression

There are many flavors of aggression, caused by a variety of triggers. One common aggression that seems to come out of left field is petting induced aggression. It usually occurs when devoted cat people are having special moments with their cats, petting, stroking and cuddling. Suddenly “out of nowhere” their beloved cats turns, bites and sometimes scratches. The physical and emotional damage can be painful. Along with bites and scratches, the victims often take the aggression personally. It just doesn’t make sense to cat-parents why their cats, who they are so bonded to, suddenly hurt them.

The cat isn’t being bad, nor does the cat have a sudden vendetta against her person. Petting induced aggression usually occurs when being stroked and touched becomes unpleasant for the cat. The cat may have a sensitive spot or the stroking may become too intense for her. Or, she may be falling asleep and suddenly is startled awake. In the majority of cases, the cat does try to communicate through her body language that she’s had enough. Unfortunately, most people don’t catch on to her subtle hints. When all other endeavors at communication fail, the cat uses a direct approach that is immediately understood—she bites or scratches.

Avoid being a victim of petting induced aggression by first learning to recognize the warnings. Cats communicate through body language and sometimes through vocalizations when they’ve had enough handling and petting. When cats have had their fill they often communicate their wishes by thrashing their tails, positioning their ears back, flattening whiskers against their face, tenseness and fur rippling. If these subtle messages are ignored, cats will look quickly at the hand that is petting them and then will bite it.

The next step to avoid being a victim of petting induced aggression is simple. As soon as the cat communicates her discomfort at being handled, stop interacting with her. After a time out you may be able to carefully pet her again, avoiding the sensitive areas and varying how she is petted.

Post Byte: Scratch & Play

04.15.12 A toy that cats love combines playing and scratching. The toy has a flat, circular cardboard scratcher in the center which is surrounded by a plastic channel, open from the top which contains a ping-pong ball.

Cat Byte: Choose the Right Scratching Posts

04.08.12 When searching for perfect scratching posts for your cat, look for scratchers with solid bases that won’t fall over in the middle of a scratching session. Also, because cats love to stretch while scratching, find posts that are tall enough for the cat to have a satisfying full-length stretch.

No Excuse for Not Taking the Cat to the Veterinarian! Financial Assistance for Vet Bills

I love writing the monthly cat behavior column for Cat Fancy Magazine and the weekly ones for catchannel.com, Cat Fancy Magazines web presence. Readers send me questions to answer—I receive many… the majority of the questions are good questions, sent by people who are devoted cat people, who want the best for their cats. Occasionally readers will send questions that are really concerning. Thankfully they are rare.

On Monday, I received an alarming e-mail from a catchannel.com reader. Five days later, and the e-mail still haunts me. I can’t get it out of my mind. The e-mail inspired me to write an article that my editor at catchannel.com titled Financial Assistance for Cat Vet Costs. It was posted today.

I usually don’t blog about articles I write. This one is an exception because it includes a list of resources that were compiled by another concerned cat lover. It is a list of resources for people who are financially challenged and cannot afford the steep veterinary bills. It’s a good list… and I really appreciate the person who originally did the research and put it together.

I urge you to surf on over and check out the article and if you’re inspired, to comment.

Scottish Fold cats are reading