Tag Archives: Behavior

Cats, firecrackers, and fireworks

Happy early birthday, Switzerland ! On Tuesday, August 1st, we’ll celebrate your 726 years !

Unfortunately for us, humans adore celebrating noisily this kind of event : music and fireworks won’t be lacking.

fireworks

Image Pixabay

Cats, firecrackers, and fireworks

We hate as much the noise as the vibrations caused by these things. Some cats appreciate the fireworks show from the cosy inside of their apartment, but they are rare. Most of them (and us with them !) is going to hide under the bed, or in a cupboard, or where they feel safe.

What to do with your cat during the national holiday ?

If your cat goes out, keep him inside to prevent him from running away. Close windows to damp the noise, and lower blinds or close curtains, or better, shutters. Turn on the television or put some music to have a background noise. The ideal is to stay with your cat and to attend calmly to your usual activities. Bach Rescue Pets drops can be useful. We also know that calming treats are available on open sale in some countries, but we didn’t find it in Switzerland.

If you already know that your cat will be really very put under stress, anticipate and consult your veterinarian : he can prescribe you a light tranquilizer and advise you.
Cats, firecrackers, and fireworks

Why does my cat play with his prey ?

Our humans learnt as toddlers not to play with food, but us, cats, learnt exactly the opposite with our mom : you’ll see, there are several reasons for it.

PIXIE : This day, I was very proud, because I had caught this bird alone ; Zorro watched my activity by far, but did not intervene. When Claire took photos, I had already begun my dance of victory.

Why does my cat play with his prey ?

cat playing with a prey 1

Because he does not know how to kill her

An indoor cat since several generations has doubtless never seen another cat killing a mouse or a bird previously. He will play to hunt and to catch a toy in movement, and will be thus capable of catching a real prey, but might not know how to kill her because he has never learnt how to do it.
cat playing with a prey 2

Because he wants to be able to kill his prey easily and in complete safety

Cats capture and immobilize their prey with their claws, then kill it by a bite in the nape of the neck which splits her spinal cord. To do it, the cat has temporarily to release his prey from his claws and approach his snout. When his snout is at a distance of no more than a whisker of the prey, the cat cannot see her any more, and he is at risk of a wound to eyes, nose, or mouth. Any prey will seize the slightest opportunity to run away or to defend fiercely her life by bitting (rodents) or by pricking (birds).

What humans take for a game is in fact an instinctive way for the cat to tire and to disorientate a prey : pawing her, throwing her in the air, catching her up, and beginning again… But if the cat is too much in a hurry and approaches too early his snout to bite, he risks to be hurt.

Often, the game breaks off : the cat goes away a little and seems to lose interest in his prey. He is in fact verifying that he can deliver the fatal bite. Indeed, it happens that a prey plays the dead, or does the exhausted animal : if the prey tries to escape, the cat will be near enough to catch her up, and the game will start again, until he is sure that he can kill his prey in complete safety.
cat playing with a prey 3

Because it is funny

Playing is also a way to relieve the tension of the hunting.
cat playing with a prey 4
PIXIE : I don’t know how to kill ; when I saw that my bird was ready, I gave it to Zorro so that he kills it and eats it. My mom taught me that you should not waste food, and I believe it’s a rule that we have in common with our humans, am I right ?

The kitten’s development 2/2

The phases of the kitten’s development

The phases of the kitten’s development about which we’re talking today are the phase of socialization and the puberty ; the prenatal phase and the neonatal phase are presented to you in a previous article.

The phase of socialization

This period, which goes from the 2-3rd week to the 7-9th week, is a key period : it conditions all the life to come of the kitten.

The kitten learns first that he’s a cat : it’s the imprinting process. He recognizes his congeners by being next them. Even an orphan kitten can imprint as far as it has the opportunity to spend time with other grown-up cats. Contrary to the habituation or to the socialization with other species, the imprinting process is a long-lasting learning which does not require to be maintained throughout the cat’s life. The kitten also learns to communicate and to interact by following the life’s rules of cats.
Pixie mai 2014
Towards 21 days, his sense of smell allows him to locate the place for elimination, which is taken away from the nest. The kitten is physically capable of relieve himself by himself, and he observes how does her mother : he becomes clean.

Depending on the environment in which he lives, the kitten learns that there are “friendly species” with which he can communicate and interact : humans, dogs, …

Now that he can see, hear, and move, he can explore his environment. He learns to adapt himself to diverse situations and to react to diverse hearing, visual, olfactive, or tactile stimulations.
exploration
His new motive skills allow him to play from the 2nd week. The game allows the kitten to learn self-controls : control of his strength and his movements, and capacity to play without biting and without claws. Milk teeth appear at about 4 weeks : the cat strongly reprimands his kitten if he plays to nibble her tail or her ears, or if he hurts her by sucking. When kittens play together, the bites or the scratches provoke cries of pain and sometimes the stopping of the game. The mother can also intervene to calm all those little guys so that kittens learn to control themselves.

From the end of the phase of socialization to the beginning of the puberty, the kitten continues his learnings.
Pixie septembre 2014

The phase of puberty

As for humans, there are hormonal modifications that pull physical and physiological modifications. The genital glands become functional, the kitten develops still physically and gains weight, the behavior differs between males and females, urinary marking and the first estrus appears at this moment. Depending on the cat breed and the environment in which he evolves, the puberty arises between 4 and 18 months. Thus it’s better to be early enough all eyes !

Thus a large number of obstacles appears on the way of the harmonious development of an orphan kitten : we dedicate an unlimited admiration for all the humans who accompany orphan kittens on this long way, and help them to become cats feeling good about their life.

What’s next ?

Our kitten is grown-up soon ; he is going to keep learning (or to forget some not maintained learnings) throughout his life.
Pixie adulte

Sources :
Philippe Bocion «Le développement du comportement du chat» (training)
Valérie Dramard «Le comportement du chat» (book)
Thanks to our friend Alexandra for the photo of the kittens born at night from 30 to 31 March 2017.