Why do cats do that? A look inside feline minds

| 21 Feb 2012 | 07:11

    Cesar Millan is our expert on “dog psychology.” TV psychic Sylvia Browne reveals secrets of good health and great relationships. Victims of crime speak to Allison Dubois, the psychic hero of the hit show “Medium.” What we’re missing is a cat psychic. A seething hiss or a peaceful purr tells us when our cats are mad or happy. But just what are our enigmatic felines thinking, and why do they do the things they do? One way to gain answers into their world, is to pay attention to their body language, habits and behavior. Dog domestication began 15,000 years ago. Cats? Only half as long ago. Housecat behavior continues to reflect their wild origins. Some cats think that “night time is the right time” for fun and games. In the wild, cats are the most energetic during twilight hours, prime time to hunt for small birds and rodents. To conserve energy, they sleep 12 to 16 hours during the day, taking numerous “cat naps.” To keep your pet sleeping through the night, give your cat stimulation during daytime hours, especially an hour or two before bedtime. Play, such as chasing a toy mouse on a string, helps to tire your cat and alter his natural sleep cycle. Anyone with a cat knows that felines have the natural instinct to dig and bury their urine and feces. A 2007 study published in Science affirms that house cats are descended from a group of self-domesticating desert wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica). It’s no surprise that our cats prefer to bury their feces in sandy places. So if your cat avoids the litter box, switch to a litter that is softer and resembles sand, yet contains no chemicals or fragrances. Also, keep the litter box clean and in a quiet place where your cat feels safe. If your cat is fond of high places, that, too, is natural. In the wild, height gives cats an observation point and sense of security, allowing them to hunt their prey out of site and away from predators. Cat towers and window seats help housecats satisfy this yearning for height. Dogs wag their tails when they’re excited, but do you ever wonder why cats swish their tales? One, to entrance and distract prey, and two, to balance before leaping. A gentle wagging of the tail can mean that your cat is in deep concentration and vigorous thrashing can communicate anger or annoyance.