All my life I have gained much pleasure from my friends with fur. If you have shared this experience, ask yourself what it is about a cat’s character that makes him so special? What traits add up to “catness”? What happens in that furry head to make him act as he does? Here is a look at what goes on in the mind of your cat.
THE POWER OF THE PURR
When your cat relaxes on your lap and commences to get his whirring motor going — that captivating purr — you know he is happy or content. Somehow, the sound often creates a similar response in us. We may find ourselves feeling relaxed and contented as well.
The animal’s purr serves other purposes for the cat. If he is sick or injured, he may purr to sooth himself. Scientists have recently discovered that purring may promote healthy bone growth and accelerated healing.
A CAT’S NOSE IS HIS DAILY NEWSPAPER
One of the cat’s most powerful ways to learn about another living creature is through scent. For example, a nose sniff might be said to represent an opening conversation without words.
In the Feline Brain Computer there is undoubtedly a large file marked “scent identity.” In it are all the different odors a cat might smell and recognize. This file probably has more entries than the list of Eskimo words for “snow”.
Scent is used to learn about a new cat in the neighborhood, to define territory, create a bond of friendship, alert a lover, or perhaps to self-soothe.
Your cat can leave information for other animals by depositing his scent in many places. He has scent-making glands in the anus, the chin, the forehead, in front of his ears, in his paws and at the tip of his tail.
SOME OTHER FORMS OF CAT COMMUNICATION
Of course, your cat is undoubtedly very good at letting you know when it is time for his meal. His meow, sometimes unending until he gets what he wants, will serve as a vocal reminder that it is dinnertime.
Observe your cat, and note when and why he meows. Except for aggressive yowling when preparing for battle, he saves his meows for you. Since we can’t understand his unspoken forms of communication very well, and since our nose is not as talented as his, he resorts to conversing with us through his meow.
Body language is another form of communication between the cat and another animal. He can transmit a great deal of information through movement of the eyes, ears, or tail, and by body position. Aggression is easy to spot. If his temper reaches volcanic proportions, his hair stands on end, the tail might form an upward loop, and the walk can be stiff-legged.
ADDITIONAL UNIQUE CAT TRAITS
A very common characteristic is kneading — what my mother called “making biscuits”. Kneading is the cat’s way of recalling babyhood, when he kneaded his mother’s breast to get milk.
As a full-grown cat, he uses kneading to relax before sleep, or sometimes to express satisfaction or contentment. Has your furry feline ever kneaded your knee with great enthusiasm? If this is the case, you might do whatever it takes to curb his ardor.
Cats are problem-solvers. They observe and then imitate our behavior. Perhaps their innate sense of curiosity is at work here. They see us do something, so they try it out themselves to see if they find it satisfying.
They also like to bring us gifts, partly to demonstrate their successful hunting skills and partly to give back something to us, as we are their “family.” My cats have brought me many assorted gifts over the years. The list includes mice, voles, shrews, rats, living and dead squirrels, a live bat, a young raven, also very much alive, and many small birds. These had often already been dispatched to “Bird Heaven”, though I disapproved of such behavior. To make me happy, they often brought in live birds, then turned them loose so we could both enjoy catching them again.
YOUR AMAZING CAT
I wish to share with you some gifts that remind me of my furry friends . You will find books, calendars, journals, and assorted whimsical creations that may give you cause to remember why you love that rascally cat!
I hope that you will share with me, too. The cantankerous cat lady would like to hear your unusual cat stories. If you have questions you would like answered, ask away. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does.
6 thoughts on “Friends With Fur Have Filled My Life With Joy”
Great post. My kitty has been with me for two years now and is a focal part of my life. She is so well behaved, and very clean. She loves to go for rides in my truck also. I love that part! Never thought I would fall in love with a kitty so much, but so glad I have her.
Thanks, Brad. They do have a way of stealing your heart. I think our kitties get to know us and figure out what we most need from them. They are very astute creatures. Take good care of that fur baby!
My grandfather really loves his pet cat. He kind of fits the stereotype of old people who love cats. I’ve never known a cat; the only pets I’ve known are dogs (though I’ve pet some rabbits).
The more I read about cats, the more curious I get about them. It seems that many cats are more personable than their quiet appearance would have us think.
“Their nose is their newspaper.” I laughed. I thought, The Daily Nose.
Dogs and cats are strikingly different — yet strikingly similar. Cats and dogs both depend on scent as much as humans depend on sight.
I didn’t know that cats meow mainly toward humans. For them, it must seem a little like speaking a foreign language. (I would love to find some scientific studies.)
When cats bring us “gifts”, their animal instincts can feel surprisingly human. Our cats can’t understand that we really don’t want them killing the birds in our yard. Mice, on the other hand, are pests we want to control. Their noses allow them to see things we would never see.
Hi, Michael! I loved “The Daily Nose.” Very clever!
Your comments are great, and much appreciated. You know, you can find some scientific stuff online. It might make interesting research for you. I have known cats all my life, and am still learning. If you come across some interesting stuff, share with me.
I guess one reason why a cat’s eyesight isn’t better is that he has other attributes that make up for that lack. I just published a book about one of my cats that compares their talents and skills with ours. I think you’d enjoy it, and find it interesting. Eventually I will sell it on this site. Be watching for it.
This is such an interesting site. I don’t have any cats now but I have had two in the past. One was amazing, such a lovely cat. Loved people and truly become part of the family. The other was a barn cat we adopted. It was difficult, to say the least. Do you know anything about barn cats? Why it seemed to shun people? Be unfriendly?
I really have a greater appreciation for cats now after reading the section on unique cat traits such as bringing us gifts. I always thought they were natural hunters but bringing us gifts is an entirely unique perspective for me.
I will certainly frequent your website if I need a gift for my cat loving friends!
Thank-you for sharing.
Thanks for the nice reply, Devan. Yes, they do like to bring us gifts. I think my cat thought I ate his “presents” in my tacos. They were about the right size. The adopted barn cat was probably difficult to domesticate because it is actually one step above feral. (I call them the serfs of catdom.) Because they have never really lived with humans, especially during their younger, bonding time, they just can’t quite seem to make the change, and never truly become domesticated. I raised two feral kittens who got so they accepted me and were loving and playful, but always skittish and easily frightened. It’s just due to how they grew up. I do hope you come again to visit. You’ll find many new and interesting bits of catly information.