Hello and welcome, two-legged readers, to another post from Lucinda the literate cat. My CCL (Cantankerous Cat Lady) has asked that I tell you about two subjects that create a great impact on a cat’s view of the world: territory and routine.
Yes, you might say our worldview becomes structured by these two vital topics. We build our activities and our days around them.
Importance Of Territory
Territory becomes the first concern. In our infancy, we just explore our immediate sleeping and eating area, close to our mother. It’s not until we become adult cats out on our own that we establish our own territory.
As a female, my territory has importance, though not nearly as important as the male cat’s view of his personal turf. Male cats mark their areas well, and any unfortunate cat venturing into that territory without permission may well rue the day. He may become involved in a fierce battle.
When we first move into a place, we must first make sure the house we live in has no signs of danger. It becomes our catly duty to defend this area against any negative forces, whether other cats or dogs or any unknown stranger.
Therefore, we explore the area thoroughly, and leave our scent on many surfaces throughout the house. We have scent glands located in the face, paws, and tail, so by just walking through the area and rubbing against things, we leave our important calling cards.
If we go outdoors, we must establish a territory there, too, and mark its boundaries, perhaps by spraying urine or perhaps by leaving claw marks on trees close to our borders. Then, any intruders have received their warning, and if they enter, they will face the consequences.
We Will Defend Our Territory Against All Intruders
It’s a basic rule — whatever creature enters established territory markers becomes fair game for the local protector. If I’m a warrior cat by nature, I may hope for these infringements.
When establishing a territory, it will become important to secure a high look-out spot from which one can scan a large area. For example, in our house we can get from the kitchen counter to the refrigerator to the top of the kitchen cabinets.
From there, we can see into far corners of the room. Such a high view becomes very valuable for surveillance. We can see it all from our elevated observatory. Also, You are so much bigger than we are, and it feels good to be high in a spot you can’t reach.
Once our territory becomes established with scent or urine spray, we then set up a daily routine that we follow every day. We like a routine for several reasons. First, it helps reduce stress, anxiety and behavior issues.
Second, we are creatures of habit, and we like our routine, because it provides predictability, stability, and a sense of security in our environment. Keeping our routine consistent helps us feel comfortable and content in our daily lives.
My day, since I am an extraordinary cat that reads and composes, does not look the same as for other cats. Therefore, for an example of a kitty routine, we will look at Mocha, CCL’s other cat.
Mocha has established a very consistent routine. First, the wake-up time in the morning always starts at 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. If CCL has not gotten up by then, Mocha and I use whatever techniques necessary to get her up. After all, it’s breakfast-time.
Most of Mocha’s wake-up calls consist of a series of varied cat yells. Sometimes he resorts to some energetic play under the bed to get his point across. Sometimes running across CCL as she reclines in the bed can help. Whatever works!
While breakfast gets prepared, CCL and Mocha usually have a short play-time. Mocha likes to chase the laser beam, and at times moves so fast that he outruns it. His racecourse is the entire length of the house, from one end of the living room to the far end of the office.
Breakfast consists first of his portion of canned food, and, once that’s finished, a small serving of kibble. He’d love it if CCL would give him just dry food, but he must eat his wet food first. He does not seem to understand that it’s better for him.
Then it’s time for his “toothbrushes”. These consist of four of the Hill’s Science Diet T/D, chewable dry pieces containing something that cleans the tartar from his teeth. He knows when it’s time for those, and runs around to CCL’s side of the desk and sits down.
CCL gets out his small serving dish ad gives him the “toothbrushes”, one at a time, so he chews each one well. CCL says these seem to help, as his teeth appear whiter than they did when he first moved in.
A Cat Can Change His Own Routine
Recently he changed, his routine. After meal-time, he used to spend an extended period on the sofa in the office, taking care of grooming chores and napping. Now, he goes immediately to the window holding the door to his catio for some outside time.
Sometimes if the weather cooperates, CCL gets Mocha into his vest, attaches the leash, and they go out for a walk. Mocha still needs to work on this skill, but he’s improving. Then, there’s more catio time.
Mocha stays in the catio until CCL eats her lunch. Then she calls him in for a snack, and after that, they get on the bed to nap together. Now Mocha has a chance to bathe; then he curls up for his nap with CCL
She gets up after about an hour, and Mocha sleeps until nearly supper-time. Then he and CCL often have a play session before supper. We cats do need regular play-time, as it helps keep us from boredom. If we’re bored, who knows what mischief we’ll discover.
After supper, Mocha spends some more time with grooming. He also likes to take an evening nap in the high window behind CCL’s desk. He’s above the world and can observe the room or look out the window. He can nap in the warmth of his high spot.
The Bedtime Ritual
Then it’s time for bed. Sometimes Mocha awaits CCL in bed and sometimes he waits until she settles in for the night. Then he takes up his favorite sleeping spot, just behind CCL’s knees.
As you can see, Mocha’s day follows a full routine, and he prefers to keep the routine the same each day, so he knows what to expect. If he makes a change, he readily accepts that, but he does not appreciate changes from any other source.
I do hope this example of a cat’s routine demonstrates the importance of a structured day in a cat’s life. Eerything becomes so much more satisfying and peaceful when you know what comes next. To keep your cat happy, make sure his routine continues unchanged as much as possible.