Are you wondering if the fact that your cat is following you around like a shadow if this is normal? Well, I am here to put the record straight once and for all.
Do cats usually follow you around? Yes, they do. This is for a variety of reasons including curiosity, need attention, separation anxiety, boredom, territorial marking, feeling hungry and many more. In general, it is normal and nothing to be “weirded out” about.
Now that you know that it is normal for cats to follow you, let’s dig into these reasons a bit more to understand why. Also, let me explain what the “Mother Kitten connection” is (I think you will relate to this) as well as “Imprinting”, and how this affects them following you around, keep reading.
Cats have a number of different reasons why they follow you around. For that reason, I’m going to break down a few common reasons why they do this…
Curiosity is one of their most popular reasons. For example, they may be interested in gaining access to a room that they know they should be in. Or they may just be feeling nosey, and curious as to where you are heading.
Sometimes your cat simply wants your attention. They can be quite persistent and constantly follow you around. This is usually followed up with them “meowing” as well.
In fact, cats are more likely to meow to get your attention (with humans). Even more than using this same tactic with their own fellow cats.
If you do not want your cat to get his own way, and feel that she can just call out and follow you to get your attention, just don’t always give her what she wants.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to offer an alternative to their request. But, let me explain what I mean…
For example, if your cat is following you around and “meowing”, instead of giving her more food, because she’s crying and begging for more and following you around, instead, give her an alternative such as a food puzzle or slow feeder (click here for my 3 best slow feed cat bowls).
This is a complicated one. Usually, this happens if you return home from a long weekend away or maybe even longer.
You may find on your return that your cat may defecate around the house. This may be out of character for them. It may seem weird, but its a way of them dealing with this complex separation anxiety.
Boredom is another reason for your cat following to start following you around. This is usually more apparent with indoor cats that really do not have much to do to be honest.
Indoor cats are notoriously starved of their natural hunting and day-to-day activities by being stuck indoors all day.
For example, the moment you come in from work, you may notice your cat is really happy to see you. After being bored all day she will start to follow you around the house like a shadow, right?
This is her way of getting some stimulus and something for her to look forward to.
Cats like to mark their territory. This is an instinctive behavior. You may be thinking, what’s that got do with it following me, right?
In fact, this may be because they are trying to mark their territory, by gliding their body against furniture but this actually includes you. Yes, you may be categorized as “their territory”, in their head.
In other cases, your cat may get a bit confused. See you pacing around the house, during your normal day to day activities, and may interpret this as your method of marking your territory. This, in turn, may trigger your cat to follow you around to do the same.
If a cat is in pain or has an issue it can’t solve, it will naturally try to hide away and become defensive if you attempt to approach it. It may even try and bite or scratch you if you try and pick it up while it is feeling in this way.
This is nothing to worry about and it’s just a natural response, to be honest. However, to confuse matters, there are some cats which will do the complete opposite.
These type of cats will follow you around, trying to tell you that they have a problem or in pain.
Another obvious reason why your cat may be following you around is the fact that she is feeling hungry. It may be close to their normal mealtime and want to prompt you to feed them.
Or, they may just generally be begging for more food after they’ve had a meal. BAsically being a bit greedy, are you with me?
Typically they will meow around their cat bowl if this is the case. To direct you towards their food bowl.
Yes, there is a good chance that a stray cat will follow you. If you were walking along a road minding your business, and notice that a stray cat is following you, this could be for a few reasons…
If you are a cat owner yourself there is a good chance that a stray cat picked up on your sent and feels comfortable around you. Understand this, cats have a very sensitive nose. They can pick up on scent quite easily.
The chances are the stray cat is hoping that you may take it in or show it some love. It may feel safe around you because it detected that you have cats, are you with me?
Sometimes, or shall I say, for the most part, they are generally hungry and looking for some food. There is also a chance that just wants you to pet them as well.
This stems from when a kitten is first horn and has an instinctive connection with its mother (sound familiar?).
For the first week’s of its life, usually up to the age of 12 weeks, sometimes this can be earlier, the mother cat will do everything for their beloved kitten. You name it, feed them, groom them, protect them, etc. Naturally, the kitten will build an amazing bond with their mother, similar to humans in a way, right?
When the kitten is eventually separated from their mother. For example, they are re-housed with another family, as you can imagine, the kitten misses this connection with its mother. As a cat owner, the kitten will typically latch onto you as a substitute mother.
Therefore this mother kitten connection has been re-created through your bond with your cat. In a way, this is great because your cat will always be loyal to you for this reason.
Imprinting is a close natural bond with a kittens mother (similar behavior to newborn babies). Imagine when a newborn baby is born and the first time it opens his eyes he is pressed against his mother’s naked skin. He naturally accepts his mother as a special/trusted person, right?
This is similar to kittens…
Especially if they are rescued as newborns. To be honest, even adult kittens, that have been in a traumatic situation, can have this same feeling. Why?
Because they will associate you with being their savior, understand? They will build a natural bond with you.
Basically imprinting is when the newborn kitten (or rescued adult kitten) takes you as a trusted person in their life and will follow you around at all costs. You will always be someone really special in their eyes and nobody can change that.
If you are noticing your cat gaining weight, you may be wondering why, and how you can stop this happening. Using simple tools like Automatic feeders to help portion control is one thing (Click here to see why I love these automatic Cat Feeders), but are their other ways and reasons why your cat is getting fat?
Why is my cat getting fat? The reason why your cat is getting fat could be linked to a few reasons. Most likely linked to not enough activity, overeating or having too many treats. Fortunately, most of these issues can be resolved.
Indoor cats, in particular, find it harder to get regular exercise. So, it’s important that you get around this ( but more on this in detail later on the article). Let me explain why older cats tend to gain weight easily, the risks that weight gain introduces, how to reduce weight and more.
Older cats have different challenges. They tend to have a slower metabolism and reduced activity as they get older. This is natural and expected.
The thing that you need to be careful of is their diet. In particular, avoid feeding your older cat the same volume of food as you did when she was younger.
This is because they won’t be able to burn off as many calories as they once did. You need to re-evaluate their diet if you find out your older cat is putting on a lot of weight.
It is not always easy to establish if your cat is really overweight. One of the challenges is, each individual breed of cat has a different expected weight.
For example, if you have a Maine Coon (click here to see why Maine Coon’s are so big), they are naturally larger. So, you can’t expect to look at the numbers on a scale and compare them to the weight of a Persian cat, are you with me?
Instead of looking at the weight of your cat, there is body conditioning scoring. You can easily find this online. This system allows you to benchmark your cat weight and get an idea if they are overweight or even underweight.
Meantime there are simple things you can do while you’re at home that can help you to establish if your cat is overweight or not.
Bear in mind that this will need a certain amount of practice to get right. So, don’t expect to do this once and get a conclusive result. Here are a few techniques that you can use…
With this technique, the idea is to feel your cats ribbed to get an idea of how much fat is in between her rib bones and the rest of her body.
This is done by gently stroking her as normal, to make her feel comfortable, so you can move to her ribs area to gauge her weight.
The idea is to stroke your hands around her rib cage area and see if you can feel her rib bones. Do not to apply too much pressure. You should be lightly touching it. If you find that you can easily feel her ribs without too much pressure, this is a good sign. It indicates that she is not overweight.
However, if you find that you have to really press hard to find where her ribs are, then the chances are your cat is either overweight or something else.
With this technique, you will be gauging the shape of her body. In particular, in relation to her waistline. Look down at your cat from above and see if you can see the shape of her waistline.
Ideally, you should see an hourglass looking figure from above looking down. Her abdomen should not be wider than the width of her shoulders.
If you find that the abdomen is protruding quite a lot beyond the width of her shoulders this is an indication that she is overweight. Again, note that I said “indication” and not “she is overweight”, because this is not conclusive.
Have a look at your cats back, in particular, is their back flat? Is there signs of matting or greasy fur around that area? Can you see obvious signs of a potbelly?
Also, look out for dandruff around the middle of their back. You tend to find that obese cats have difficulty grooming these areas, and this is an indication that she is overweight.
As with humans, feeling overweight tends to affect us, not only physically but also psychologically. This is similar to the behavior of your cat.
If she is overweight, especially if she is obese she will start to neglect certain things. For example, she may stop grooming herself, neglecting general hygiene and may even neglect basic exercise.
Basically, your cat may become anxious and depressed.
Also, cats that are obese or largely overweight are also susceptible to other diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and other health-related issues.
So, this is why it is important to monitor your cat’s weight and prevent them from getting in this situation in the first place.
Firstly, you can do this by reducing her portions. Some cat owners have a technique called “free feeding” (click here to see if you should be leaving food out at night or all day). The idea is to leave food out all day for the cat to graze on food at their leisure.
The problem with this is cats typically do not know when to stop eating and will just continually eat all day, which can lead to obesity.
To prevent this happening it is a good idea to switch to a schedule based diet. Which, will allow you to give a couple of portion-controlled meals a day. This will allow you to monitor your cats eating activities and reduce the amount of she is eating.
This tip is more applicable to people that have got more than one cat in their household. It is tempting and more practical for you to feed them your cats at the same time and put out one supply of food.
The problem with this technique is, a more dominant cat can start to consume the smaller cats food. Meaning one becomes underfed and the other becomes obese and overweight.
Using this technique of separating meals, will allow you to monitor each individual cat and spot if they have any feeding or health issues. Also, if they’re losing their appetite or just flat out not eating.
This one may seem completely obvious to you but you need to start to incorporate daily activity/exercise. This is specifically for indoor cats that struggle to get much exercise at all.
Simple things like providing them with a cat tree (click here to see why they are my best 3 Cat Trees). This will allow them to get exercise.
You can also use toys such as a laser toy (click here to see the price on Amazon) which will keep them happy and active for hours.
Other things that you can consider using are very simple toys such as a piece of string dragged around the room, a ball of wool or even a little plastic ping pong ball.
As simple as this sounds, these little things will add to the activity of your cat and help them to burn off unwanted calories rather than sitting around all day sleeping and not getting any activity. This little activity could be the difference between a healthy cat and one heading down the road of obesity.
If you have ever witnessed your cat stuck, and vulnerable in a tree, you would do anything to find a way for that not to happen again, right? Using a cat tree to practice will help (click here for 3 of my best Bewishome cat trees) but, is there other ways?
Can you teach your cat to climb down a tree? Yes, you have two options, either use an indoor cat tree or practice outside on a real tree with the aid of a harness and leash. This takes some time and patience so don’t expect results in a few hours.
Now you know that you can do this, let me explain why your cat can get stuck in a tree, a full guide on how to train them to prevent this happening and how to get them down if they are already stuck there, read on…
This happens because of the design of cat claws. If you were to look closely at a cat claw, you can see they are designed to allow them to go in one direction (and it is not down!).
They have a specially shaped claw that secures them to a tree as they go up. This gives them maximum grip. However, this grip is only sufficient for going upwards.
To make this more understandable, if you compare this to your average mountain climber, who uses their Ice Axe, this is the T-shaped tool used to help them to ascend up the mountain.
This used to pick and dig into the wall so they can climb easier, are you with me? Think about the angle, great for leveraging up a mountain, right?
However, when they are climbing back down the mountain not the same advantage, right?
Exactly! In reverse gravity would pull them down and their hooks would be worthless. This is similar behavior for cats they simply do not understand how to do this in reverse.
The Logical solution to us is for them to go down tail first, instead of head first, right?
But, unfortunately, cats do not have this same logic. They will instinctively go head first. This will obviously end in tears, with them falling from a great height. You often see younger cats stuck in trees simply because they have not experienced it before.
In this section, I’m going to explain how you can help your cat to learn how to climb down a tree to prevent this even happening.
Please understand, this is a slow process, it’s not something that should be rushed. It will take some time and persistence.
If you are located outside then you need to take a slightly different approach. You need to get hold of a harness and a leash (Click here to see the price on Amazon) so that your cat doesn’t run away or get stuck up the tree.
Once your cat is secure, guide them up and down the tree with the leash on. This is so that you can be there to help them if they get stuck. The idea is not to make him go really high, just to give him the general idea of how to do this, are you with me?
If you are indoors it is better to use a cat tree (click here for my best 3 Bewishome cat trees) which has a cat scratching post attached.
The idea here is to use a controlled environment to let them learn the concept of climbing up and then down. This is great because they can do this without injuring themselves. Trust me, using a cat tree is a lot easier than trying to attempt it straight away outside.
In this section, I’m going to give you some tips on how you can get your cat down from a tree if they are already stuck there.
This is a simple method of trying to get your cat’s attention. You need to simply coax them out of the tree. Sometimes your cat is just generally scared and they need a little bit of coaxing to get them to make that move.
What do I mean by coaxing?
What I mean is just shouting their name or some other action to gently persuade them to come down from the tree, are you with me?
If this fails or she just looks at you and then still stays in the tree you can also try using some treats to coax her down.
This will be done by getting some of her favorite treats and either placing them at the base of the tree to entice her down or waving them so that she can see it.
You may find that this may take some time so leaving them at the base of the tree is probably a better idea.
If this also fails, you can also try to grab their attention in another way. Do you know those annoying laser pens that some people use? Yes, those! You can use it to get your cat down.
If you’ve never used one before, they basically send a laser beam of light that will drive your cat crazy. It will feel compelled to run after it. Use this to try and direct your cat down.
If the coaxing fails, you can try to help her down. This is a more proactive measure. The idea here is to get a bit closer to her and offer her an easy way down.
First, grab yourself a ladder you will be carrying an item up the tree to try and help her down. The best items to use for this is either a pet carrier or a broom.
A what now?
Yes, I did say a broom, but I will come back to that in a moment.
Firstly, using a pet carrier, you can gently send this up the ladder and offer your cat the opportunity to jump into it. This should be a much more comfortable option for your cat. Basically, you are doing all the leg-work.
Failing that broom I mentioned…
You need to offer your cat the broom but, you are also going to use a slightly cheeky method…
For this, you are going to trick your cat to grab the broom. The idea is to make her feel slightly unstable by gently prodding her. Be careful not to knock her down though. You want her to grab the broom for stability.
Once she grabs it, you can safely help her down the tree. This takes a bit of skill to get right so it’s not usually the first thing to try.
For this, you need to make sure you prepare yourself. Ideally, you want to have some thick gloves and a long sleeve top on. The reason for this is your cat may panic and attempt to bite or scratch you.
This is not because they are angry or mad at you. It is because they will be scared and this may be an instinctive move for them to lash out.
The key thing here is to either grab your cat family and simply carry them down. Or, grab the cat by the scruff of the neck and place them into an item such as a pet carrier and then carry them down.
Before you head up there make sure there’s nothing on the ground that could cause harm if fall unexpectedly. By the way, use this as your last option, because it can be quite difficult and potentially dangerous.
If you have witnessed your cat throwing up, it may just be she has eaten too fast (click here for my 3 best slow feed cat bowls to get around this). However, if it’s worse, you need to know what to do next, let me explain…
What to do after your cat throws up? You need to assess how often this has happened. If its a one-off it may not be serious. And a general clean up and rest will suffice. However, if its a regular occurrence you need to seek some advice from your vet immediately.
Now you know what you should be doing at a high level, let me explain how to look out for their body language. Also, when to take it more seriously, different types (levels) of thro up to look out for and more…
As discussed, if this is the first time you’ve seen it happen, for example, you notice signs of grass that he may have been eating (click here to see if indoor cats need grass), then the chances are it’s probably nothing to worry about. Chances are, you could overlook it and allow them to sleep it off.
However, if this is happening on a regular basis or displays any sign of discomfort, then you need to take it more seriously.
You have to study their body language, does she look normal in your opinion? Only you will understand what is normal for your cat. If there are any concerns, even the slightest concern, then I highly advise that you contact your vet.
In your mind you may be thinking sick is sick, right? However, there is different levels of sickness. In particular:
This is more of an unexpected, out of the blue occurrence. It may only last for 1 or 2 days. In some cases, it may even be just a one-off. An example could be, like what we discussed earlier, where your cat has consumed some grass.
This is more serious. Can go on for days or even multiple times per day. This is something that needs to be taken a lot more seriously. You may also expect to see symptoms such as depression, weight loss or excessive stomach pains.
This can be caused by a number of different issues. For that reason, I’m going to share some with you now…
Transitioning is a posh way of saying trying out new food. Effectively, this is when you make a drastic switch from one food type to another. The consequence is your cat throwing up.
Basically, the new food doesn’t agree with your cat. This can cause acute vomiting because your cats body is rejecting it.
Instead of making a drastic switch to a new food brand or product it is advisable to transition gradually. Simply give them a portion of the new food along with the old one that they are used to.
Another issue often seen by cat owners is cats that are eating too fast. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a real problem but it can cause your cat to throw up.
The reasons for this is, if your cat is rather enthusiastic about the food, she can gobble it up without actually chewing it up properly. Basically, it cannot be digested properly.
Also, in the process of shoveling the food down, there is a good chance that they’ll be gulping down lots of air into their stomach. This doesn’t agree and therefore the food will be rejected.
This is also seen if there are multiple cats competing between each other. This tends to happen if one cat feels that if they don’t eat fast they won’t have anything.
The best solution for this is looking into a slow feeder (click here to see my 3 best slow feed cat bowls for wet food) which will slow down the pace of their eating.
Another habit that some cats have is eating things that they shouldn’t. In particular random objects such as toilet paper, carpet or even things like grass.
The problem with these items, as you can imagine, is they cannot be digested by your cat. Therefore, its body does the natural thing and rejects these items.
These items are not so bad when compared to other more serious objects. For example:
If you are unfortunate and your cat consumes one of these objects, it can cause a serious problem. They can lodge in their intestines and can also cause severe pain along with vomiting.
Not many cat owners know this, but you should not really be feeding cows milk to your cat. The problem is, unlike humans, cats do not have the appropriate enzymes to fully break down cow’s milk.
If you do want to give them some form of milk you need to make sure that it is special milk which your cat can consume (click here to see the price of this cat milk on Amazon).
According to iams.com, if you see your cat vomiting two to three times in a month this is not necessarily a cause for concern especially if it’s not consecutive days. However, if its:
If any of these match your case then I strongly advise that you take your cat to see the vet to get advice immediately. To be honest, if there is any doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take them to the vet.
We’ve talked a lot about why these things are happening and different types of vomit, etc. Now I’m going to talk to you about ways that you can actively prevent this happening.
One of the biggest issues is your cat eating too fast. Here are some ways that you can get around this to make life easier for yourself…
The first thing that you can consider is giving her smaller portions of food. This will cut down the amount that she can actually get into her body at any one time. She won’t have the luxury of overfeeding in a fast manner this way.
Another thing that you can consider it’s purchasing a slow feeding cat bowl (as discussed earlier). These are ideal because you can put a regular-sized portion in there but the design of the bowl will allow your cat to naturally slow down the food consumption.
This will also help because as they eat slower, they will feel fuller earlier. This may even help them to eat slightly less and lose weight.
As discussed earlier if there is more than one cat in the household. You may notice them fighting to eat the food. This competition can result in eating too fast.
Instead, consider feeding them separately to avoid this competing. It may be a bit of hassle setting up two feeding spots, but it will be worth it.
Using an object such as a ball is a clever way to slow down their eating. However, you need to be careful and make sure the ball is quite large, to avoid her eating it. The idea is the ball will force her to eat around it.
This will force her to slow down her eating pace. To be honest, I much prefer a slow feeding cat bowl. Something about this ball is not ideal for me. But, it is a method never the less.
If you are sick of your cat scratching your walls, then you need to look at solutions such as scratch posts (Click here to see my best 3 Bewishome cat trees that have built-in cat posts) Let me give you many more solutions…
How do you stop a cat from scratching walls? The best method is prevention because scratching is normal behaviour. You can provide alternative surfaces for them to scratch, such as scratch posts or pads. As well as methods such as trimming their nails or covering their nails with cat claw covers (Click here to see their prices on Amazon).
Now that you know a few solutions let me explain why your cat is scratching your walls, what surfaces they are naturally attracted to and other methods to prevent them from doing this.
In this section, I’m going to discuss why cats actually scratch their nails. There are a number of different reasons for this so to help you I’m going to summarise them now…
In an attempt to keep their nails maintained cats will scratch the surface layer of their nails off on surfaces, such as your walls or furniture. Unfortunately for you, your cat will see these items as their nail file.
In addition to removing the surface layer of their nails. You will also notice that cats have very sharp nails. This scratching against your wall is important, in their mind, because it helps their nails stay sharp. This keeps their nails from growing too long and uncontrollable.
If they neglect their nails they can grow back into their paws. This will obviously cause them pain and discomfort. So, this is a necessary exercise for them.
When cats scratch walls or furniture they leave a scent behind. This is because they have scent glands within their paws. When they scratch the walls, not only are they leaving a visual mark of their territory, they are also leaving their scent behind.
They sometimes do this just to generally stretch their body. They use their claws the dig into the wall and create leverage so they can stretch their body properly.
In general, cats like to explore and the very curious creatures. They are very tactile in nature. For them, using their claws and scratching in this manner allows is a means of exploration.
One thing to understand, scratching is normal. All cats will do it. It may be an inconvenience to you but it is not actually a behavioural problem.
The best way to deal with this issue is to not try and stop it. But, to try and redirect their attention to areas or surfaces that you are happy with them scratching. I’ll explain more about this further on in this article.
They like surfaces which are typically a bit coarse or textured. Something that can create some resistance. Unfortunately for you, this includes your walls and furniture. You may also witness them trying to dig up your carpet.
In this section, I’m going to explain a number of different methods that you can consider using to help prevent your cat from destroying your walls or furniture…
In case you didn’t know this already cats do not like citrus or menthol. For this reason, you can use it to your advantage. Simply wipe it on surfaces that you do not want them to scratch.
If you are thinking to yourself “how is it possible to apply these liquids to surfaces that do not have fabric on them”? Don’t worry, there is a workaround for that as well.
On these surfaces, that are not fabric-based, you can simply douse some cotton wool (or something similar) in the menthol or citrus. Then attach it to the surface that you do not want them to use.
Another tactic that you can use is purposely supplying objects that you are happy for your cat to use. This is falling in line with my point earlier about focusing on redirecting them to other objects instead of trying to stop them (if you remember).
For example, you can consider using a cat tree, scratchpad or post.
The beauty with cat trees, specifically the Bewishome cat trees (Click here to see my best 3 Bewishome cat trees), is they typically come with scratch posts built-in. Meaning, you can effectively “kill two birds with one stone”.
There are a number of different materials available for cat trees and scratch posts. One particular material, that usually goes down well with most cats, is sisal rope. This is attached to the scratch posts on the Bewishome cat trees.
One of the tricks that you can use, to help your cat transition into using this, is to offer them positive reinforcement. Every time they use the cat scratching post or cat tree, give them some praise. It’s a very simple thing to do, doesn’t take much of your time and will be much appreciated by your cat.
As discussed in the previous section in this article, cats need to trim their nails on a regular basis. Unfortunately for you, one of the reasons your walls are probably getting scratched is because they want to maintain their nails.
So, to prevent this, you can take a proactive measure and actually trim their nails. This will keep them maintained ahead of time, in an attempt to stop your cat from using your wall, are you with me?
This is another method that you can use to deter cats from scratching your walls (or other furniture).
The idea is simple, purposely use materials that your cat will not like. I’m not talking about citrus or menthol here, we have covered that already, right?
I’m talking about materials such as sandpaper, aluminium foil or even double-sided sticky tape. Use these materials to cover items that you want to keep safe. This will avoid them damaging them.
A number of cat owners have effectively used cat claw covers (Click here to see their prices on Amazon) as a method to stop them scratching their walls or other surfaces.
It’s a very simple and cheap product that allows you to physically cover your cat’s nails. This is a better solution declawing in my opinion (more on this later).
You simply stick these cat claws over her original claws. This prevents her from scratching your walls.
However, you need to understand that this is not a one-off task. You need to maintain it. Its the same concept as fake nails that millions of ladies (& men) use worldwide. Once the claws start to grow, you will need to reapply the cat claws to cover the regrowth.
Maybe some cat owners do not fully understand, but when you declaw a cat, its not just its claws you are removing. You are actually removing its knuckles as well. Let me explain…
When declawing surgery is done, they also remove the knuckle from each toe as well. This is obviously painful for cats and its not a good idea, in my opinion.
In this section, I am going to give you a couple of tips on what to avoid when trying to prevent your cat from scratching your walls:
If you decide to use a cat scratching post (or cat tree with a scratch post built-in), you need to take your time transitioning them to using it. Do not get tempted to drag them to the post and force their paws onto the scratch post.
This will not entice or treat them to use it, in fact, it may to the opposite. They may get freaked out and start avoiding it completely.
Although the scratch post may seem scratched to shreds, do not get rid of it. It may be an eyesore to you. But, yo your cat it is ideal. Why? Because it now has their scent and they will feel comfortable with it.
If your cat is scratching around near its food bowl, it could be causing some damage to your flooring or carpet (Click here to see my best 3 Bewishome cat trees with scratching posts to help this issue) But the question is why is this even happening?
Why does my cat scratch the area around his food? This is an instinctual behavior to hide the scent that leftover food leaves behind. Although this behavior is obsolete in captivity it still happens, which confuses cat owners.
Now that you know at a high level why this happens. Let me explain further as well as what is “floor pawing”, if some cats attempt to bury unwanted food, why they do this and more. Keep reading…
Some people look at this behavior and incorrectly interpret it as their cat not wanting to eat the food that they have provided. The reality, it is possible, but it is unlikely. Let me explain what it is more likely to be…
In the wild cats have to hunt to eat. This is obvious I guess. However, what is less obvious is the reasons why they hide this food. There will always be some form of leftovers. These leftovers present a problem for cats, because of the scent it leaves around.
In the wild, this scent can alert their predators that they have been there. This can, unfortunately, help to track them down. Therefore, they have built an instinctual behavior of covering their tracks by digging up and hiding them.
This scratching around the area of their food in captivity stems from this behavior. It may seem odd to you, especially if you have wooden or tiled flooring. But cats still have this ingrained in them and will foolishly attempt to dig up wooden flooring to hide the scent of their leftovers, are you with me?
This is similar to the same behavior we have discussed in this article. With a small twist, you may also see them kneading as well as pawing the area around their food.
Ultimately, it is arguably the same thing, to be honest. Depending on your cat, some have an almost obsessive tendency to spend a large amount of time doing this following a meal.
Even if your cat seems a bit obsessive, it does not necessarily mean that there is anything to be concerned about. It all still stems from the instinctual behavior of trying to hide the scent of leftover food.
Yes, this is a relatively common behavior. “Floor Pawing”, burying food or scratching around the food area after a meal is all pretty much the same thing.
If you witness your cat trying to bury their food, it may seem similar to them attempting to bury their mess in cat litter. If that is what you are seeing, it is definitely the same thing.
Typically, feral cats will bury their feces as well as their food. The reason why they do this is that buried food loses its scent. This allows them to avoid predators.
Female cats with kittens will have an even more vested interest in doing this. As well as hiding their own scent. They want to avoid any predators finding out that they have kittens nearby.
An extra deterrent from male cats, in particular ones that are not neutered, they will spray the area they perceive as their own (Click here to see if it is dangerous to clean cat urine with bleach). This is why some cat owners neuter their male cats.
This behavior is not just isolated to the domestic cat. Other big cats, such as leopards, display similar behavior. This is commonly known as “Food Caching”.
Food caching is when the Leopard will store its food (catch of the day) high up in the trees. This is to stop any scavengers or predators stealing the food or detecting their presence.
This does actually happen sometimes. In fact, it is quite similar to the behavior of hiding their feces. Effectively cats will see the excess food as waste, and even though they have no intention of returning to it, will instinctively want to bury it.
It is also part of a cats persona to keep clean and tidy. Always looking for an opportunity to keep their personal space clean and tidy. This will also get rid of the scent that is left behind to avoid discovery by unwanted predators.
This again is a similar concept to “floor pawing”. However, you will notice that your cat will actually try to cover its bowl with an object(s) to hide it.
For example, if you had a newspaper laid underneath your cat’s food bowl. You may notice after the meal the newspaper is torn to shreds. This isn’t done for fun mind you. Your cat is trying to re-use this paper to hide its food.
The reason for this is the same, its an attempt to conceal the scent given off by the food and prevent their detection. Even though, technically, they have nothing to fear in a domestic home.
If you notice that your cat is damaging your flooring or carpet, then this behavior can be quite a problem. For this reason, I am going to share some methods to stop this happening…
Immediately after she has finished eating you need to remove the food bowl. This will take some patience and persistence, mind you. The annoying thing with this option is the fact that it is a reactive strategy, meaning you will need to monitor each meal like a hawk.
Instead of large meals, restrict the portions to just cover one meal. This may take some practice to get the sizing right, but it is easier for you once you get that right. This is because you won’t have to monitor the bowl so much.
This method will entail you waiting for your cat to start scratching away, then immediately distracting his attention. This is easily done by using a toy, ball of string, etc. The idea is to move your cat’s attention away from clawing up your flooring.
To avoid this happening you can consider placing the food bowl on a hard surface that can’t be scratched and damaged, such as concrete (Click here to see how you stop a cat from scratching walls). This largely depends on what options you have in your house.
Some cat owners like to leave out dry food option for their cats to graze on all day. The idea here is to avoid this. This only gives your cat ample opportunities to start scratching and burying food.
Lastly, even if you catch your cat “at it”. Avoid punishing her for this. It is instinctive and will confuse her. Better to use one of these methods to ween her off it rather than trying this negative reinforcement method.
Truthfully, if your cat is not disrupting or causing any damage to your house, I wouldn’t worry about it. This is normal behavior and should not be a cause for concern. If you can live with this, I would just ignore and accept it.
Maybe you have seen your cat humping and are freaked out, or maybe you are just curious if your cat is going to soil your bed (Click here to see my 5 best cat beds for kittens to save your blankets!). Either way, I am going to help explain if they will do this and more importantly why…
Do cats hump blankets? Yes, they do as well as a number of other items such as woolen sweaters, pillows, soft toys, and even us humans. This can happen regardless if they are neutered or not, believe it or not. There are a number of reasons why this happens.
Now that you know that cats do hump blankets, I am going to explain why they do this, why a cat may start doing this all of a sudden, how to stop it happening without distressing your cat and a lot more. Keep reading…
This is an instinctive hormonal reaction that is often seen while cats are mating. You may even notice your male cat doing this to another male cat. This may be confusing, and may even make you double-take. The reality is, this stuff happens.
If you notice your male cat doing this to another male, by the way, this could be a show of dominance and is nothing to be worried about.
You may see this happening if your cat has some unspent energy. He may just need to release this energy. You can help this by offering more playtime. Or some other way to deal with this energy overload.
If you have been neglecting your cat, this could be a reason for the humping. If that’s the case, this is easy to resolve. Simply pay him more attention.
You can also spend more time cuddling and allowing him to jump on your lap more, are you with me? Just subtle things like this might make him get the attention fix he requires.
If you have had a cat for a while and noticed he has started humping recently it could be a result of a change in your household.
There is usually some trigger that causes this, such as:
These small changes can cause anxiety in your cat. This anxiety can trigger weird behavioral changes such as this humping you are seeing.
— Nick Adams-King (@Nickking) January 21, 2016
No, not really. Dogs are regular humpers. To a weird extent, this is almost accepted behavior from a dog. They thrust their waists and hump anything that moves and they get away with it.
How many times of you watched a Hollywood comedy movie and seen a humping dog as the punchline for a funny scene? Exactly, I am sure you have at least one memory that comes to mind right now, right?
Cats, on the other hand, are different. This does happen with cats but its not as common. And, it is definitely not as accepted as a dog. A cat thrusting and humping is often frowned upon in society.
In this section, we will look into the reasons why a neutered cat would still attempt to hump. It may come across hard to believe because the whole idea of neutering is to sterilize your cat to stop reproduction.
One would, therefore, assume that it would get rid of the urge to hump. Well, the reality is, its not that simple.
Humping, along with behavior like spraying to mark territory are things that are instinctive and somewhat ingrained into your cat’s brain.
Especially if your cat was neutered at a later age, such as after one-year-old. If this is the case, then chances are you probably won’t be able to get rid of this behavior with neutering.
If your cat was recently neutered, then you can expect this to happen. Unless he has been done longer than 12 weeks ago, there is a high chance that he will still hump in this way. Also, believe it or not, he can still be sexually active in this period as his body adapts to the changes.
As weird as this sounds, this does happen (or shall I say, it seems to be the case). It is more seen with spayed cats. It definitely appears to be the case but in reality, it may not be real humping that we know of.
There is an argument that this is really the mother’s way of disciplining her kittens in some weird way. You will usually see the mother grab one of the kittens by the scruff of its kneck and then pressing the kitten to the ground, in a humping motion.
When this happens some people believe that the mother is simply directing the kittens to stop the unwanted behavior. However, this has not been proven.
In this section, I am going to offer you some suggestions to stop this humping happening. However, in my opinion, the best method is “redirection”, but let me explain…
This is simple in concept but may take some practice to implement. Essentially you replace the blanket your cat is humping (or another item) and replace it with another desirable item. Obviously an item you are not worried about using.
So, when your cat starts his “thing”, you simply switch his “love object” with your desired item. It may not work the first time, but in time he will start to select the replaced item.
No, this is not what you are thinking 😉 You need to offer him a way to release more of his stored up energy. This could be the reason why it’s happening.
For this method, you simply offer him more playtime and opportunity to release this energy.
It may just be a simple case of giving him more attention. If that is the case you just need to show him more love. You can stroke or pet him more than normal and spend more time with him.
If your cat is feeling anxious, you can consider releasing some of this attention. An easy thing to try is is a pheromone collar (Click here for my 3 best pheromone collars for aggressive or anxious cats). This can help to calm down some cats.
In this section, I will answer some frequently asked questions related to cats humping blankets. If you have any questions that you have, that haven’t been answered, please leave a comment below…
Will a Neutered Cat Still try and mate? Not usually. However, as discussed earlier, if they have been neutered less than 12 weeks ago there is a chance they will attempt this. Because it takes some time to set in.
Why does my male cat bite the neck of my other male cat? This is a form of sexual aggression. In some cases, it crosses the borders of dominance or territorial aggression. You may notice your cat grabbing the neck of another cat with its teeth and then thrusting in a sexual manner when this happens.
Why does my cat hold a blanket in his mouth? This is often a way of leaving its scent on the blanket. You may also see this in combination with kneading the blanket (Click here to see why a cat bites a blanket and knead it same time). This kneading in addition to biting is often a form of comfort, which is typically a throwback from its life as a kitten.
If you have ever witnessed your cat bite and need your blanket, you may be confused and wishing they had their own bed (Click here for my 5 Best Cat Beds for Kittens). Let me explain why they do this…
Why does my cat bite my blanket and knead it? This is a known throwback from your cat’s life as a kitten. The chances are, after some time she will outgrow this behavior. But in the short term, it is comforting.
Now that you know why they do this, let me explain other reasons why they knead in this way. Also, if you should be concerned, if you should consider stopping them and more…
As I grew up we used to have this weird habit of eating peanuts and shaking the salt off them. This was passed down from my parents and was almost a source of jokes and merriment.
As I grew older I still find myself doing this same gesture every time I eat peanuts. It’s funny because it reminds me of some of this throwback behavior used by cats…
When they are kneading the blanket in this way. It is also a way for them to apply their scent and mark it as their territory. This is often seen when there are multiple cats in one household. Often each cat will have its own “possessions”.
When they knead the cat release scent excreted from the sweat glands in its paws. Cats have a very sensitive smell and will indicate to other cats that this is their territory.
During this time, your cat will feel content. And you may even witness her purring. This is a show of happiness and her being content.
This is slightly different. Do you remember sucking your thumb as a child? If yes, then you can relate to this behavior. It is a way for your cat to feel comfortable and another throwback from being a kitten.
It is often seen with cats that were separated from their mother earlier than 12 weeks.
No, this is completely normal behavior. And to be honest, the chances are they will outgrow this within 1-2 years. The only thing to monitor is what items they choose for this, let me explain…
If they are attempting to suck or bite items such as electric power cords, shoelaces with plastic coverings, etc. Then you need to be concerned. Obviously, this is dangerous for them.
If you are wondering if you should be stopping this. You really do not need to. As I said, they will naturally stop this with time.
However, if you are keen on stopping them for some reason. For example, they could be biting or sucking an item of clothing that you treasure. Then, I get it!
There are two ways you can do this:
This is a method of training her to not like sucking or biting on these items. It is achieved by purposely adding lemon juice or other unwanted flavors to these items to detur your cat from doing this.
The chances are it will work. However, it can confuse your cat and may lead to anxiety or behavioral issues such as aggression (Click here to see my 3 best pheromone collars for aggressive cats).
This is a more subtle and preferred approach. The idea is you gradually divert their attention from your treasured garment. This is done by offering them an alternative. Ideally, it is an old item of clothing that carries your scent.
If you can, use a wool sweater or wool garment. Not mandatory by the way, but just preferred.
As discussed the most obvious reason is early separation from their mother. However, there are other reasons that will discuss now…
Certain breeds, such as Siamese or other oriental breeds have this tendency. For whatever reason, they are known to take longer to move on from their mother. This could be an explanation for their behavior.
In addition to this, they may just gain a level of comfort from this. It is likely to stem from their mother, to be honest. But it could also be attributed to their siblings as well.
Yes, wool sucking is very similar. Arguably the same thing. It is when your cat will suck on clothing or other fabric-based items, such as blankets, sweaters, jumpers, etc. They are even known to suck on the tail of other cats.
In some cases, the cat will take it a step further and begin eating or swallowing these items. This is when it may become a concern. Reason being, it can lead to health-related issues with their intestines.
When you notice a cat eating these items in this manner it is often called pica. This basically means a weird craving for non-food items. It is not a good habit as discussed earlier.
— Danielle Rifkin (@Heels0fSteel) April 17, 2015
There are many theories behind this. And to be honest there is not necessarily a right or wrong one. The one that is most commonly associated with this behavior is being separated from their mother earlier than expected.
The expectation is at least 12 weeks before they are separated. However, some breeders will separate cats as early as 6 weeks. This is typically based on them starting to consume solids rather than their emotional needs.
It seems that this early separation can cause this wool sucking habit as a way to feel comfortable.
In this section, I am going to answer some frequently asked questions related to this article topic. If there are any other questions unanswered, feel free to leave a comment and ask.
It may sound weird or unexpected, but it happens. This humping (Click here to learn if cats hump blankets) can happen for a number of reasons, so I will explain each possibility.
If you decide to neuter your cat at an older age, there is a chance that this will happen. This is because he may have been used to doing this all his life, so it won’t stop overnight.
This can just happen because your cat needs affection, or just enjoys the feeling it gives him. its not a cause for concern.
It can even happen if he is feeling bored or just feeling frustrated.
If there are changes in your household you may notice this behavior. Your cat is likely to use this technique to establish his dominance as the alpha male, are you with me?
It is rare but it can happen. Biting is usually used by cats as a threat or attack or defensive move. If this is happening to you, there is a chance that your cat is testing the boundaries to establish who is boss. Biting is also used as a way of communication.
If your cat is new to you this may happen. It could be confusing if you feel that you have established some trust only to find she is going back a step and acting scared.
The reality is, she may need more time to seal the bond. There could be a bad history of abuse from the previous owner that could make the trust harder to establish.
Another issue could be general health. Maybe she is feeling sick and does not want to be touched. Often cats will retreat into their own space if they feel sick. The chances are she could be confused by the health issue if this is the case.
Have you ever wondered why your cat is in your bed for the umpteenth time? Maybe you would be better off with a cat bed? (Click here for my 5 best cat beds for kittens) Let me first explain if this happens to other people and why it happens…
Do Cats like to be under blankets? Yes, it makes them feel warm and your body is a source of heat. It is also a way for them to show affection toward you. In some cases, you may notice your cat prefers sleeping in your bed more than their own.
Now let me explain why kittens sleep under the blanket, if they prefer their own bed, if it’s safe to have them under the sheets and more.
I remember my brother getting down to his last bonbon sweet in the packet, he looked at me and offered this delicious sweet to me. Firstly I was shocked, but more than this I was appreciative. He didn’t have to do this.
It occurred to me that this was one of the most subtle shows of affection. In a way, this is similar to your kitten hopping into your bed and cuddling up to you under the covers.
— Kitten Academy (@kitten_academy) October 10, 2016
By now you know that cats like sleeping under blankets, but do you fully get why? Let me explain a number of different reasons why cats sleep under your blanket to help you to understand.
As briefly discussed earlier, they love to keep warm. When they burrow under the sheets, believe it or not, you are like a hot water bottle to your cat. They simply love the warmth that your body gives off.
As you know, cats are notorious for looking out for warm spots. Even if there is a slight crack of sunlight peering into your lounge through an open curtain, they will be lapping up that heat by throwing themselves in its path.
When your cat snuggles up with you, they feel an element of security. When they sleep they are at their most vulnerable. Simply because any predator could attack while they in this state. Even though this is unlikely in a domestic environment, it is still an instinctive concern.
Therefore, in this state they feel secure in your presence under the sheets snuggled up to you, are you with me?
The final fact is affection. Your cat simply likes to show you love. Assuming you have treated your cat right, you will not be surprised to see her snuggling up with you. This is her showing you love.
This depends on the cat. But what I would say is, they prefer it even more, when an item of yours is on it. If you have an old clothing item, that you no longer need, they will love to chill on their cat bed (Click here for my 5 best cat beds for kittens).
The reality is some cats just want to be near you, wherever you are. While others feel proud of their own cat bed. The later see this as part of their territory. For these cats, this will make them feel secure in their own territory.
According to Canidie, their vet did not have any concerns with this. The understanding is that an adult cat is unlikely to starve of oxygen under the sheets.
They believe that if the cat is uncomfortable under the sheets she will simply relocate to a different location where there is more oxygen.
However, it is not recommended for kittens. The reasons for this is they do not have the same level of strength as an adult cat and could be at a risk for this.
It seems the general conscientious, amongst cat owners, is that they see no issue with this and have done it for years without any problems.
Ultimately it will come down to your preference and tolerance for risk. Some people will not even give this a second thought, while others may panic about it. If you are worried I say don’t do it.
I have always been a fan of peanut butter. I remember my cousin entering the room with two plates, one with cheese sandwiches, the other with peanut butter. As I snatched the peanut butter sandwich, I munched on sweet peanut butter I literally felt stuck that position.
Almost like my feet were welded to the ground. This is similar to why cats sleep on your head, it is just less likely to move…
The reality is you lose most of the heat from your body through your head. This means that it is a great heat source. This is why your cat is relaxing on your head. It is literally emitting a heap of heat, which your cat loves.
As well as this, your head is less likely to be thrashing around in the night. Your hands and legs are much more likely to do this. That is why your cat may have selected this area to relax on.
This is really a personal preference. There are pros and cons on both sides of the fence. To help let me explain some of the pros and cons of this:
Firstly it is quite warm and cozy. Especially in the winter months when warmth is at a premium, you will really benefit from your cat snuggling up to you.
Arguably this can be seen as a type of stress relief. It is an opportunity to switch off and relax and snuggle with your cat.
Unfortunately, there are some negatives. They are notorious for having dirty feet. Just think about where their feet have been. They could be walking in and out of the litter tray and transferring the mess into your bed, yuk!
They also are not good night sleepers. Cats have a tendency to be active in the night. They like to have various cat naps in the day and then go crazy in the night. This is great for them, but not so good for you.
If you are prone to allergies, then this is not a good idea for you. Some people have allergic reactions to cat hairs, especially the long cat hairs.
What does it mean when a cat licks you? This is a show of affection as well as an instinctive reaction passed down from their mother. As kittens, cats are groomed and licked by their mother. You may even notice cats licking other cats.
If she is doing this to you, take it as an honor. The fact that she is doing this means that she trusts and loves you. She will not lick any random person, that’s for sure.
Can I put a blanket on my cat? Yes, it’s fine. The reality is, if she does not like it she will just move it out of her way. Soe cats love this and will thrive on it.
Others prefer to lay on top of the covers and will immediately remove the sheets and use it as their mat. If you are curious, best to just try it and see how she reacts to it.
Why does my cat cover his face when he sleeps? This is because he is blocking the bright light from his face. The fact is most cats flock to the warm spots. Often this is in direct sunlight or a gap of the sun that enters a room through a crack in the curtains.
If your cat is in this direct light the chances are it will irritate his eyes. Hence the reason he covers his face when he sleeps.
If you have an outdoor cat, you may question if it is even worth your time having a litter box. If you are wondering, I am going to explain why you need this as well as a good litter mat (Click here to see my 3 best cat litter mats to deal with urine spillages).
Do you need a litter box for an outdoor cat? Yes, it is a good idea to have a little box for an outdoor cat. Because there are occasions when they will need to use it indoors. On some occasions when going outside is not possible or practical. Therefore you need to have a litter tray.
Now you know that you should, let me explain what can restrict your cat going outside, why they should have a back-up litter tray at all times and more.
If they have severe weather conditions sometimes it is necessary for your cat to stay inside. For example, it could be snowing outside. Or it could be extreme rain, to name a couple. If this is the case you need to have a litter tray so there is a backup plan.
Also if there is a health condition, your cat will struggle to get out. In these situations, you will need to have a litter tray.
In general outdoor cats are very common in Europe. But less common in the US where people are encouraged to keep their cats indoors.
In Europe, the trend for outdoor cats is driven by lifestyle and work commitments. People that have full-time day jobs rely on their cats being out for most of the day.
After work, after they have spent all day roaming around outside. The owner will return and spend some quality time with them, including feeding and petting them. This is often backed up with a quality cat flap (Click here to see which cat flap is best, Cat Mate vs SureFlap?).
In this section, I’m going to explain a number of different reasons why you should at least have a back-up litter tray indoors. To articulate this I will highlight some risks of not having this. Let me explain…
As briefly discussed earlier, if there is extreme weather conditions this can impact your cat going outside, meaning your house may become the toilet if you get me.
Without going over the same ground I would just like to add that forcing your cat outside during some of these extreme weather conditions can cause them danger and is not advised, therefore a back-up litter tray indoors is ideal.
There are may be occasions where you may find that your cat has issues with other stray cats. Or other pets such as your neighbour’s dog, for example.
In these situations, your cat may become stressed and anxious about going outside due to the fear of being attacked. You may notice during this time she may not want to leave the house.
In some cases, you may even notice that she will literally start leaving faeces in and around your house. So for these situations is it it is advisable to have a backup litter box in place.
As your cat gets older you may notice that they start to develop health-related issues (Click here to see why an Older Cat starts peeing everywhere). This can lead to difficulties in getting outside.
For example, they may start having joint related problems, or even kidney related problems, just to name a couple. During these times, it not always possible for your cat to go outside. In these situations having a backup little box inside is ideal if not mandatory.
One of the issues that can happen with an outdoor cat not using a litter tray indoors is the mess that they can leave behind outside.
In general, the perception is cats are very clean animals. However, I can tell you from personal experience sometimes you may find your cat is actually doing its mess in random places. Such as your next door neighbour’s garden.
This can cause a lot of headache and problems for you. And in some cases cause conflict with your neighbour’s.
To avoid these situations you may want to consider having an indoor cat litter.
One of the dangers of allowing your cat to roam free outdoors and not use a litter tray is the fact that you do not get sight of potential health problems. Let me explain…
There are chances that your cat may develop health issues. They may not be major, to begin with. It could be something like diarrhoea or constipation. The problem is it could lead to something more severe if not discovered early.
An indoor litter tray allows you to inspect her faeces to understand if there may be a problem.
For example, if her stool is very runny, she could have diarrhoea. Once you notice this, you can to provide a remedy to help your cat.
Conversely, if the stool is really hard. Then this might be an indication that they could be constipated. This can be your opportunity to act early.
By now you may be thinking to yourself, you get it, you understand why it is a good idea to have a backup litter tray. But, you are thinking to yourself: “how can you transition your cat to start using a litter tray”?
Let me give you some suggestions and pointers that can help you to train your cat to use an indoor litter tray…
Firstly you need to give them a couple of options. Rather than just plunking down one litter box in a random location, give them options.
If you can provide two litter boxes in convenient locations, this will work much better. For example, one litter tray leading to an outside door. This is great because they will usually walk through this area whenever they leave the house.
A second litter box could be placed in a nice private area that your cat may prefer using. Be mindful, you will need to test these locations. Just to see how your cat responds to it.
Even though closed litter boxes sound good on paper. Although they make perfect logical sense to us as humans, your cat may not agree.
Your cat may feel a bit claustrophobic inside these closed litter trays. Also gets rid of that element of freedom that they like, especially for an outdoor cat.
In my opinion, this is one to avoid if you want to safely train your outdoor cat to use a litter tray.
You can get hold of some really cool auto scoop litter trays. Again, on paper again they sound like a good idea. Because it helps you maintain the cleanliness.
However, for a cat, these little electric sounds can cause them stress and anxiety. Therefore, for that reason, I would suggest avoiding this. Especially in the early stages while you are trying to train your outdoor cat to use a litter tray. Keep it basic, to begin with.
When you are trying to transition your outdoor cat to use a litter tray. It is better to use a bigger one. Obviously, this depends on the size of your house or flat. But if you can fit a bigger one in, especially with a taller side, this would be best for your cat.
There are many different types of cat litter substrate that you can use such as paper and silica.
If you are lucky and your cat is willing to use a biodegradable substrate than this is ideal because you can continue to maintain this and re-use it for a number of years.