Motives of Cats Behavior
You love your cat. You like her to roll up at your knees when you are reading, how she purrs in your ear while you are watching TV and runs to meet you when you return home. But there is something you don't like about her. You probably don't like her to eat your indoor plants, to attack your ankles, to use the bath as her lavatory or to wake you up every morning at 4 o'clock. Whatever the problem may be you don't like it at all. But you don't think about it too much because everybody knows: it is impossible to train cats - it's true, isn't it?
It isn't so. Cats are trained exceptionally good but it is not allowed to train them as dogs. In order to understand how one must train a cat you're first of all to understand that there are predictable, inevitable, caused by instinct inducements in the behavior of cats. If you let these inducements have a positive going out this behavior won't irritate you. If not, prepare to your irritating.
What do we mean? We mean, e.g., that all the cats have need to scratch something. This is their inborn peculiarity which serves for a lot of purposes such as physical exercise, mark of their territory, keeping their claws in good form.
It is guaranteed for you that your cats will scratch something. Of you give them something they will scratch and enjoy it then they'll concentrate their efforts upon this object. If not, they'll find something else - it is usually something expensive like details of the door or upholstery of your sofa.
Trying to punish them for their scratching the things is the same as to scold a bird for her flying. Scold as much as you like but the animal will continue because it must do it. The best way to manage this inevitable problem is to offer your pet an acceptable thing, in this case, a post for scratching. Do it and then your cat will soon with joy concentrate upon this object with the help of small efforts, attention and praises from your side. In my apartment there is a log standing behind the door 10-12 cm (3.9-4.7 inches) in diameter and 2 meters (78 inches) in height which is wound tight twist by twist with a rope. Shvaika sharpens her claws upon it.
The motives of cats behavior are some their predictable needs. These needs - in hunting, in eating, in establishing and protecting their territory, in playing, in reproduction, in search of safety and in communicating - are the foundation of a large variety of cats behavior.
As soon as you have understood which of these needs is responsible for these or those peculiarities of the behavior of your four-footed friend it'll open to you a straight way in order to direct its efforts to the right channel. Let's take to pieces these needs one by one.
Cats are beasts from tips of whiskers to tips of paws. For most of them to steal up to, to attack and to kill is the greatest enjoyment. There are cats which demonstrate a weak hunting instinct or none at all but they are exceptions. To punish a cat for its hunting is an useless thing. Instead of it think how to prevent from it (to lock a cat up, to hang the bell up, to fix mangers for the birds higher) or to direct the efforts of the cat to the other side - to an intensive play. If the cat kills small animals, exhausts domestic animals, attacks your ankles - all this one can add to its predatory need.
Cats which are unique and individual beings are stimulated by food in a different degree. But most of them will eat with pleasure if they find food. As soon as they get to know that a kitchen table keeps a lot of delightful secrets - be ready to struggle with it. Importuning food, raids to the kitchen table, upsetting a rubbish-bin, meowing early morning which means the demand: "Feed me!" - all this refers to this category.
Establishment and Protect of Own Territory
These motives are especially strongly shown at the non-castrated cats. The more cats live in your house or go through your yard the more is the possibility that the instinct of protection territory will going the upper hand. If the cat has urination or defecation in the forbidden places, scratches your things and fight with other cats - all these occur here. By the way, cats do the same when the dog appears on their territory. Usually the cat deals with it quickly, seizing hold by its nose - this method works for hundred years.
Predators, who eat good, for whom threaten means little and who have a lot of spare time, use the game to keep their hunting skills in the proper way and just to spend time. If nobody conducts their game, they can jot down at the toys, play "hockey" with different things, wave the cable of the blinds, tear the paper and in other ways show their offenceless but sometimes irritating behavior.
All animals, if they are not sterilized, feel insuperable necessity for reproduction. And you are sure to run into this problem, if you have female in your house during a heat. Cats know much more about sounds, expressing desire, than any film-stars, acting in "X" films. Males, who are found face to face with female during a heat, became purposeful and aggressive.
Home animals must be sterilized (See: Neuter and Spay). If you think it is cruel or unnatural - overcome these thoughts. What is cruel - that is to kill millions and millions of cats every year, just because there are no owners for them. If you like cats, sterilize yours! If you do that, he or she will live longer, healthier and placid life.
Search of Safety
Cats make decisions of what is safely and what is dangerously independently. If they decide that the situation is dangerous, it's better not to get in their way then. Many cats won't take your word for it, that nothing threatens them, and will do their best, using meantime, all their four paws, to protect themselves.
To a greater or lesser degree cats have a desire to communicate with people. Maybe, some of them will never gravitate to your society, others will be gravitating to it constantly. These motions are the root of practically all kinds of deflections in a cat conduct. Block them that or this way - and you may expect to have cat undesirable conduct developed. There are some invariable fundamental cat verities. If you scold a cat for scratching furniture, it won't stop scratching. It'll just stop doing it in your presence. But it must scrape and will scrape, as it is an inseparable part of its nature.
Try to interfere with a frightened cat during away - beware then! Its wish to find a reliable sanctuary will overpower in many cases its confidence for you. In 99 out of 100 cases you'll turn simply into a subject, being in its way, as a proof of it, will get scratches.
Most problem between cat and man develop because of misunderstanding of the basics of a cat nature and because of foolish human conviction that cat may stop being cat. A decision to get a cat is not a decision to owe a cat. In both spiritual and moral aspects we share our life with our animals. We can not owe them, as some piece of furniture. We control them and they control us - each one in his own way and according to his nature. Our cats don't ask us to stop being human beings, though, would ask, possibly, if they could. And you can't ask them to stop being cats too. The joy given to us by our cats as our friends proceeds from our taking them as they are and find pleasure in it. And there's pleasure indeed, and what's more, in huge amount.
Most of us, it we are immensely honest to ourselves, display bad behavior regularly. As an excuse, we adduce such reasons as stress, boredom, loneliness, unhappiness or say that our childhood was far away from being ideal. If to be armed with these reasons, one can excuse the most part of our behavior, at least, in our own eyes.
Please, show the same patience in relation to your cat! Often cats behave badly, exactly by the same reasons we do, and deserve at least a small part of that patience we expect from others in relation to ourselves. Before losing temper, think if it's possible to solve the problem discovering its cause. If you shout at cat, run after it and hit it, it will just intensify the stress it experiences, and will worsen the situation.