Sound Advice About Raising A Serene Cat

Independent and proud animals, cats strut with an air of indifference and aloofness, apparently oblivious to the chaos around them. As hard as they try, though, even cats are susceptible to the anxieties and stresses inherent in modern life.
Like people, different cat personalities respond differently to potential stresses such as visits to the veterinarian, travel, vacation-boarding, or moving to a new residence. Similarly, they can become curious about visitors and seek to make friends quickly, or they can run and hide under the bed for the duration of the visit.

A Changing Environment

The level of intimacy a cat shares with its surroundings makes even the slightest change extreme and terrifying. Minimizing changes in your cat’s environment can help promote a calm, well-adjusted pet. Observe your cat’s behavior for clues to stimuli that make your cat anxious, and eliminate or modify them if possible. For example, minimize sudden loud noises and irritating background noises from an overhead fan.
Cats use pheromone markers to establish domain boundaries, and when these are absent or weak, cats feel out of place. From new furniture in the home to the inside of your car, unmarked items loom threateningly in your cat’s mind.

Kitty, Can You Hear Me?

As predators, cats are among the most well-adapted animals in nature. One of their most excellent utilities is their outstanding hearing. Within the cat’s skull, just below the ear, are its bullae, large cavities that act as amplifiers, increasing your cat’s sensitivity to high frequencies.
Compared to our hearing, a cat’s hearing range is more than two octaves above what we can discern. That’s around 80,000 hertz! In the wild, the rustling of leaves as birds move around or animals through tall grasses produce frequencies in this range.
Your home is a vault of loud noises that can terrify a cat. Vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, washing machines, ice makers, and other machines can easily startle a cat. If you’re going to generate much noise, either close off the room to your cat or, at the very least, move or nudge your cat, so it isn’t taken totally by surprise.
Outdoor noises can prove problematic as well. For people who live in the city or near significant traffic ways, construction, as noisy as it is for us, is horrifying for the sensitive cat.
If your home is in a high decibel environment, be sure to give your cat plenty of cuddling and love to pacify her. The more reassurance you give, the better your cat will feel. Some studies suggest that classical music has a beneficial, calming effect on animals, and music CDs have been compiled specifically for this purpose.

Out and About

If you have an outdoor cat, get to know your neighborhood children. Most kids love cats and just want to play, but a swarm of grabbing hands can terrify your kitten.
Outside cats should have a proper collar and ID information if they become lost or “adopted” by well-meaning children. (Keep in mind, too, that indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.)
Also, some kids in the neighborhood might want to play rough with your cat. If there are any bullies around, keep your kitten out of harm’s way, as a traumatic experience could permanently scar your young feline.

The People Factor

Despite their reputation as aloof and indifferent, most cats crave interaction with people, albeit on their terms.
New people can be a welcome curiosity for your cat or perceived as a threat. While cats seem to have an uncanny ability to detect those who dislike them and then focus their attention singularly on them, most cats approach strangers with some caution and hesitation, and hiding is not uncommon.
Advise your guests not to pick up your cat, or at least to wait a while and let your cat adjust. Remember too that a cat on a lap, while seemingly relaxed, can quickly become active. Visitors tend not to appreciate wounds on their person left by the “spooked” and hurriedly departing feline.
Children and kittens are often an excellent combination, full of love and adorably cute. At the same time, cats are independent creatures who tend to get tired of constant love and attention.
Explain to your children why it’s essential to leave a kitten alone when she’s sleeping or exploring. Don’t let children chase the kitten, as they might a puppy. Tell them that this activity could result in anxiety and reclusive behavior.
Consider acquiring cat furniture. Cat condos can serve as both a source of entertainment and provide a much-desired “safe” haven for your cat.

Picking Up Cats

Let’s face it. Some cats hate being picked up. They are most comfortable having all four feet against a firm surface. Even cats that like being held can scratch and claw you if they depart in a hurry. The key is to support the cat with both arms and assure her that you aren’t going to drop her.
If your cat seems uncomfortable about being held, try holding her in a different position. Some cats prefer to be held facing your chest, while others prefer to meet away from you and watch the action.
Even if you have a docile, trusting cat, never try to pick her up when frightened or angry. Many cats panic easily, and they’ll do everything they can to tear themselves from your arms.

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