by Barbara George, Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
We wonder at the sometimes odd behaviour of our cats; to them all behaviour is natural and acceptable and part of their independent nature.
Like high places? Safety from ground-based predators such as dogs; height gives them a better view of the space around them so they are aware of what is happening. For the larger cats such as Leopards, also a good place to spot game without being spotted, they can jump down for a quick kill.
Like boxes? Security and warmth. Boxes offer containment and only one opening to defend. Small spaces trap air which is warmed by the cat and stays warm as insulation.
Lie in the middle of an open space? Keeping an eye on all possible pathways with the option to block access to other animals; also to watch for anyone that may make a move towards the kitchen and food bowl!
Refuse food she ate yesterday? Many reasons, most usually it is either cold or old. If the food does not smell right she will not eat it.
Play with the water in her bowl? Most often to test the level of water in the bowl so that she does not put her face into the water. Since water has no colour or real smell, cats cannot easily detect the level of water in the container, especially in metal containers.
Prefer the dripping tap to a bowl of water? Dripping water typically contains more oxygen than stagnant water; it also has movement and sound so is easier to see. Some cats just enjoy the feel of water and play for fun!
Move as soon as I see where she is sleeping? This is a basic survival instinct, her safe space has been identified and is therefore no longer safe – if we can find her then so could any predator.
Wake me at 4am? The time their natural prey becomes active; it is a built-in alarm clock for all cats, however the setting can be modified by training and other behavioural interventions.
Always want to know what’s on the other side of a closed door? Another survival instinct, he needs to know what is behind the door so that he can prepare either an onslaught or a defence, or prepare for dinner!