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Living with a cat…instructions for use!

Knowing what your cat needs and, likewise, what you should avoid doing, is essential in order to live together happily.

Every new owner wants to make sure their new friend is happy and ensure its well-being. However, one ideal goal to keep in mind is the importance not only of meeting basic needs, such as food, water, and a roof over one’s head, but also that of learning to live together. Cohabitation is a big responsibility, and education is an important part of living in harmony with your cat.

A cat’s desire for affection and freedom

A cat is a sociable playful animal that needs daily physical activity and affection. One of the most common yet false ideas spread about cats is that they are loners, aloof, and are attached to objects and places more intensely than their human counterparts.

A cat has, for sure, a very strong personality. It builds its baggage of experiences in a very individualistic way, and its relationship with humans is rich in experiences that will shape its personality and provide it with equilibrium and balance. It is therefore essential to fully respect its behavioural tendencies and unique ‘cat-ness’ in the home environment.

The best way to show a cat how much we care for it, is to let it express its nature freely. This means avoiding imprinting it with the type of social relationship we would expect with a human being. Trying to understand a cat from a human perspective will lead only to misunderstanding and serve only to confuse the animal.

Teaching the cat the house rules.

Owners can learn from their cats each and every day.

They will come to understand that potentially troublesome habits such as biting and scratching people and objects, or marking territory, are simply part of an animal’s primary behaviour.  Fortunately, cats are intelligent animals and quickly able to learn the rules of the house and behave properly, with patience and methodical teaching (where positive reinforcement is useful, if not indispensable).

Understanding its habits

One of the first basic issues for a happy life with humans concerns how a cat behaves with its faeces and the cat litter box. The smell of cat faeces will not go unnoticed for long, even by the least sensitive of noses.

Generally speaking, cats get used to toilet routines quickly and maintain their habits for life. What is different is when OUR ideas or simple whims lead US to change the house rules, or the cat’s routine.

For example, changing the type or model of litter box used. There is nothing ‘automatic’ about switching to a new litter box for a cat. Even simply changing where the litter box is, might represent a trauma for the animal. Cats thrive on routine and may show their confusion by deciding to leave a few choice reminders lying around.

It is a good idea to inquire about a cat’s habits before welcoming it into your home. If we decide to take in a stray, we start from scratch. But we can soon lay down good rules for cohabiting. And the cat will forgive us any flaws in our communications.

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