Do you ever sit at work and wonder what is my cat doing right now? What is she thinking about? If youre like most cat owners, you probably have! We all wish we were able to get into our pets brain and see what they really think. While there arent any magic tools that would allow that to happen, we have the next best thing advice and information from professional cat behaviorists! Well find out the answers to some of the cat-related questions youve likely wondered about but have been too afraid to ask.
Also, as much as we can tell, cats receive and process input from their five senses (taste, smell, sight, touch, and sound) the same we humans do as well. So, next time you see the Queen of the Castle sitting, looking like theyre staring absentmindedly out the window, remind yourself that shes like doing the same thing that you do when youre lost in thought.
Cats who are left alone for too long without enrichment or intellectual stimulation will not only become incredibly bored, they will also get lonely. If your pet gets a clean bill of health, its time to start to add some enrichment activities to your cats life. Good activities that are easy and inexpensive to implement are food puzzles, areas of the home that are designed to encourage climbing, access to windows, and plenty of available toys.
One fact that clues us in to their intelligence is that their cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that is responsible for problem-solving, decision-making, memory, planning, and language-process) actually has more nerve cells than ours does! Previously, this was part of why people assumed they werent smart when, in fact, theyre just really super stubborn (imagine that, right?). Think about all of the common cat behaviors that they do with us – purring, head bunting, communicating with their tails, kneading us, etc.
What are cats thinking all the time?
Cats also spend a lot of time thinking about and watching our emotional state, which says a lot about cat emotions. They can gauge and interpret our feelings to decide how to respond to us. They also watch and listen to figure out what we’re doing and when we might get them food.
Do cats think about their day?
They also have both a short-term and a long-term memory, so not only do they think, but they also remember. While that doesn’t tell us exactly what they think about all day, it does tell us that they are likely to have relatively complex thoughts and feelings about things.
Do cats mind being alone all day?
Most felines will be perfectly content being left alone for the working day while you’re at work. However, longer or more frequent periods of time away, such as full days or nights away from home can be more disruptive. Your cat should not be left alone for long periods of time.
Do cats need attention all day?
Cats, while often independent creatures, still crave attention and love, in addition to their obvious nutritional needs of fresh water, clean litter, and food. If you decide to bring a cat or kitten into your home, you should be prepared to spend at least 20 minutes a day giving your cat loving one-on-one attention.
Theres an old stereotype about the difference between cats and dogs. Dogs are loving and fiercely loyal, they say, while cats are aloof and indifferent. Most cat people probably disagree I certainly find it hard to believe, with my cat purring away in my lap, that she doesnt care about me.
It involves interpreting cats behavior as though they were furry little humans, rather than creatures with their own distinctive ways of thinking. When we do, what seems most likely isnt that the cats in this study were selfish, but they werent able to pick up on the social interactions between the humans.
While dogs are descended from social pack animals, cats ancestors were largely solitary hunters.
The connection we have to cats is so strong it feels almost as though they can read our thoughts, scan our moods, and even gauge how to behave based on our needs. Because the depth of feeling for cats is so powerful, its easy to get caught up in projecting onto them very human-like thought processes. But what really goes on in their sweet, furry heads?
They still rub up against us, place their tails high in the sky, and groom us (or try to! Since these are the ways your cat primarily communicates with you, taking visual cues can help you understand him or her on a deeper level.
When the tail is vertical, your cat is happy, at peace, or even ready to play . When the tail is tucked between the hind legs, our experience with cat thinking suggests that he or she is anxious or fearful. Eyes If a staring contest between you and your cat ends with a long, slow blink, it means I love you.
Eyes half-closed might complement the kneading action, purring, and snuggling. From sleeping on our heads (its the warmest part of the body) to sitting on top of our laptops (again, its warm, but its also in front of your face), cat thinking methods are perplexing. This can lead to lots of cat myths or misconceptions, most notably:
They are very special, social animals who seek close companionship. Purring only means happinessIn fact, it can also indicate stress, fear, or pain. Keep an eye out for illness or injury, and be prepared in the case of an emergency .
Cats need to act out this primal instinct that gives them great pleasure and relief. A recent study concluded that cats, when given a choice between playing with certain toys or having interactive fun with a human being, decisively choose to play with a person.
As anyone who has spent time with cats knows, our feline companions are mysteriousmuch more so than those other furry family members. Here John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense (Basic Books, 2013), fields a selection of questions submitted by Scientific American editors and Twitter followers about the cats many quirks. Bradshaw is a visiting fellow at the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences in England, where he studies the behavior and welfare of cats and dogs, as well as their interactions with people.
Cats and dogs belong to a group of mammals known as Carnivora, and the wild ancestors of both species dined primarily on meat. Recent DNA analyses indicate that over the course of their evolution, dogs have acquired more copies of the so-called amylase gene, which makes an enzyme that helps to break down starch.
In contrast, the cat family, known as Felidae, lost the genes that encode several key enzymesincluding those that manufacture vitamin A, prostaglandins and the amino acid taurineearly in its evolution. To expand their diet, cats would have to evolve physiological traits that allow them to synthesize these and other key nutrients from plant foods. This capacity has not emerged during the 10 million years of felid evolution, so it seems unlikely to arise spontaneously in our domestic cats.
For both species jealousy is an in-the-moment emotion they experience when they see that another individual is getting the attention they are craving: they dont remember being jealous once the moment has passed. Cat owners commonly believe that coat color can predict the personality of their pet, but theres no evidence that this is universally true. Locally, a very successful male can produce a lot of kittens that both look like him and behave like him because of their shared genes, which might explain how people have come to associate coat color with personality.
If this location happens to be in or near the kitchen, they are automatically reminded that commercial cat food is much tastier than mouse, and hence they abandon their catch then and there. Then, a split second before reaching the ground, they push their feet downward and arch their back to minimize the shock of landing. The catnip response is a bit of an enigma because it consists of seemingly random segments of play (pouncing, clutching with the claws), socializing (cheek rubbing) and female sexual behavior (rolling onto the back, for example).
Yet not all individuals in these species show the response because it is controlled by a single gene that only about two thirds of cats carry [see Catnips Magic, below]. Among oriental cat breeds, adults commonly suck, chew and eat fabrics, especially wool, in response to stress. But persistent overgrooming on one spot or pulling out clumps of fur can also be signs of chronic stress, perhaps because of conflict with another cat in the house or in the neighborhood.
Cats also prefer to hide their feces, which would otherwise betray their whereabouts to prey and predators alike, hence their reluctance to use a dirty litter box. They act much like a female cat in heat: They may rub their head and body on the herb or jump, roll around, vocalize and salivate. Response to catnip is hereditary; about 70 percent of cats exhibit this behavior in the plants presence, although it does not affect kittens until they are about six months old and begin to reach sexual maturity.
When the oil, named nepetalactone, enters the cats nasal tissue, it apparently binds to proteins that stimulate sensory neurons. Investigators are accepting both normal and cancerous feline mammary gland tissue samples from female cats. This project explores the facial, postural and vocal expressions of pain in catsinformation that gives owners and veterinarians a leg up on recognizing this emotion earlier so cats can be treated before their welfare is compromised.
History indicates that cats have perceived humans as friends for millennia, but contemporary research suggests that cats don’t necessarily see us as any different from them.
We’re Just Big Cats to Our Cats
While cats understand that their human caretakers are larger than they are, they continue to behave around us in the same manner as if they were around other cats. The only key difference is that cats meow to humans, not other cats. They still rub up against us, place their tails high in the sky, and groom us (or try to!).Owners wondering about the intricacies of the cat thinking process might turn to cat body language. Since these are the ways your cat primarily communicates with you, taking visual cues can help you understand him or her on a deeper level.
Their Mystique is Why We Love Them
Understanding your cat’s body language and determining cat thinking may start with:
Is Your Cat Thinking Good Thoughts?
A recent study concluded that cats, when given a choice between playing with certain toys or having interactive fun with a human being, decisively choose to play with a person. For us here at Cat Care of Vinings, it’s mutual!As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. Or, let us know what you believe cat thinking is all about!