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How to understand your cat

Our love affair with moggys dates back at least 5,000 years. Back in ancient Egypt cats were revered SO much that they were mummified and buried with their owners!

Cats still play an important role in our modern lives, but these days we value cats as more of a lovable companion rather than an object of worship. They brighten up our lives with their affection and quirky behavior. And by understanding why your fluffy flat-mate behaves they way it does, you’ll appreciate it even more.

Why cats lick themselves…
For the most part cats lick themselves to keep clean (but really, how clean would you get if you licked instead of showered?!) So licking also serves another purpose – it helps regulate their temperature. In wintertime it helps them to keep warm by smoothing their fur down which in-turn traps in warm air. Then in summer licking works a bit like human’s sweating, the saliva evaporates off the fur and helps to keep the cat cool.

Why they purr…
Just because a cat purrs does not mean that it’s happy. A cat will sometimes purr if it’s distressed or in pain. Cats that are in pain but purr when approached by people suggests that cats purr to show that they are approachable and friendly, and ready to be stroked or helped.

Why they scratch…
Cats need to sharpen their claws by stripping off the old shell to reveal a new one. And scratching at your new sofa is the most convenient (yet highly annoying) way for them to do it. Scratching is also a way for a cat to exercise its paws, and for scent marking (there are scent glands under its front paws). Another type of scratching behaviour is “kneading”. Kneading is when a cat extends and retracts its claws, usually while it is sitting on your lap when you’re watching telly. This behaviour stems back from kitten-hood. Kittens knead their mother while suckling to make the milk flow more freely and as adults will revert back to this behaviour when they feel safe and contented.

Why they smooch…
When a cat rubs their head against you, they’re marking you as their territory. They’ll only do this to a human that they trust. They have glands on their forehead and chin that produces pheromones and by rubbing it on you, it lets other cats know that you belong to them.

Linda

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