Meowllo and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. It’s cold and windy here, but fur the moment, we have sunshine and shadows. Mommy wanted me to let everypawdy know, that we might be writin’ a couple things today that will upset a few folks; but ifin you’ll stick with us, we purromiss you’ll unnerstand our point. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions. The only thing we ask, is that when askin’ a trainin’ or behavioral question, purrlease try to be as specific as pawssible. We’re not mind readers, and do wanna try to help ya’ out. But without specifics (you can even include an example) we can’t be sure ifin we’re actually givin’ ya’ the right tips. You can leave those questions/suggestions in the comments or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in Human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our Trainin’ posts include tips, tricks and techniques used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ on the links at the end of this or any Service cat post. We’ve got some great questions to address, so let’s get to them.
The question we’re gonna address today, was left last week. We’re not sure if this is an ongoing situation, or one from the past. Never the less, it’s weighed heavy on our minds since it was posted and we feel we just have to address it. The thought of it has haunted mommy all week, because there are currently breed laws in effect in many States against certain dogs because of misconceptions. And mommy couldn’t live with the thought of that happening to kitties. We’ll sum up the example given fur you: A person adopted a female Tuxedo kitty as well as an 8 year old human boy from a chaotic, violent, drug filled environment. Said kitty was terrified of the human boy and retreated to live in cabinets in the basement. Whether or not kitty had been abused, is/was truly unknown to the adopter. It also appeared that the adopter already had a resident Tuxedo male kitty in the home, possibly her littermate (the comment wasn’t specific). When the female Tuxie finally started to venture out of the basement she was bullied by the resident Tuxie male to the point that the adopter had to pen him so that he couldn’t get to her. And here is the question that was asked: Do you think it’s normal for some breeds to just be bullies and pick on those kitties who didn’t have such a good start in life?
Me’s not a bad kitty, me’s just assertin’ me’s claim.
The short answer is NO!!! Absolutely Not!!! First, let’s take a look at Cat Breeds in particular. ALL cats are descended from the Middle Eastern Wildcat. That’s right, those smooshed faced Persians, Color Pointed cross eyed Siamese, Floofy, floppy Ragdolls, and every other breed descended from the Felis Silvestris. Through natural gene mutation, cats adapted to their environments. Until that is, humans got involved. Breeders started cross breeding, inbreeding, and manipulating nature to create more desirable traits so they could make money. Don’t you go and hit that unfollow button. Me has a point to make. The results are not always in the best interest of the cat species. Now don’t nobody get angry with us, we’re only presenting the truth. And you know it too. Let’s keep going here. There’s conflicting evidence as to exactly when cats became domesticated, but for sure we’ve been part of human’s lives for at least 9000 years.
Now let’s take a look at a cat’s natural behavior. Yes, we have a point for all of this, so just bear with us. A cat has four basic functions bred into each and every one of us, wild or domesticated, naturally evolved or with breeder interference. We are born to hunt, eat, sleep and procreate. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on our innate nature to HUNT. Cats are preprogrammed to hunt prey to survive. Yes, even the adorable kitty purring in your lap. Cats have amazing smell receptors. The thing that makes us great Service Cats is our ability to smell the changes in mommy’s chemical make up before she passes out. That ability also lets us smell fear, other animals (prey and/or appropriate mates), changes in the weather, and other scents we encounter.
As most people know, cats are very territorial. Because of our need to defend and claim our territory, unaltered cats, especially males can exhibit unwanted/undesirable behavior such as marking or fighting. Spaying and Neutering goes a long way to alleviate this behavior. However, defending our territory is still paramount. The smell of fear often signals prey; and the scent of another cat, signals a possible change in the hierarchy. That innate need to hunt may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat, as we see them as prey. Cats desire live prey. Chasing is part of the hunt. A scared cat with it’s tail tucked between it’s legs and running away is a sure sign of prey. And that instinctual desire to chase, catch and kill kicks in. We can’t fight it, it’s part of our nature.
And the need to be “King of our jungle” may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat. In the wild, only the strong survive to procreate and pass along their genes to the next generation. For these reasons it’s important for our humans to take appropriate steps to introduce new kitties to resident cats. A cat that exhibits fear, requires extra attention from his/her humans in order to rebuild his/her confidence.
The person who left this question stated that the young boy hadn’t abused the scared cat, but was unsure about the adults in the previous home, yet the cat was fearful of the child initially. We’d like to take a minute not to suggest that the boy had abused the cat, but to relate that children don’t know how to treat animals until they’re taught. Children often approach animals wrongly. It’s not uncommon to hear of a child or even adult who’s been scratched after pulling a tail or trying to restrain a kitty to hard or for too long. Cats can acclimate to chaotic surroundings, but they are generally happier in more structured surroundings.
When Raena came to live here, me was unsure about the whole thing. Sis Lexi had left abruptly, mommy and me had been alone for a couple of months and suddenly there was a new smell with an attitude in me’s house. Her innate drive to hunt caused her to chase anything, including me, that ran from her. It wasn’t till me’s tail went up and me stopped running and turned to face her, that she stopped treating me like prey. Because of me’s uncertainty and confusion about everything that had happened, me no doubt smelled like fear, and weakness. One of the most desirable traits of the Ragdoll, is the laid back nature we have. None the less, Raena initially presented as a “bully”. However, she was and is not a “bully”. She was only acting on her feline instincts.
In conclusion, we say again, NO cat or breed of cat are born “bullies”. Rather, we have an instinctual need to hunt and survive. Some cats have a stronger drive than others, but we all have it. We realize this isn’t much of a training post, but we have several questions about aggressive cat behavior, so we decided to address this issue by introducing the back story to where cats came from and what drives a cat’s existence first. And to stop the perception that any cat is a natural born “bully”. Since we all have the same DNA, that argument would mean that all cats are bullies, and we know that isn’t true.
As me just said, we have an aggressive issue comin’ up. But next week, we’re goin’ to meow a bit ‘bout leash trainin’ do’s and don’t’s and include a question from one of our doggy furiends. In the meantime, mommy wants to stress that you don’t walk a puppy while on crutches…EVER!!! That’s an accident waitin’ to happen. ‘Member you can get caught up on any trainin’ posty you missed by clickin’ the links below.
Till the next time………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Additional Resources: National Geographic (link above)
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle