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Cat behaviour and psychology

Cats are emotional, characteristic and contradictory animals.On the one hand, they can be very affectionate and gentle, but at the same time they can be jealous, angry and fearful. Another striking feature is their independence: they decide for themselves how much, when and with whom they will interact and when they will not interact at all. Moreover, each cat’s personality and temperament is different and unique.

Temperament also depends on the cat’s breed and level of training. Understanding the psychology of cats can be a challenging task when raising them. It takes time and attention to get to know a pet’s manner and moods. Cats, like dogs, need to trust you in order to be trained. Therefore, interact with your cat as much as possible to learn about its needs. The basic psychology and behaviour of cats will help you to understand your pet and to react appropriately to its behaviour.

Distinctive features of cats:

Cats sleep more than other animals to save energy. They can sleep up to 20 hours in a 24-hour period to save energy per day.

Cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, with an average of 13 to 14 hours a day.

A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than a human’s, allowing them to smell things you wouldn’t even know about.

Home territory marking

Territorial marking is necessary for feral cats to allocate themselves the largest possible prey hunting area to find food. Although home-reared cats are fed, this natural instinct to mark territory is still there. Males are more likely to mark territory.

Domestic cats mark their territory boundaries by scratching, scents, sounds and other means. Cats scratch to sharpen their claws. This would not be a harmful thing if they did not damage furniture and other valuables in the home. Cats also need marking to feel safe in their own space.

A cat’s territory remains untouched until it dominates and a stronger competitor emerges. A common and unpleasant problem for owners is the caturine is a method of marking territory. The urine of unneutered cats is more pungent.

Hunting instinct

This is a strong instinct in both feral and domestic cats. Small kittens develop this instinct by observing and imitating their mothers. Hunting is natural for cats and they do it even if they are well fed. Hunting and chasing prey allows cats to physically exhaust themselves and use up their pent-up energy.

Domestic cats like to chase mice and other rodents, and some will chase rabbits or birds. If a cat is well fed, it will play but will not chase its prey. Owners should not punish their cats. You can mitigate this instinct if you feed your pet well, play with toys to satisfy their need for activity and do not let them out at night (most hunting is at night).

Cats can therefore sometimes become nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and being active at night. In this case, it is advisable to play with the cat for 2 hours before going to bed and daily at the same time. This will help you to trace your cat’s circadian rhythm. As cats are natural hunters, games should include the 6 elements of hunting: chasing, running, attacking, catching, killing and eating. A bite will convince the cat that the game round is complete.

Another way to control the hunting instinct is to put a bell collar on the cat so that birds and other potential prey can hear it barking. The collar should be elastic so that the cat can easily remove it if it is accidentally trapped.

Body language

Cats communicate through body language. They use their posture, ears, tail and muzzle. The position of a cat’s tail conveys a lot of information. However, the tail alone can be misleading, as a cat’s paws, fur, muzzle, ears and even eyes will also reflect its true mood. A hunched back indicates fear or aggression.

Cats show their relaxation by blinking slowly and crouching. The tail of cats, like that of dogs, is often very clearly indicates the animal’s disposition. A twitch can indicate annoyance, while a high tail can indicate confidence. A vigorously moving tail is a sign of strong irritation, and even worse when the tail is wagging from side to side.

Lying down and stretching out its belly and chest expresses joy, confidence and comfort.
Cats often use body language when playing with other cats or with people. Cats’ body language signals become very pronounced when two males meet. They then compete for a female or for territory; body language helps to avoid physical conflict.


There are at least 19 different meow sounds, differing in pitch, tone, volume, rhythm, pronunciation and the situations in which they are used. The meow sound always means that the cat wants attention. The familiar purr can mean contentment, complacency or an invitation to play. A high-pitched annoying whine often means a request to be fed.

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