By Dr. Carol Edwards
Cats are unusual, mysterious, and fascinating. They are both predator and prey in the wild, and therefore their communication can be very subtle…body language and facial expression. They also hide symptoms of illness as long as possible as an instinctive defense mechanism.
Therefore, if you notice ANY change in your cat’s behavior, it is usually significant.
Cats are crepuscular – having periods of increased activity at dawn and dusk. They often start racing around the house at these times of day, which is when their prey outdoors are most active. At our house, we call it having a case of the “scampers”, and enjoy how seriously our cats take themselves.
Unlike dogs who see only black and white, cats have a limited ability to see color, which they use primarily to see movement of prey in low light. They are farsighted, so when they are looking at your face, your features are blurry to them. It also is why they often don’t see treats up close on the floor right away.
Cats are desert animals. They look for their water in their food. Leading feline nutritionists are now recommending feeding canned food to cats. Like their prey, canned food is about 70% water. This also makes it significantly lower in calories than dry food. Additionally, it is higher in fat and protein, which tells a cat he or she is satiated, leading to lower calorie consumption and a healthier weight. Cats strictly on dry food have an increased risk of weight gain and urinary issues.
Additionally, cats are neophilic. Ever wonder why they only like the first serving or two of a new food? If fending for themselves, they might have a crunchy grasshopper for breakfast, a mouse for lunch. Many cats like a varied diet. (Some cats will only eat one thing, though.) It is a good idea when your cats are kittens to change their diets regularly to encourage acceptance of different foods.
Cats possess keen hearing. For instance, if you are in the kitchen turning on your blender, your cat can hear the current passing through the cord before the appliance comes on! This explains why cats can be so responsive to noises.
Cats certainly have a different way of experiencing our world, and to me, it makes them all the more endearing!