Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Do Cats Do That? Teeth Chattering

Any cat owner (cat owned?) has heard/seen this: the chittering toothy noise cats make when they stare out the window at a bird.

Why do cats chatter their teeth? Answer: they want to kill.

Seriously. They want to kill that bird they're staring at. The chattering noise & movement is an imitation of the cat's kill bite. When a cat hunts, after she catches her prey and has it securely in her paws, she bites down on the critter's neck. The rapid jaw movement is how the cat severs the prey animal's spinal cord, killing it instantly. This allows the cat to eat its meal without risking injury. It's also nicer than munching on the critter while it's still alive.

That's right. That cute teeth chattering noise we all love is our cat imitating his/her kill bite. Isn't that sweet?

More Cat Antics

This one's from when Hide and Seek were kittens--maybe 5 or 6 months old. Looking back on it, it's funny, but at the time it was traumatic! I had venetian blinds in my bedroom. The kittens, of course, lo-o-o-oved batting at the cord. I tried to have it tied up out of their reach, but they managed to pull it down. I was lying in bed one night when I heard the most horrific yowling you can imagine coming from across the room. Thinking that some hairy, drooling monster was attacking, I jumped out of bed.

No, it wasn't a monster. Hide was hanging--by his tail--from the curtain cord. I don't know how he managed to get it so tangled around his tail, but there he was, dangling from the blinds like an ornament. If ornaments thrashed and shrieked.

The moral of this story? Kittens can get into trouble you think you've prevented. Oh, and DON'T leave any possibility of reachable strings!

Our next story is from a few months later. Hide and Seek were 8 months old. I was living in a new apartment. This apartment is a basement apartment in a house that's surrounded by woods. One night shortly after I moved in, I was in bed (hmmm...there's a theme here) and I heard Hide and Seek playing with a plastic bag. No surprise; I wasn't finished unpacking, and there was stuff all around for them to get into. Cats love plastic bags. So the crinkling was to be expected, right? I ignored it for a while, figuring they were just being cats. After 15 minutes or so, I got tired of listening to the racket, so I got up to take the bag away from them. That's when I discovered that it wasn't really the bag they were playing with.

No, it was the SNAKE writhing around ON the bag that they were interested in. That's right, there was a SNAKE IN MY APARTMENT. Okay, it was a small snake (probably around 18 inches, and pretty skinny), and it was a harmless garden snake, but still--it was a SNAKE IN MY APARTMENT. After a moment of freaking out (I think I was justified), I used the plastic bag as a glove and picked the snake up by the tail. Fortunately, it was tired of being batted at by the kittens, so it let me carry it to the door and toss it outside with minimal fuss. Hide and Seek were disappointed that I took away their exciting new toy, though.

Since the Snake Incident, I've found some mice, various bugs, etc. in the apartment, but no more snakes. (The snake, by the way, did not seem to be hurt when I took it outside. I don't think that the kittens knew anything about hunting; they were just batting at a fun "interactive" toy.)

Can you beat that cat story?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why Do Cats Do That? Gift Giving

We've all been there: our wonderful furry friend brings a dead mouse/bird/chipmunk/bug/lizard/other critter and leaves it for us to find. Or, worse, gives it to us alive. As humans, we find it disgusting, but to the cat, it's a gift!

Why do our cats bring us "gifts"? Answer: they think we're incompetent.

Okay, not really. Cats bring gifts of food to us because they think of us as really big cats. They want to take care of us by bringing us food--and they expect us to be impressed by their hunting prowess. In the wild, cats bring food to their family and friends. They show respect and caring by sharing their kill. Mother cats bring food to their kittens. Cats may bring food to another cat who is injured or otherwise unable to hunt for itself. Our cats bringing gifts is a sign that they think of us as one of them. That's a pretty big honor!

Of course, that sign may be that they see us as kittens (or feeble cats) who are unable to provide for themselves, but I prefer to think that they're showing love and affection. We should make sure they know we appreciate the gesture. Even if it grosses us out.

Sometimes--if we're lucky--our cats will leave "dead" toys instead of the real thing. I often find mousies in my bed (and sometimes the bathtub, but I'm not sure if there's a message in that). Hide and Seek are trying to show me that they love me. Or that they feel sorry for me for my lack of hunting skills. Whichever.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia."  ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cat Antics

What are some of the sillier things your cat(s) has/have done? Hide and Seek are only two, so they still have lots of energy and get into lot of trouble.

One morning recently, I woke up to see Seek dangling from the door frame in my bedroom. Just hanging there, holding on with his front claws. Why? No idea. My guess is that he was chasing a bug, but still! That was pretty silly.

Another recent Seek story: I woke up (hmm. There seems to be a trend of Seek waking me up...) to a funny noise. Seek had knocked a box of tissues to the floor and was pulling them, one by one, out of the box. Maybe he had a runny nose?

Hide gets into plenty of trouble, too. He recently figured out how to open the front door of my apartment. It's a sliding door, so he just lies on his side, grabs the bottom corner, and pulls. This usually isn't a problem, because the door is locked. BUT, if I leave it unlocked while I run to my car to get something, or if I don't lock it the instant I'm inside when I get home, he's out. I also think he's onto the lock--I've seen him staring intently up at it--but hasn't figured out how to work it without thumbs yet. I was leaving for work one day recently and discovered that the deadbolt thingy was turned just a bit from vertical. Did I not lock it all the way, or did my cat figure out how to unlock it? You decide. (Fortunately, he wasn't able to unlock it all the way!)

Like all cats, Hide and Seek like to climb. They especially like to jump up onto the fridge and, from there, onto the kitchen cabinets. They particularly like chasing bugs up there. I'm worried that they'll knock over my liquor bottles one of these days! (Now that would be a real tragedy!)

So, what are some of your cat antics stories? Share in the comments!