Monday, 1 October 2007

October 1st - Play behaviour and a little toy mouse

It is often suggested that kittens learn social behaviours from their mother and other siblings. This is why it is recommended that they are weaned and taken away from their cat families at least when they are eight weeks or even older for some breeds

My two female cats Sheng Chi and Ripley they were both adopted when they were very young and although I was told then that they were 7 seven weeks, they both seemed far too young physical and emotional to be away from their mother. This of course resulted as it was expected to become very attached to me as they will quickly saw me as a replacement for their mother and although this has some disadvantages as it makes them prone to separation anxiety behaviour when I'm not around at the same time it has also made them accepted me as the top cat, the one in charge who they obey and listen to.

Cats might not seem to need like dogs do an obvious and in charge alpha human to obey and follow but when they live with other cats and humans they will still soon learn that there is somebody else higher above in the hierarchy ladder if that somebody makes certain that he/she is in control and do not allow the cat to be in charge. With other words cats still need to learn discipline and to obey the rules in the house they live and that the humans are in charge in the home territory so there are no future behavioural problems developing.

But of course cats also can learn through observation, trial and error, imitation and instinct. Despite of what some seem to believe, cats often learn by imitating our own behaviour but more amazingly they also seem to learn on their own as well.
A good example, very interesting and of course entertaining to watch is my cats' behaviour and in particular Sheng Chi's play antics.
Funny enough and perhaps for their own not yet fully understood reasons cats seem to prefer some toys than others. Often we humans think that the size or smell and texture might make a cat to prefer one toy over another but more than often our judgements prove to be very wrong. The amount of money that it has been spent and the vast amount of toys that they have being passed through our home is remarkable and scary to even think about it but at the same time it seems quite necessary for the physical and psychological health of our cats.

You're experimenting with different sizes and shapes of mice looking toys but still you can't understand your cat's preferences. Some times it is a big mouse and sometimes it's a tiny mouse, none of which seems to actual resembles a real mouse.

In my case I can always justify my cats' preferences as they haven't ever seen a real mouse or play and even catch one so their preferences in they toy mice is....understandable?

Sheng Chi has found a tiny little black mouse which I picked up from a pet shop in town when I was buying cat food and which I saw and only got because it was only 35p and I thought that it looked cute (in human terms) and if they didn't like it the price was insignificant to make me feel bad about it or make my partner whinge. I really didn't have much of a hope for that mouse that any of the cats will show an interest as it was too small and 'insignificant' but of course my cats soon proved me wrong. Both the 'girls' they found it really interesting and exciting and three weeks after I brought it home they both still spend quite a lot of time playing with it.

In particular Sheng Chi seems to make the most of it by carrying it around in her mouth, throwing it away and then running (yes Sheng Chi is running...) to catch it and even hiding it (like a real mouse would perhaps do) and then trying to find it (her best hiding place is inside the what it once was a cardboard box and now it is half eaten and very flat cardboard box...)

But what I find really intriguing is the fact that she plays with that little toy mice like she would have played with a real mouse. So how did she knows how to chase a mouse? She has never seen a real one let alone catch one and she was weaned pretty young, too young to have been taught how to catch a mouse. Her behaviour becomes even more playful after she had a little catnip roll around on the carpet which it seems to

No comments: