#1 Cucumber scare
There’s a viral video trend you might have seen lately: if you surprise your cat with a cucumber, she might respond by completely freaking out. She might hiss, shy away, or spring into the air. Silly cat, it’s just a vegetable! What a hilarious prank, right? According to National Geographic, not really. Jill Goldman, a certified animal behaviourist in southern California, advises against needlessly stressing your cat. Cats, she says, don’t normally see things like cucumbers on the floor, so you are “triggering the cats’ natural startle responses.” In general, be careful about shocking your cat with novel items. Your cat needs time to adjust to new objects and situations. Deliberately shocking her is unfair and potentially dangerous for your kitty.
#2 Taping a square
Did you see #CatSquare trending on Twitter? After taping the outline of a square shape on the ground, cat owners were puzzled and amused to find that cats were unable to resist the lure of the square. Almost without fail, after owners made one of these tape squares, their cats would sit themselves right into the middle of them. So what is the scientific explanation for this? According to academic media outlet The Conversation, the impetus is similar to a cat’s desire to squeeze into a box: it makes them feel more safe and secure. It is theorized that boxes remind cats of being in a nest with their mom and littermates. The lateral side pressure is comforting and releases feel good endorphins. The tape-square, then, might provide cats with some “misplaced sense of security and psychosomatic comfort,” The Conversation summarizes. In short, this is a fun experiment to try but ultimately your cat would prefer a nice shoebox!
#3 Laptop bed
It’s always the same story: every time you sit down to your laptop to try and actually get some work done, your cat promptly plops down on your keyboard. Does this mean that your cat is jealous of your clients and social media friends? It’s possible. According to PetMD and Dr. Kat Miller, Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist and director of anti-cruelty and behaviour research at the ASPCA, your cat could be seeking your attention. After all, if effective; it’s pretty hard to ignore your cat when he’s seated on your keyboard. Also, cats really like warmth and a laptop can feel like a nice, warm heating pad for your kitty.
#4 Head Butting
Does your cat butt you with his head? Called “head bunting” by behaviourists, this behaviour is how some cats say “Why, hello there. I like you and feel comfortable around you.” It’s also a cat’s way of marking you with their facial pheromones to distinguish you as one of their group. Side note: if you have a multi-cat home and see your cats’ cheek-rub each other, this is a sign that there is harmony among your cats. If your cats are not getting along, you can groom them in turn with the same brush to help establish a group scent and promote peace in your household.
Want to learn more about your cat’s behaviour? Here’s how to Better Understand Your Feline Friend!