Showing posts with label attention seeking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label attention seeking. Show all posts

Friday 12 April 2024

Why your cat likes to knock things off surfaces

Why do cats like to knock things off shelves or tables or kitchen counters and watch the object fall to the ground, bounce around and perhaps sometimes break? It looks a bit destructive. A little like the actions of a naughty child. I'm sure some cat caregivers react to this feline behaviour as if they were reacting to their child misbehaving. They shouldn't of course because the motivation is completely different.

On the internet, there are millions of articles on this topic. It is a highly competitive area for the search engines. That's the reason why I am writing this again because I have the same title on another website but that page has died over time and so I am trying to revive this content.

Some ideas on the reasons

There are several reasons why domestic cats knock things over and often watch them fall to the ground as described. These are my thoughts.

Boredom: a lot of indoor cats become bored. They want to try and recreate the kind of mental stimulation that they would enjoy outside. They can achieve that goal temporarily and very artificially by knocking an object off a table. The object moves. It temporarily (and using a lot of imagination) becomes a prey animal which they can then jump after and sniff. That is sometimes the response of the cat after they've knocked the object off the mantelpiece. The owner should not be annoyed with their cat as they need to look to themselves for the solution. 💕😉

Playfulness: it's another attempt at trying to entertain themselves. And once again it engages their minds. And in doing it they are physically active in a very minor way. It is therefore a form of play in the same way that when cats are genuinely playing they bat things around. I've just written an article on the four basic themes of kitten play in which I have an Infographic. You might like to read that by clicking on this link.

Attention seeking: this is quite a good reason. Once again it almost emanates from boredom. Boredom that their owner is not interacting with them and stimulating them so they create a scenario which attracts the attention of their owner and they therefore have this interaction afterwards which is better than nothing. It might not be a particularly pleasant interaction, however 🙄! Especially if the object that was knocked over was a precious vase.

Hunting behaviour: this is an extension of the other items above. You knock something over and it moves and they can believe that it is an animal and hunt it. As mentioned it requires imagination. But kittens and cats are very good at playing with objects as if those dead objects are living animals. That's why, by the way, it is best that cat toys are soft and can be destroyed because they then replicate a living animal. Hard plastic toys manufactured commercially sometimes can become boring to a cat because they can't sink their teeth into it and claw the object to death!

Checking if the object is living! Once again an extension of the above. Cats do like to prod and poke animals they have killed to try and reanimate them to allow them to continue entertaining themselves. Prodding an inanimate object may be a similar form of behaviour and if it falls off a high surface so much the better.

Territorial marking: some say this is also a form of territorial marking because they have scent glands in their paws and that scent is deposited on the object. I'm not so sure about this but it's worth including in the list.

Common thread: I think you might see a common thread to the above. It comes back ultimately to mental stimulation; to find something which at least very temporarily stimulates the mind. It looks naughty but it's just trying to create something out of nothing. Which leads me nicely to the next item:  enriching the environment. Vital in the cat's world when stuck inside the home (understandable in today's world).

In a truly enriched environment you will find that domestic cats don't engage in this "naughty" behaviour. You've got to provide plenty of toys and activities to keep your cat engaged. You've got to play with your cat on a regular basis if you have the time. You've got to provide high places and climbing poles and runs et cetera. They can be within the home and outside the home in a cat proof enclosure or a catio. I'm afraid that very few people enrich their home environment enough to the point where the cat will never knock things off a mantelpiece!

Hope this helps a little. Hope it gets seen! As I said it is a very competitive area of cat behaviour in terms of online articles.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 18 December 2023

Burmese cats are attention-seeking according to study

An extensive study which referred to earlier studies said this about attention-seeking cat breeds:

"Burmese, Ragdoll and Maine Coon were ranked the most attention-seeking breeds [19], but only Burmese was replicated in our sociability toward humans factor. However, Siamese was ranked the second in the sociability factor, which joins results between studies."

The name of the study and the scientists are listed below.

What they are saying is that the Burmese cat breed has been claimed to be attention-seeking in comparison to other breeds in an earlier study and they came to a similar conclusion in their study. They called it the ' sociability factor'.

This must mean that Burmese cats are more likely to want to be interacting with and close to their human caregiver. I see this as a good character trait although 'attention-seeking' implies a negative character trait.

Readers have to be cautious when interpreting cat studies for a number of reasons. But they are useful guidelines.

The problem with the description 'attention-seeking' is that it cuts both ways. A neglected cat because of poor cat caregiving might be described as attention-seeking but the issue would not be with the cat but the person. You see the problem with the attention-seeking description.

That said these studies would have compared different breeds and found that the Burmese was more prone to seek attention under normal conditions I hope. Although often they send questionnaires to cat owners. This can lead to subjective answers which are less than reliable.

The attention-seeking trait would suit many people and not suit others. For me, the best cat-to-human relationships are close ones. Where there is a nice bond. Under that kind of relationship you might get an attention-seeking cat for the opposite reason stated above: the cat expects to be with their owner because that is how it normally is.

In each case it is down to the human to dictate affairs. The cat responds instinctively. Humans control the relationship and often dictate whether a cat is attention-seeking or standoffish.

P.S. Siamese cats also feature high on sociability and Burmese cats have Siamese genes in them as they are pointed cats. Siamese cats are said to be loyal.

Gloria Stephens in her book Legacy of the Cats says that the Burmese cat "loves to be around people and demands love". Well there you are. She backs up the study.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Study: Mikkola, S.; Salonen, M.; Hakanen, E.; Sulkama, S.; Lohi, H. Reliability and Validity of Seven Feline Behavior and Personality Traits. Animals 2021, 11, 1991.

Saturday 30 October 2021

She’s painfully adorable and the clingiest cat I’ve ever met

The title comes from a tweet. It's good but of course all cats are adorable and some might be described as 'clingy'. However, I'm not sure that it is fair or reasonable to describe a domestic cat is "clingy". It's a negative or derogative term. It means that they want to be in contact with you all the time and are insecure and nervous. It's a mis-description as far as I am concerned. 

She’s painfully adorable and the clingiest cat I’ve ever met
She’s painfully adorable and the clingiest cat I’ve ever met. Photo: Twitter. She looks like a Burmese or Burmese-type (non-standard as per the breed standard). I say that because he paws are white. This is not good for a Burmese. She is probably a moggy to be honest. Moggies are great, the best.

Some cats will like being with their human caregiver a lot which is beneficial to both parties. That's what you want as a cat owner. I normally see domestic cats been criticised for being too aloof and distant. And then you see people criticising domestic gas because they're too clingy. What do people want? Domestic cats are there to be companions and entertain. If they want to be with you they are better companions.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Are pregnant cats clingy?

And sometimes, if a person raises a cat from a new-born kitten that person is imprinted on their brain as their mother. And as they are kept in a permanent state of kittenhood they will constantly perceive the person as their mother and be more than normally dependent upon them. This should be accepted. It is actually charming to be needed.

When you have a cat you voluntarily take on the responsibility to care for the cat. And in discharging the responsibility you know that you will be needed by your cat. Of course that must be the case because they rely upon their owner for being fed and for the provision of security and warmth both emotional and physical.

Let's put away the concept of clingy domestic cats and think more about domestic cats would like to be with their human companion a lot. Another criticism of some domestic cats is that they are "attention seekers". This is another version of "clingy". I disagree once again.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Attention Seeking Behaviour in Cats

If a cat is being neglected then they might seek attention which is entirely normal. It is to be expected. If a cat is attention seeking then the cure is to pay attention and attend to the needs of your cat and enjoy it. 

If you find your cat is attention seeking then to be perfectly frank I'm not sure that you should have a cat companion. I'm not been critical because a lot of people are unsuited to have cat companions. That's okay as long as they realise it and don't adopt a cat.

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