Showing posts with label head butt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label head butt. Show all posts

Monday 29 April 2024

I ask my cat if he wants wet food and he answers

One of the difficulties for a cat caregiver is ensuring that your cat eats all or nearly all the wet food that you give him/her. You have to minimise waste both for financial reasons and because it is a pain in the bum getting rid of waste cat food. Giving it to the foxes is perhaps the best way if your neighbours don't know about it or accept it. Judging by the stories in the internet sometimes neighbours get angry about feeding wildlife by feeding feral cats. 


Anyway, this is how I minimise wet cat food waste. I ask him. Literally. Of course I also understand his body language and the signals he sends to me when he is interested in a meal but sometimes cats can fool their owners in this regard because they want a treat and not regular food. It is hard to tell the difference.

What I do is this:
  • I ask in English if he wants wet food
  • I place my cat on the kitchen counter - yes, I feed my cat on the kitchen counter. Some people do.
  • I hold up a sachet of wet food - a small sachet to make sure he eats all of it - near his face.
  • If he is interested and genuinely in the mood to eat because he is sufficiently hungry he head butts my hand. The one that is holding the cat food sachet. 
  • He wants it. I remove the food carefully to avoid splashing some on the counter. Sachets can he hard to tear open. I always use a knife to ensure that all the food is extracted. Waste not want not.
  • He eats all the food.
The key is his answer in the affirmative response by head butting my hand. This means he butts the top of his head against it. This is scent exchange - depositing scent on my hand but it also serves as a positive response to my question under these circumstances.

How did I get to this form of communication? It took several years of routine. As they say, patience is all when it comes to training a cat.

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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.

Sunday 30 October 2022

14-year-old cat head butts 1.5-year-old child

This charming photograph is on the quora.com website on a page which discusses the photo-editing of pictures of cats. And the person who started off the discussion said that pictures of cats should never be photoshopped because cats are charming enough as it is, and they don't need to be photo edited. 

And you should never add human teeth to cats which, incidentally, is something we see a lot of on the Internet.

14-year-old cat head butts 1.5-year-old child



Anyway, one person who joined the conversation added a screenshot of a photograph of a 14-year-old cat head-butting an 18-month-old child and that is the photograph that you see on this page.

It is charming and it is to be expected to be honest. The ginger tabby obviously has a nice connection with this child. And he is doing what he would do with an adult person which is to scent exchange. That means he deposits his scent from the glands around his head onto the child and in doing that he receives the child's scent onto his head.

There is a metaphorical merging of minds and beings which is reassuring for him. It's a bit like saying that the child is part of his family. And as the child now smells more like him, he is part of the family.


Based on what I have read and seen on the Internet, domestic cats are curious about babies, and they often form good relationships with babies. I don't see any real danger to babies from domestic cats. There is a fear probably by some mothers that a baby might be harmed but it doesn't happen.

And there's quite a lot of work on whether a baby benefits from being in a home with a cat and indeed being close to a cat such as when sleeping with a cat on their bed at night. This is still work in progress but my reading of the science on this is that it can strengthen a child's defences against allergens. 

In effect, when a baby is in a relationship with a domestic cat it desensitises them to allergens in the air for the rest of their life. But, as mentioned, the science is not entirely conclusive on this.

The feline allergen, Fel D1, is carried around the entirety of the home on cat dander, which is a kind of dandruff, but it is in fact small skin particles and bits of hair on which is dried saliva and the dried oils of sebaceous glands in the skin both of which deposit the feline allergen onto these tiny particles which are 5 µm across.


They are so small that they can float in the air very easily and they land on bits of furniture and so on which is why a person who is allergic to cats can feel the effects of the allergy even when they are a good distance from the cat in a home where a cat resides.

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