Showing posts with label scent exchange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scent exchange. Show all posts

Thursday 17 November 2022

Young tabby cat appears to comfort his owner in a video

The news headline for this video is that a cat is trying to comfort their crying owner. I think this is a reference to the tear that you can see from the left eye of the cat's owner. Although, to be frank it is not clear that this man has been crying. 

Sometimes people shed tears for a range of reasons other than the emotional state of the person. Snoozing can lead to the production of tears as eyes can tear up when a person goes to sleep.

Although I will give the benefit of the doubt and say the guy is upset and his darling and charming cat is comforting him.

It is a charming video although I have seen many similar videos and I have personally experienced this kind of cat behaviour myself. I am sure many others have too.

The video comes from the Twitter account of Sander from the Netherlands. Although it is not clear that this is him or that he made the video.

The cat's caregiver is snoozing it seems to me, and his young tabby cat wants to cuddle up. His cat wants a bit of contact because cats like that sort of thing. Often you see cats who are friendly with each other lying next to each other.

And you often see cats touching their owner. They thrust their foreleg out and touch their owner on the face or hand. That is what we see here, and you'll see it happen all the time. It is a silent method of communication by a cat to their owner through their behaviour.

Mutual support between cat and person
Mutual support between cat and person. Screenshot.

For example, my cat touches the edge of my duvet near my head when I am in bed her wants me to lift it up so that he can crawl underneath. Another example of communication through action rather than a vocalisation.

So, this young tabby cat wakes up his owner with a gentle touch by his right paw near his mouth and then he snuggles up. It is beautiful and it is what I would expect to see in a close relationship between person and cat.

Of course, it goes without saying that the relationship must be strong and the bond good. This is not the case in all households.

And, as mentioned, this is a young cat. I sense that this man might have raised this cat from a kitten. This enhances the bond between human and cat.

Sometimes kittens who've been raised by humans have their human caregiver imprinted on their mind as their feline parent. They genuinely believe that the person is the birth mother which as you can expect leads to a strong and lifelong bond.

Why should a cat want to lie on their human caregiver like this? Perhaps this is a silly question but perhaps not.

RELATED: 15 facts on cat bunting.

Cats like the smell of their owner through their body scent. They like to scent exchange which means they want the scent of their human caregiver on them, and they want to transfer their body scent onto their human caregiver. Emotionally speaking, this merges the two entities.

It is reassuring for a cat to do this, and I believe that domestic cats seek reassurance many times throughout the day. I believe that humans should be aware of the need to reassure their cat.

The human world can be a bit scary for a domestic cat who is a fraction of the size of a human. They live in an unnatural world to which they have adapted successfully.

Domestic cats are very alert and emotionally sensitive partly because their senses are so finely tuned. Small sounds can, for example, create temporary anxiety. Strangers in the home can make them anxious. Long periods of absence by their owner can leave them with separation anxiety.

RELATED: Size difference between humans and cats makes them vulnerable and fearful, a dog study suggests.

There are lots of possibilities for a cat to be anxious and it is the duty of a good cat caregiver to prevent these feline anxieties and to reassure their cat in a mutually supportive cuddle as we see in the video.

Sunday 30 October 2022

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

This charming photograph is on the 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.

Friday 25 June 2021

Is it cruel to shut my kitten out of my bedroom at night?

It is not cruel per se because your kitten will be well looked after, I hope. However, it is a strong curtailment of a kitten's desire to be in that room and they really want to be in that room because your bedclothes smell very strongly of you. Cats are attracted to the smell of their owner. They want to be in it, so to speak. They want to be surrounded by that smell. They want to lie on your bed clothes and take up some of that scent onto themselves. This is scent exchange, which is a merging, in their minds, of themselves and their human companion. It is highly reassuring to them. You should let your kitten do this as it pleases him or her. And it makes them feel happier.

Ideally you should let your cat be in your bedroom at night
Ideally you should let your cat be in your bedroom at night. Pic in public domain.

It is obviously beholden upon all cat owners to make their cat as happy as possible. So, if you want to keep your kitten out of your bedroom at night you are doing it for yourself primarily. There may be a safety issue for a small kitten who's jumped up onto the bed at night because you might roll over onto the kitten and harm them but I think this is highly unlikely.

The primary reason why people discuss on the Internet how to keep their cat or kitten out of the bedroom at night is because they don't want to be disturbed. This is completely understandable. I don't know the percentage of cat owners who do ban their cat from their bedroom but I suspect it is quite high. In each case the cat is missing out on something that they love. And therefore, it is a small dent in the human-cat relationship.

The problem, as mentioned, is that the bedroom is a special place for a cat because of the smells. The bed is soaked in the scent of the person who sleeps in it. More so than for clothes. I know for a fact that my cat adores it. He wants to come under the bedclothes every day and lie under the duvet for about 15 minutes to soak up the smell of me! As I know it makes him very happy, I allow it. I'm used to it. And it helps to create this wonderful bond between person and cat. You want that. That is the objective because the closer the bond, the more enjoyment the relationship brings you.

As the old adage goes: the more you put in, the more you get out. The more you put into the relationship in this case and the more you allow your cat to expresses natural desires, the more you get from the relationship because your cat loves you more. There is a compromise as suggested by Jackson Galaxy which is to put your cat's bed within your bedroom. On that bed you might place some of your personal items which smell of you. This will allow your cat to be in your bedroom at night but not on your bed. That should satisfy people who don't want to be disturbed.

I'm a believer in this sort of compromise although I don't compromise when it comes to making my cat as happy as possible within the limitations of safety and practicability. Jackson Galaxy calls a human bed a "scent soaker". He means, as I am sure you can guess, that it is soaked in the scent of the human who sleeps in it.

When you observe your cat, you see how they check out everything with their nose when they approach new things. Domestic cats recognise objects through their sense of smell. The notice things visually and then they confirm what they're seeing through the odour that it gives off. The point being that the smell of things is highly important to domestic cats. It is of equal importance to their sight.

When my cat approaches me, for example in the kitchen, after I have got up, he might sniff my leg. He knows me obviously incredibly well but he still likes to have a little sniff just to reassure himself. Cat owners need to focus on how to satisfy that olfactory element in the lives of domestic cats. It is a big part of their lives and so is getting into the bedroom at night.

How many cats scratch at the bedroom door trying to get in at night? I wonder if cat owners are as disturbed by that is they might be by their cat being on their bed?

Thursday 6 March 2014

Why does my cat rub my leg?

Why does my cat rub my leg? This was a very common question about cat behaviour. People may still ask the question and the answer is quite straightforward, so I will keep it short.

Cats also rub against objects to leave scent to make
the place more friendly. Photo by Drab Makyo

When a cat rubs against our legs she transfers some of her scent that is on her to us and some of our scent is transferred to her. This is called “sent exchange". So why do cats do it? Well, cats depend upon their sense of smell far more than we do. If the place smells friendly it is friendly. For us, if the place looks friendly, it is friendly, or it usually is and we use our eyes to ascertain that, whereas the cat uses her nose. Perhaps the cat uses her nose because it is more sensitive than her eyes. The domestic cat's nose is far more sensitive than ours but the domestic cat's eyesight is less good than ours.

The cat deposits her scent on us to make the environment in which she lives more friendly. Our sent on her is a merging of body odour which is an act of friendship, which once again makes the place where she lives more friendly. Perhaps, sent exchange is is analogous to a kiss between human beings as that too is an exchange and a merger.

In short, therefore, the cat rubs against our legs to make the place where she lives more friendly and the relationship between us and her also more friendly. It is often called an act of friendship but is a little bit more than that, in fact.

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