Thursday 13 January 2022

Cats can make a demand in a meow even though they do not want anything

You may have met with this somewhat baffling feline behaviour. I'll describe what my cat does. In fact, he did it about an hour ago when I came in from buying a newspaper. My cat and I have set up a routine. When I come in the front door he expects me to give him some prawns - a treat. 

Cats can make a demand in a meow even though they do not want anything
Cats can make a demand in a meow even though they do not want anything. Image: MikeB

And over the years this has created habitual behaviour; a pattern of behaviour which includes a request by my cat in the form of a meow for prawns. The point is though that he will still meow and ask for prawns even though he does not want them.

I can put them in a bowl and he can go up to them and licked them but he won't eat because he is not hungry enough to eat them. His meows are simply part of the scenario that both my cat and myself have created. Part of that interaction is that he meows for food. It can be a 'hollow' meaningless meow for food when he is not hungry and has no desire to eat it.

This is an example of where habits and routines outstrip reality. The players, humans and cats, create a situation in which the players do certain things and it no longer matters that the objective of the routine is unviable. The routine is the objective not the goal. 

The end result is that I have to put the prawns back in the box and put the box back in the fridge. I will bring them out at another time when I think that his demands are genuine. Although of course it is almost impossible to make an accurate decision about that.

It is a classic case of informal positive reinforcement training. The instigating action is my arrival at home. My cat gets an urge to eat prawns as it has been positively reinforced in him to do that. He has been rewarded for asking for prawns. He gets them which reinforces further his behaviour.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Domestic cats prefer underfloor heating to radiators

I have come to the decision that domestic cats prefer underfloor heating to radiators. To the best of my knowledge, underfloor heating is fairly unusual. I just happened to have it and I love it. Don't think that it is more expensive than conventional heating because it is not. The boiler runs for longer in the morning when it heats up the floor but once it is heated up the boiler is not required to work for the next 22 hours because the floor retains the heat. And it is this retention of heat which helps to maintain a very stable air temperature inside the home even during cold nights in winter. But this is not about me. It's about my cat. 

Domestic cats prefer underfloor heating to radiators
Domestic cats prefer underfloor heating to radiators. Photo: MikeB.

As you can see in the photograph he loves underfloor heating. It's unusual for a cat to plonk himself down in the middle of a kitchen like this and curl up on the floor because it is a bit too exposed. Cats like to find a quiet place, preferably high up, where they feel secure. This location does not meet that requirement. However, it does meet the requirement of warmth. This floor is warm. It's hard which is not great either for him but despite those downsides he has decided to rest there and but for the fact that I photographed him, which disturbed him, I think he'd be there right now.

I realise that you can't use those radiator hammocks which are quite popular with domestic cats and which are attached to radiators which heat the air in the room. But when the whole ground floor is underfloor heated (except for the hallway) a cat has a lot of choice as to where to put themselves. It opens up some added options for a resting place for a domestic cat.

I would recommend underfloor heating if you are buying a house with it and are uncertain about its functionality. It functions very well. I can vouch for that. And the heating bill is no more than for standard heating using radiators. Further, you have all that extra wall space because radiators take wall space away from a room. The walls are completely sheer in my home. You can put furniture where ever you want to.

Sunday 9 January 2022

WATCH: Cat survives leap from burning building. Two reasons why and how.

This is a classic example of how a domestic cat both relies on their skill to slow down the speed of descent when they fall from a great height by fanning out their body like a flying squirrel and on good luck. You can see clearly that this black cat falls onto a nice, spongy patch of long green, lush grass. It didn't have to be like that. It was pure good luck. Often they fall onto concrete. 

We all know about the self-righting mechanism of the domestic cat. There is, actually, an optimum height for a domestic cats to fall which maximises their chance of survival. This gives the cat the time to reach the slowest velocity and of course to fully self-right so that they land on all fours. They end up, if injured, with broken jaws and legs and chest injuries.

RELATED: Longest non-lethal fall in feline history.

Many domestic cat survive these high falls even onto a hard surface but many don't. I remember in Singapore they have 250 domestic cat falls like this from high rise apartments annually and about half of them die. In Singapore a very high percentage of citizens live in high-rise apartments which are government owned. There is clearly a need in Singapore to address this catastrophe.

RELATED: Singapore: 250 cats fall from high rise apartments every year. Fifty percent die on impact.

It is a pointer to one of the great dangers of domestic cats living in apartment blocks. How do cats end up falling out of windows from these apartments? I can think of a couple of reasons. There is a balcony and they are allowed to go on the balcony. There are no protective barriers on the balcony and cats being inquisitive push their luck and jump up onto the railings and fall off. They make a mistake essentially. Cats are very good at not making mistakes and they are very athletic but they are not 100% guaranteed to achieve their objective. They take risks.

Another possibility is that their owners play with their cat. The window is open. The window is quite low lying near the floor. The cat jumps up excitedly. The cat jumps through the window, inadvertently. Bye-bye cat 😢. 

There are obviously many other possibilities but, of course, ultimately it comes down to human caregiving. How good is it? How much attention is paid to the possibility of their cat falling off a balcony or out of a window to the ground? These accidents can only happen ultimately through human carelessness.

Video caption: A dramatic leap to safety by a frightened feline was caught on camera by Chicago firefighters. After bouncing on the grass, the cat just walked away.

Your cat does hear when you call. It's just ignoring you, study says. True or False?

I remember this study well. And I think they have missed out a crucial element of the domestic cat's psyche and behaviour. It is not that domestic cats simply want to ignore their owner who loves them so much. It is that domestic cats can, sometimes, take their time in processing a request to come to them by their owner. And they can take time to respond to their owner's requests with respect to other invitations. It's a matter of cognitive processing, no more or less. It's a topic that is hardly ever discussed. It goes to cat intelligence which is sometimes discussed in an entertaining way.

Another point is that sometimes cats generally don't want to interact with their owner. It is not that they are ignoring their owner it is simply that they have their own free will. They receive the call to come and decide against it. Simple 😊. The same applies to people and therefore we cannot criticise domestic cats for an attitude which is very commonplace in their human caregivers.

RELATED: Cats don’t respond to your voice. True or false? I expand on the discussion in this linked post.

In fact, the human caregivers of cats do not respond to their cats' calls sometime. Same thing. The key is to give your cat time. Patience is a great quality in people when they interact with their domestic cat companions. In all respects of living with a feline. Patience, respect, gentleness, calm and acceptance are all good attitudes to have.

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Tampa, Florida: cat food shortage leads to empty shelves

The video explains it. I am in a bit of a rush so won't add many words 😉. Hope you don't mind. Heck of course you don't mind. Hardly anyone is reading the stuff anyway. This is an interesting Covid development. There is no doubt that the pandemic has distorted commerce. It has created pressures and pinch points. It has disrupted supply chains. And demand and supply has been altered. Demand post pandemic has significantly increased while supply has been disrupted due to employee absenteeism due to illness and isolations. And there have been shipping problems with increased container cost. All there has been a truck driver shortage. That certainly applies to the UK and I think to the USA as well.

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

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