April 20, 2013

The True Nature of Cats, Part 4

This is the final post (of four) of my The True Nature of Cats experience at Purina ONE headquarters. Here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Before I went to visit Purina ONE, we were asked if we had any questions for their experts about our cats. I had quite a few questions, and it was great to get answers to them. Here are a few Q&A's.

Q. What is the best food for a cat that is missing a lot of teeth? (Paolo only has a few teeth)
A. Although one would think soft food is the only option, most cats can eat even dry food without teeth.  I would recommend canned food for the water content since cats get most of their water from their food.

Q. How can I estimate the age of my (stray) cats that I took in?
A. Unfortunately, unless the cat is over  10 years old and showing wear on the teeth, it’s very difficult to determine the age of adult cats by looking at them.

This is Paolo exactly as we found him in our shed. You can't tell because
of all his fur, but he was SO skinny. We have no clue how old he is!
Q. How can I keep my cats from clawing up my new carpet? I must have a dozen scratching posts, but Estelle and Phoebe prefer to scratch my carpet.
A. It sounds like your cats like the texture of carpet and scratching on horizontal surfaces.
  • Purchase carpet remnants of a different color and brightness than your carpet. This way, your cats can learn where it is okay to scratch.
  • Spray the new carpet remnants with catnip oil, and put them in areas where your cat likes to scratch. 
  • Reward your cat for scratching the remnants with praise and treats. Say "Ahhhhk" each time your cat scratches your regular carpet to disrupt the scratching.
 I really wish there was some way to find out how old Paolo is, but I guess we'll never know! I love the idea of different colored carpet remnants for scratching

Since this is my last cat post in the series, I thought I'd share a few tidbits that I found interesting, but just didn't really fit in anywhere else:
  • When cats brush past each other in passing, and curl their tail over the top of the other cat's back, it is a cat's way of giving a hug. (I never used to notice this before, but now I've seen it a few times! Paolo does it with Chandler, and Estelle has done it with Chandler as well.)
  • When cats roll around, belly-up, they are desiring affection and play. It's a good time to interact with your cat. 
  • If you are interacting with your cat, and your cat is biting your hand (whether playing or not), your cat may be overstimulated. Try petting one area (say, under your cat's chin) very softly and slowly and see if she doesn't stop biting. This is worked WONDERS with Phoebe! She used to wrap her paws around our hands and then start biting and kicking her back legs, scratching the heck out of us, while she "played". I discovered she was overstimulated by the type of play we were doing, and when I started just petting her very softly in one spot, she immediately stops doing it.
  • If your cat is taking things and moving them around your house, it could be a predatory instinct; they may be using it to replace a prey they would find in nature. In nature, they would kill something and bring it back; in the house, they may find it lying around somewhere and bring it to you. (Chandler used to do this constantly with my kids' baby socks--I would find them everywhere).
  • Like people, cats can suffer from chronic stress. This stress can cause them to be aggressive, not using the litter box. excessive grooming or meowing. Common stressors for domestic cats are: boredom, new pets in the home, obstructed paths to the litter box or feeding area, unwanted contact, or unclean areas. Chances are, if you change these things to make your cat happy, then your cat will stop the bad behaviors.
 I've had my cats on their new diet for about three weeks, and they're doing really well. I honestly wasn't expecting to see a change in them at all, but since I got them on a feeding routine and started playing with them properly, they seem so much more energetic and happy. Chandler has always been very lazy, but he's been really playful--and he's now 24 pounds, meaning he's lost a pound this month! I've even seen Paolo playing a little bit, which he never used to do. Phoebe and Estelle LOVE the new play times--they get really excited when I bring out their favorite toy (the feather wand thing). 
Phoebe always rolls on her back when she's feeling playful

Last week, I asked you to e-mail a photo of your cat in his/her true nature (where they like to hide or hang out). My boys looked through all the pictures and chose their favorite one:

That is Fozzie, hanging out in the dishwasher ;)  Congrats, Fozzie! You'll be getting a coupon for a free case of Purina ONE wet food! 

Over the past three weeks I've gotten a ton of cat pictures submitted for the giveaways, and it's been so fun to see them all! My boys narrowed it down each week, to a total of three cats, and now those cats have a chance of winning a box of toys and puzzle feeders (courtesy of Purina ONE). I'm leaving this choice up to all of you! Choose your favorite picture, and the winner will receive the box of goodies. You can vote on the poll below, and I will accept votes until Wednesday, April 24th at 4:00 PM EST.  Here are the photos:




Please choose your favorite photo--Kiwi, Lincoln, or Fozzie? (Please only vote once)


  1. I don't have cats but I have really enjoyed reading this series. Very interesting.

  2. Thank you Katie, Noah, and Eli for picking my cat!

  3. Wow. I've learned so much from all of this. Thank you!

  4. I really enjoyed reading all the little cat tidbits. I only have one cat but a lot of the things you wrote about made a lot of sense. Thanks :)

  5. My cat has this stuffed bear that I got her when she was a kitten; she loves playing with it. From time to time I will come home and find the bear sitting in the kitchen by the door. I could never understand this before, but now I wonder if she's not presenting me with her "kill" for when I come home. Perhaps I should be more appreciative :) Thanks for the info!!


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