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Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Neat Freaks & Nasty Gifts

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12-12 persian kitten 2

Persians can be a grooming challenge.

We cherish the cat’s fastidious nature, and I’ve blogged before about the consequences–hairballs, ew!  But neatnik behavior goes beyond looking good. How and why cats groom impacts physical, emotional and social health. Kittens learn to lick themselves by 2 weeks of age using copycat behavior, and a slovenly mother will raise kitten slobs.

Are your cats neatniks, or slobs? Seren has a very specific grooming routine, ever since she arrived as a four-month-0ld stray. Most times kittens wash themselves by the time they are weaned, and adults spend up to 50 percent of their awake time in some form of grooming. You can learn WHY are cats such OCD groomers in the rest of my NEATNESS FREAKS article at Paw Nation.

By the way, I’ll be sending in suggestions for future Paw Nation topics. Have any suggestions (dog or kitty?). Please share! No guarantees, but I aims ta pleeze. And if not there, the topic could be a future Ask Amy.

So does it seem counter-intuitive for some tidy creatures to indulge in playing mousy games with critter entrails? Ew, again! Do your cats bring you special gifts? The few times that a mouse managed to get into the house, Seren simply watched it run by with only passing curiosity. She does attack crickets with relish, though, and leaves the buggy drumsticks behind. I think one reason many of us adore cats is they’re just a paw-step away from that wild-child creature, so it’s like bringing nature closer into our lives.

The Ask Amy video offers a couple of reasons why cats bring us gifts–but what do you think?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

8 responses »

  1. Hi Amy!
    I once received a bird from KatyCat. It was an obvious gift, & he was proud of himself & was showing off. I freaked, but now I know better.

    You may have already addressed this, so please point me in the right direction. My cat Duchess loves grass. So I grow it for her in a pot, & I’ve come to learn to cut blades into tiny bits to add to her food.Otherwise, she spits up whole blades of grass that won’t digest. But why does she want it so much? She’s um, regular… I feed her the indoor greens type of dry food, with a spoonful of can a.m. & p.m.
    I feel a little silly cutting up blades of grass, but otherwise I’m cleaning carpet.

    • Hi Pamela, KatyCat must think VERY highly of you. *s* There are cats who bring in live critters…a friend’s cat once brought in a baby snake (harmless) and really had a party, LOL!

      That’s a great question re: grass for a future Ask Amy. There are many theories about why cats (and dogs) eat grass but bottom line…they must like the taste. *s*

      • Well, being the only other girl in the house with all these guys I live with, I spoil her rotten.

        *sigh* All of my cats through the years have thought highly of me, as you said lol! Never received a snake, but bird, bird eggs, mice, and something dead & unidentifiable (yuk!).

        I should be so lucky with my sons….

        • My mom put up with a lot from us kids. Growing up on the river, we constantly brought home turtles, toads, snakes…baby birds sometimes. But we did leave the dead stuff alone. *eg*

  2. Our indoor tabby cat, Isadora, brought me a straw bird ornament from the Christmas tree last year. She carefully placed it on my pillow! The year before, she put an ornament in one of my boots. She was only an outdoor cat when she was very young, before she was weaned. Do you think this is a cat instinct?

  3. Hi Kathleen,
    What a sweet Isadora-kitty! Yes, I think it’s an instinct but also the ability to hunt is taught by Mom-cats and honed by practice. Some kitties seem to become experts at bird-swacking (knocking out of the air) while others perfect the paw-fishing technique. Interesting that she chose a bird-style ornament for a pillow gift. My Seren-kitty used to put her sparkl-ball toys in our shoes, too. I think they choose the gift-location very specifically, too–places they associate with their favorite people. Both your pillow and your boots carry YOUR signature scent, so this appears to have been very intentional. Neat!

  4. Oh, my cats are mousers. Red, my kitty growing up, would catch them in the garage and bring them inside. He’d always set the mouse on the carpet, and look at us like “didn’t I do great?!” Then he’d eat everything except the head and tail….always fun cleaning up. My Shady has only been used to mouse hunt once, but he mastered it…he didn’t bring me any presents though. He just enjoyed himself. 🙂

  5. I’ve got these kewl “Play ‘N Squeak” cat toys that actually SOUNDS like a live mouse for Seren. I prefer the non-edible ones for indoors plays. Live ones are “outdoor toys.” *eg* And Seren isn’t allowed outdoors so…


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