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Feline Friday: Kitty Communication & How Cats Read

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Cats always seem drawn to sit on top of books.

TGIFF…Feline Friday, that is. In honor of TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET week, I’m re-running a blog (with a few updates) that some of my newest subscribers may not have seen. Enjoy!

Do your cats know how to read? Well of COURSE they do. I suspect our felines subscribe to the Kitty Manual on Rooling Humanz or wouldn’t have such a uniform method of intervention.

They simply sit on the page (or the E-reader), and absorb the text through their (ahem) nether regions. Just check out Wall-E, in the picture “reading” my first-aid book. Kitties want to be prepared. *s* What do YOUR cat’s read?

Speaking of being prepared, if you have a new kitten over the summer I’m sure you’re making the right next paw-steps to properly socialize the little fur-kid. Cats can be trained (yes, they can!) at any age, and continue to learn throughout their lives. But kittens are furry sponges that absorb lessons, both good and bad, at an incredible pace.


Kittens are works in progress--and need help with socialization!

This prime kitten socialization period is a narrow window during babyhood when learning the “wrong” lessons can emotionally cripple the cat. For example, kittens not exposed to positive experiences with humans during this period will be wild (feral) critters and never accept people. Well actually they MAY accept a very patient and loving human who makes extra effort, but they won’t be the “pet-able” kitties we long to snuggle. Proper socialization teaches a cat how to be a cat, proper feline manners, how to communicate with other felines, and who the cat’s friends and enemies are.

The age when kittens are most receptive is two-to-seven weeks. That’s about the age of this gorgeous baby in Maria Magnus photo, above. Have your new kittens been properly socialized? How did you manage this? Proper socialization can be very helpful in getting them to visit the vet with the least amount of trauma!

Kittens tend to be snuggle-pusses. But adult cats can be puzzling when it comes to wanting attention. Or does your cat ask to be petted and then walk away and wait j-u-s-t out of reach, playing keep away for you to come to her? Seren does this, and I know other readers also experience “kitty keep away” behavior. She’ll move enough that I need to take a step, bend over and reach to pet again-whereupon she again tippy-toe dances a finger’s width away. I’ve seen cats (including Seren) do this over and over and over. Find out the reasons behind this behavior here.

I suspect that a future blog will cover the pushing “Velcro” kitties that pester constantly for attention. Is there a happy middle with kitties? Naw….that would be boring!


I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, 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.

9 responses »

  1. Our cats seems to like “reading” magazines and newspapers more than books. Oh, and catalogs. I mean, it has the word cat in it, so that means it’s for them, right?

    We had one cat when I was a kid who was a little confused I suspect, and was not taught to read properly, for instead of sitting atop the newspaper to absorb it, she would climb under it and sleep there. Of course, this same cat also had a habit of staring for hours on end at a particular point on the wall in the hallway – a habit which we eventually assumed to be her contacting the Mother Ship to take her home to whatever planet she came from.

  2. Oh! On a side note to kitty keep-away… does anybody else have cats that are OBSESSED with following them to the bathroom? Almost every cat I’ve known seems to have this thing for begging for attention at a rather, ah, inconvenient time. LOL I suspect they consider it a captive audience. I always ask Simba why it is she gets all upset if you so much as glance her way when she’s on the litterbox, yet it’s perfectly okay for her to pester me when I’m on mine. I have yet to get an answer. 😉

    Of course, both kitties have been trying to figure out what the heck the fascination is with that box full of wet stuff. I guess they can’t understand why humans bathe in water instead of just licking themselves like a proper animal. LOL

    • Hey Karyl, I wrote a column last year on the ‘bathroom buddies’ behavior:

      Seren likes to stand on the outside of the shower glass door and “dig” to get inside…but she doesn’t appreciate actually getting inside with all that (yuck!) water, LOL!

      • Well, the coolness factor can be ruled out because our main bathroom is actually carpeted (we don’t know why either). The behavior chain is kind of a loss too, because I usually finish breakfast in the morning before being awake enough to check the cat bowls. They don’t perch on the vanity at all, just purr and wander on in and nudge for pets. LOL Only thing that makes sense is the captive audience part. I find it funny, with Simba, she wanders up and as soon as I reach for the toilet paper, she leaves. I don’t mind it, I just find it amusing that she always seems to follow me.

      • (on a side note, though, one of my mom’s old cats apparently crept in behind my sister and scared her when he jumped into the bathtub and started splashing around LOL)

        • Seren used to play in the empty bathtub all the time. I put a Ping Pong ball inside (so I didn’t have to fish it out from under furniture!) and she could bat it around all day if she wanted.

          Then one day I ran water in the tub and she didn’t realize it…came running into the bathroom, leaped into the tub…and then LEVITATED out!

          Some breeds love splashing in the water, like Turkish Vans and Bengals. Seren was not amused. (but I was *eg*)

          • Shoebee liked playing in the FULL bathtub. He also used to dip his paws in the toilet (we had to keep the lid shut) and hus water bowl.

            Anubis, now he drinks from the empty bathtub. Then gets sick. *facepalm* No idea what’s so appealing about stagnant, soapy leftover bathwater… especially when they have THREE WATER BOWLS. lol


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