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Category Archives: Animals & Birds

Cat Communication – What is Your Cat Trying to Tell You?

We tend to think of cats as being very proud animals. Unlike dogs, they do not show their affection all that obviously; and there is a good chance you may have from time to time believed your cat is thinking something along the lines of “I am tired of you human slave, I am going to eat you while you sleep”, as that can sometimes be how they appear.

Actually cats are quite more complicated than some people give them credit for, and they do love their owners unconditionally, but they are just not so expressive about it. Knowing what’s on your cat’s mind at any given time, though, is very important if you want to enjoy a long, happy and loving relationship with your furry friend.

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Let’s discuss the “talking” part first. Did you know that cats produce almost 100 different vocalization types whereas a dog’s vocabulary is limited to about 20? Here are the most common things you will hear:

Meowing is defined by Oxford’s dictionary as “the characteristic crying sound of a cat”. Cats only meow to people and it can mean plenty of things depending on the intensity and volume. For example, a “hello” meow will be much quieter than a “feed me” or “let me outside” meow.

Mew’s Oxford definition is “(of a cat or gull) make a characteristic high-pitched crying noise”. Cats use that to identify themselves to another cat or locate that cat.

Growling is defined as “make a low guttural sound of hostility in the throat”. Cats produce that noise when they are warning you to stay away.

Hissing’s definition is “make a sharp sibilant sound as of the letter s”. Cats use that when they are feeling defensive and want to drive an enemy away.

Spitting is defined as “(of a cat) make a hissing noise as a sign of anger or hostility”. It resembles popping as a sound and it happens when the cat is surprised or if she feels threatened.

Screeching (“give a loud, harsh, piercing cry”) or shrieking (“make a high-pitched screeching sound”) may appear in a number of situations – if a cat is in a defensive mode, if it is being aggressive, if it is angry, or if it feels pain.

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Chirping (“make a short, sharp, high-pitched sound”) is how cats greet you in a friendly manner.

Trilling is defined as “produce a quavering or warbling sound”. It is a sure sign of happiness.

Chattering means “make a series of short, quick high-pitched sounds”. Cats do that when they see pray but they can’t reach it. It expresses their excitement.

Yowling (“make a loud wailing cry”) is a sound that may express an array of different feelings like disorientation, fright, anxiousness, or confusion.

Moaning means “make a long, low sound”. It sounds rather sad and cats usually produce it just before they vomit.

Purring is “make a low continuous vibratory sound”. When a cat produces that noise it may signify either illness or contentment. Did you know that when cats purr they speed up their healing process?

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You can also read your cat’s mood in her eyes.

When a cat is not blinking it is either being defensive or it is challenging you or another cat.

When the cat’s pupils are round it means that she is interested in something, excited about something, or that she is afraid of something.

If the cat’s pupils suddenly dilate she may be on the verge of launching an attack.

If the cat’s eyes are slowly closing or if her eyelids are drooping, that means that she is relaxed and she trusts you.

Another very important body part in reading your cat’s mood is the tail.

A puffy tail is a sign of defensive mode.

If the cat holds its tail straight up it means that it is in a friendly mood.

If the cat’s tail is tucked around the body, it may show either contentment or it may be designed to tell you to leave the cat alone.

If the tail is slightly flicking it means that the cat is thinking about something and has not yet decided what to do.

If the flicking is sudden and rapid it shows agitation or anxiety.

If the tail is constantly flicking it means that the cat does not like something in its surroundings.

If the tail is thumping back off. The cat is frustrated and may attack.

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Cats have a very interesting way of shaping their tail like a question mark. It has the exact same meaning it does for humans – interest and curiosity.

If the cat is holding its tail between its legs it shows a submissive position.

And here are some overall states which your cat’s body language may be portraying:

If your cat is feeling relaxed and it is in a friendly mood, its ears will be pointed forward, the tail will be in an upright position, or relaxed, the fur will be flat and the whiskers straight.

If your cat is annoyed by something, the tip of its tail will be twitching; the whiskers will be positioned close to the face and the ears close to the head.

If your cat is aggressive it will be staring directly at the object of the aggression with narrow pupils and the tail and back hair will be puffy.

If your cat is scared of something it will have the tail and back hair raised, it will hold its tail close to its body and the whiskers and ears will be held close to the head. You may observe sideways crouching.

If your cat is sick its eyes will be semi-closed, the tail will be positioned between the legs and the ears and whiskers will be in strange positions.

In order to understand what your cat is trying to tell you, you have to be able to recognize all those signs and read them in combination as a lot of them are ambiguous in significance. Once you’ve figured them out though, you will be able to ensure your cats and your own happiness with ease.

Rita Rova is a cat lover and writes about her passion on behalf of www.Oz-Coupons.com – the Australian coupon code website that lists all the latest discounts on pet supplies from top Australian Pet Stores.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Animals & Birds

 

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The Do and Don’t List Concerning Dog Aggression

It is embarrassing to be the owner of the proverbial bad dog. While the dog is great at home with you and the kids, he is a terror around strangers and other dogs, and don’t even think about messing with his food bowl. If any of this sounds familiar, then we’ve got the list for you (and your naughty hound) to help get that aggression under control.

DO claim your place as alpha dog. Many aggression issues are actually a pecking-order concern at the cause. Your dog is alpha so he is setting the rules, and all the other dogs and people rank beneath him.

DON’T let him win his food; have him sit first so he knows what behavior is required to earn his meal. If you hand over that food to the sound of his snarls and growls, then that will become the behavior he believes is necessary and acceptable to gain his meal and warn the other animals and people in his pack to eat somewhere else.

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DO teach him to walk on a leash and obey your pace and commands. This may prove vital in an unexpected aggressive outburst from your dog or even another hound altogether. Teaching your aggressive dog to walk next to you will help keep you in a position of dominance. If he is permitted to lead, then he may take that position literally.

DO socialize your pup, and this is best done early! Before your puppy is 6 months old, he should have encountered numerous animals and people of all ages, ethnicity, and both men and women. If you always shelter your dog from other animals and people, then you’ll never have an aggressive or protective behavioral issue; but you’ll also never be able to take him around other animals and people without risking an aggressive incident. Socializing your dog to various situations allows for more risks but also more opportunities to teach the appropriate behavior permitted.

DO let him off leash when possible. Dogs may test each other for a bit, but if you let them run around together on neutral territory the squabbles usually work themselves out a lot quicker than you may think.

DON’T skimp on the training. Maybe you think your dog only needs to know how to sit and stay, but when aggressive behaviors become a threat, dish out the money to pay a professional for help before your dog does the worst! Specialized training can get expensive, but then again, so can medical bills.

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DO monitor children. Even the most timid of dogs can snap when triggered. And, the majority of dog bites are to children and elderly. Children need to be taught gentleness even while your dog is taught tenderness. Just like a playful dog can accidentally knock over a child, a playful child can squeal or tug in a manner that sets off an aggressive response.

DON’T ignore the warning signs. When Rover flashes those “help me” eyes, it is time to separate him from the high energy puppy who only wants to play. A growl can quickly escalate to more, but dogs rarely bite without giving some kind of warning beforehand.

Dr. Susan Wright DMV is a veterinarian with more than a decade of experience. Susan is a writer and serves as a dog bark collar expert. Dr. Wright and her staff share their love of dogs both professionally and personally by writing informational and entertaining pieces on the proper care of domestic animals.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Animals & Birds

 

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What You Should Know About Adopting a Shy, Frightened Dog

With the number of stray animals in the world and hundreds of thousands of them are put to death each year, it is no wonder humanity has wrapped its arms around rescuing dogs through groups or shelters. It is a way to meet the needs of both the animal, that needs a second chance at life and the companionship people crave. Adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue group is not always a walk through a meadow, it can be hard in helping the animal come to terms with its past and adjust properly. Often time’s people may find their newly adopted dog is shy and even frightened in different scenarios. If this is the case, check out the ideas below to learn how to help your newly adopted pet overcome his or her shyness and develop into the fun-loving pet you know they really are.

Quality Time

The best way to help your new shy dog adjust is to spend some good old-fashioned quality time with your dog. Allow your dog to become comfortable with you and his new surroundings and understand that you are the new alpha dog that will fulfill all of his needs and desires. Spend time on the ground playing with your dog and working on simple obedience commands like “sit” and “stay”.

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If you find that even after time with you, that your dog still shies away from certain people, place or things you may need to help socialize your dog to break through his uncomfortable feelings with those situations.

Socializing

For a dog to be well rounded, it is important that the dog be around to different people, animals and places. This is an important process for all dogs not just the one that is already nervous and shy. That being said, you should introduce your dog to socialization slowly and consistently to help your dog gain more confidence in uncertain situations.

People

If your dog is nervous around strangers or certain types of people (men, women or races) invite someone of that stature to help break the ice, so to speak, and teach your dog that there is nothing to fear. In a confined area, have the person offer a treat while not making eye contact, as that is less intimidating for your dog. You can be in the room, but should not react or try to comfort your dog – as this helper needs to be the main source of comfort and praise for the dog. Any small accomplishment should be rewarded with a treat. Depending on how frightened your dog is, this process may take a few weeks to work, however consistency is the key to accomplishing this socialization.

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If your dog is nervous around other animals or dogs, you may want to enlist the help of a professional, or an very calm and relaxed dog. Like socializing with people, the dogs should be placed in a room with leashes and collars and just be asked to coexist, as the dogs become more confident around each other they should be rewarded and you can begin trying to unleash them. Please note you should never try to socialize a frightened dog that has not had obedience training, as there will be a time when you will need to control your dog by voice only. Again, it is best to leave this scenario to a professional.

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Places

If your dog becomes nervous around new places, it is important to get out with your dog more often. Simply start by taking more walks in your neighborhood. Try new routes and make sure that you are relaxed when walking your dog. As your dog becomes more comfortable in the neighborhood, look into visiting other areas that you can also take your dog for secluded exercise. Eventually, work your dog up to running errands with you and even visiting a local dog park! Again, make sure you reward your dog for small accomplishments – always keep the treats handy.

Patience is Important

Remember to be patient as you work on correcting your dog’s shyness, it is a process and you never know what has happened in your dog’s past that may be causing his extreme caution and uncertainty. It is best to work on your dog’s schedule, read his cues and advance once he has become comfortable to a situation, and most importantly remain persistent in his socialization skills.

A devoted veterinarian, dedicating her professional career to the care of family pets. Susan Wright, DMV is a dog bark collar expert and has authored books focusing on dogs and their care.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Animals & Birds

 

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