Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why Did My Cat Bite Me?

Cats are not stuffed toys

A lot of parents surprise their young children with kittens or puppies as Christmas or other holiday presents before they teach their children how to treat animals.

Growing up we always had 3-4 cats and my parents explained to me the body language of cats when I was very young. They also explained that pets are not stuffed toys, they're living, breathing, feeling creatures and because they can't talk like humans, they let us know how they feel in their own language. If we pay attention to their signals and respect them, we could develop a beautiful relationship with them.

A while back a friend, Mary, told me that she adopted an older cat from the shelter and the cat bit her hand.
"I'm not gonna keep her!" she fumed. "I'm taking her back tomorrow."
"Give her a few days, maybe she's just frightened and not used to her new home yet."
"It's a cat for Pete's sake! They eat, poop, play, and sleep."
"Sounds like you never had a cat before."
"No, because my husband was allergic. But he's gone for two years now and I'm lonely. I thought a cat would be a good companion, but not this one. Betty's cat is so friendly. When I visit, her cat climbs on my lap as soon as I sit down and purrs. It's so relaxing."
"Well, cats have different personalities, just like people."
"But she was friendly and sat on my lap when I visited her in the shelter twice. But when I brought her home, let her out of the carrier and picked her up, she bit me."
"What did she do before she bit you?"
"She just stood there looking at me sideways, and then she turned her back on me and started sweeping the floor with her tail. She looked nervous so I tried to comfort her and reached for her."
"That's a good indication that the cat is irritated. What did you do?"
"When I touched her she crouched down and hissed at me. I picked her up thinking that it would calm her down, but she bit my hand and scratched my arm. And then she jumped to the floor, ran away and hid under the bed."

Since then, Mary had learned to recognize the body language of her cat and they developed a trusting relationship. Whiskers turned out to be a great companion. She's playful and friendly when not frightened or irritated, and she purrs on Mary's lap for hours when they relax. They watch TV together and listen to music in the evenings. Mary found out that Whisker's favorite composer is Puccini and loves listening to Madame Butterfly.
The basic body language of cats

I write alternate history, romantic urban fantasy, historical suspense novels as well as fun, educational, and bilingual books for children ages 2-14 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them. 

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