Here are a few answers to many cat behaviors and characteristics which are human curiosities, but a normal part of life for cats.
Why Do Cats Retract Their Claws?
They pull in their claws to protect them and to keep them sharp. They need to be kept sharp for hunting and to mark their territory as well. When scratching, sweat glands between the paw pads secrete a scent transferred to the tree trunk or other object (possibly furniture if a house cat). This is how the cat identifies the scratched area as his own. In the animal kingdom, the cat’s retractable claws are his most remarkable feature. When the legs are extended, the paws automatically expand to extraordinary size and the claws appear.
What Makes Cats Appear Cuddly?
The cat has a toasty body temperature of 102°. A good percentage of the nutrients he gets from his daily food intake (approximately 30 percent) is devoted to making his skin and coat supple and fuzzy.
Why Do Cats Like to Sleep in the Sun?
Cats like to feel warm and secure before they fall to sleep. They also use the sunlight to help make up the slight drop in body temperature that happens once they fall asleep. Some cats will change their sleep positions to follow the movement of the sun.
Why Does Catnip Make Cats Act Crazy?
Their wacky, daydreamy state is a response to the herb’s powerful natural chemical, trans nepetalactone. It’s almost identical to the essence excreted by female cats, which is why tom cats seem to love catnip the most. However, this doesn’t explain why females love it as well. Catnip was once thought to be an aphrodisiac, but scientific tests have squelched that theory. Cats aren’t attracted to it until they are at least two months old. If introduced to catnip prior to this age, most cats will not respond to it at all when they are older. The herb valerian will give cats the same sense of ecstasy as catnip. Valerian is a mild stimulant and, though it doesn’t do any harm, it shouldn’t be offered to cats with kidney ailments. By the way, both catnip and valerian produce ecstasy through the odor, not the taste.
Why Do Cats Shed?
It’s their way of going from their winter coat into a summer one. Less hair means a cooler body. Cats lose more hair in summer months because the increased light from longer days triggers the shedding process. The average house cat will also shed more because of electric lights, even the light from a TV screen. Stress and illness add yet other factors to cause more shedding.
Why Do Cats Shed Their Claws?
Cats are the only animals who walk directly on their claws, not on their paws. It would be like humans walking on the tips of their fingers. Getting around on tiptoe, called digitigrade, is a particularly useful feature when it comes to moving at high speeds. Being the great hunter that they are, they need to keep this skill very sharp. Contrary to popular belief, manicuring their nails on your furniture is not out of malice or sharpening the claws. Cats are tearing off the ragged edges of the sheaths of their talons when scratching. All year long, they shed their claws to expose new sharp ones beneath. Claws aren’t just for protection. They are responsible for the cat’s exquisite balance and feats such as climbing, stretching, running, and grooming. Declawing not only physically afflicts a cat, but he is also psychologically anguished, deprived of his only defense and one of his most versatile tools for survival.
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