Are cats really evil and how do we fix them?

Superstition aside, many South Africans just dislike cats for reasons which are actually common. We feel that they need to be fixed and the best way to fix them is to fix the expectations we have of them. With a better perspective, we can nurture fruitful relationships with our feline friends. Let’s look at some of the issues people have with cats and the realities behind them.

My cat doesn’t play with me

Cats play in their very own unique way. They will play with you, just not like dogs do. A misconception that many South Africans make is that they are unfriendly and possibly boring when they grow up, but it is more likely that they simply don’t understand your game. Getting a stick toy or laser toy (not to be used alone as it can cause anxiety) can be a great way to simulate hunting situations which can get your cat active and fulfilled.

My cat bites people’s legs

This one is kiiiind of your fault. Let me explain why. You’ve surely seen videos of lions play-fighting with their kids. Alongside honing their ability to hunt, this playing allows cats to understand the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. When a kitten is removed from its family and you become its new family, you’re the new teacher. We are all guilty of it, but the biggest mistake you can make is play-fighting with your kitten with your hands (especially without boundaries!) We find it cute so keep doing it, not realizing that we’ve made our kitten think our hands or feet are “prey.” A good way to satiate the instinct to hunt in our cat is to get appropriate toys and play with them before meal times.

My cat doesn’t like visitors

Cats are comfort-zoning royalty. Maybe your visitor sat in their spot or made a gesture which the cat found to be threatening. Maybe you moved the table across the room to accommodate visitors. Consider how your cat is  used to things being done and how you may have made them uncomfortable before writing them off as moody. Yes they’re curious, but sometimes cats can get very anxious with major change.

My cat doesn’t like me

Cats display affection in different ways to other animals. They use eye gestures and cuddles to express their feelings toward you. That being said, a cat that doesn’t cuddle just has its own love language and it’s up to you to figure it out!

Cats pee everywhere

Cats by nature are very particular about their hygiene. If your/ your friend’s cat pees out of their litterbox, there’s probably a good reason for it. Consider the following reasons:

    • Old age and incontinence. With age, just like us, cats lose full control of their bladders. It can be helpful to set up multiple litter trays for their ease. This is also common with cats who are ill or anxious.
    • Mating tendencies and territory. Particularly with males, if you haven’t had your cat neutered, your cat is going to be in need of a mate when he comes of age. They will pee to notify any other cats of their territory. In both male and female cats, the inability to satiate their sexual needs results in anxiety and stress, which can also cause excessive peeing. P.S. A cat’s instincts in such moments cloud their judgement so they also pose a danger to themselves on the street.
    • Litter box placement. Cats like privacy when they go. Consider if your litter box could be better placed. Keep them away from places with high traffic and high visibility.

Hopefully reading this has clarified some of your concerns about cats. Much of the issues we have with them indeed are more about our failure to help them adapt to our concrete world than it is about them being furry harbingers of doom. To learn more about cats and to volunteer your time and get to know them, please contact us and we’ll gladly help your journey into cat-lover territory.