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Feline Enrichment Series Part 1

Kitties sunning

Cat's Basic Nature

 

We here at Waggs 2 Whiskers have been BUSY CATS during this pandemic!  We have been taking advantage of as many trainings as we can push into our brains.  One in particular REALLY put us over the edge about Feline Behaviors & Enrichment.  It was an amazing webinar put on by our wonderful Pet Sitters International (PSI).  They are awesome providing many opportunities for continuing education for their members. 

This is going to be a 4 part blog series (YES….it was THAT GOOD).  The webinar was graciously put on by Dr. Marci Koski of Feline Behavior Solutions.  We are going to break down what we learned into 4 parts for this series:

1 – Cat’s Basic Nature

2 – Feline Environment, Enrichment & the benefits

3 – The Four C’s of Enrichment for felines – part 1

4 – The Four C’s of Enrichment for felines – part 2 + prey drive/toy suggestions

So, lets get started!

Cat’s Basic Nature –

First, did YOU know that cat’s domestication with humans has been only 10,000 years VS. 30,000 years of canine domestication with humans?  Wow, right?  That just blew our mind.  No WONDER dogs are naturally more personal with their owners than most cats.  I know there definitely are those cuddly, lovey exceptions to this general rule.  Why do you think this is?  Well, for one, most of the feline relationships with humans in the beginning of their domestication was hands off.  Felines were used for rodent control in food stores and also on ships. 

Cats are very similar to their wild ancestors as they are both predator and prey, they are programmed for survival.  In the wild, cats hunt & eat, eliminate waste, avoid being eaten, sleep, secure their territory, mate, raise young, play & learn.

How do they do this you ask?  Check out the photo below of a feline’s pheromone distribution areas.

cat pheromone areas

1 – Weaponry – Their teeth are made for gripping and shredding meat, not to grind like humans.  Their claws retract for running, climbing & capturing prey. 

2 – Excellent sense of smell – Cats have 200 million scent receptors compared to dogs at 300 million and humans at a mere 6 million. 

3 – Paw Pads – Felines leave scent from their glands on their paw pads through scratching to mark their territory.  They leave visual marks as well.

4 – Feline hearing – Cats have 55 Hz (Hertz) -77,000  kHz (kilohertz) of frequency, which is a very broad width of frequencies.  Humans have 31-19000 Hz, Dogs are 64-44,000 Hz, Rabbits hear between 96-49000 Hz, Mice are from 900-79000 kHz, Bats are 10,300-115,000 kHz.  As an FYI since I had to look it up to understand this frequency system via Wikipedia & techtarget.com:

The hertz (symbol: Hz, definition: 1/s) is a unit derived from time which measures frequency in the International System of Units (SI). Frequency is how often something happens. A frequency of 1 hertz means that something happens once a second.

The kilohertz, abbreviated kHz or KHz*, is a unit of alternating current (AC) or electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency equal to one thousand hertz (1,000 Hz). The unit is also used in measurements or statements of signal bandwidth. An AC signal having a frequency of 1 kHz is within the range of human hearing.

5 – Vision – Humans have 10-12 times more cones than cats which allows us the ability to detect color.  Cats can’t see red nor can they see well in bright light.  Hence the reason for our nighttime kitty cats that like to prowl at night.  For cats, blue, yellow & green items are best if you are choosing toys for them.  Black & white also work well for them.  Cats have 6-8 times more rods than humans.  This gives them the excellent vision at night which allows them to be more active at dawn & dusk.  Cats have a wider field of vision than humans but don’t see that well 8-10” from their face.  At long range – about 20’ – cats don’t see very well either. 

Another FYI – Rods are responsible for vision at low light levels (scotopic vision). They do not mediate color vision, and have a low spatial acuity. Cones are active at higher light levels (photopic vision), are capable of color vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity.  – via https://www.cis.rit.edu/

This is all GREAT info if you have a cat, either indoor or outdoor.  It helps us to look at our feline friends in a more understanding way!  Next week on our blog, we will be continuing this conversation by expanding on our cat’s environments and enrichment tools to help them co-exist in our homes with us as a predator and prey animal.  We have a lot of exciting ideas to keep your kitty cats from getting bored – especially if they are strictly indoor kitties.  Check back next Monday when we post our next blog in this Feline series – Feline Environment, Enrichment & the benefits.   Thanks for learning with us!    

Kelly Catlett

PROUD owner of Waggs 2 Whiskers, LLC

Doc Watson the cat

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