Kevin mcclintock why do cats do the quirky things they do lifestyles entertainment, life and more joplinglobe.com electricity quiz grade 9

We currently share our house with four cats of varying breeds, sizes and ages. Note I don’t say we “own” four cats of varying breeds, sizes and ages. That’s because nobody really ever “owns” a cat. If anything, the four-legged felines own us humans. Still, I’ve noticed some rather amusing but downright odd behaviors each of our four cats display. Not only that, but none of these behaviors are shared among the other cats. In the end, these quirks give each of our cats — Gus, Luna, Willy and Sassy — their own individual identities.

We’ll start out with Gus. He’s my guy. He’s a tornado kitty we got from the Joplin Humane Society — his mother and litter mates were killed in the 2011 tornado. He’s an orange-colored Manx (he has a stub for a tail) and he’s mine. The two of us have bonded and he sticks close to me.

Expert answer: According to Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” cats are either “tree dwellers” or “bush dwellers.” Gus is obviously the former, who loves to jump on counters or sit on top of refrigerators or kitchen cabinets. They feel safe and secure at such heights.

Willy is our 8-year-old alpha of the house and the most “normal” of our four cats. She keeps the others under control. If they don’t do what she commands, she hisses at them. And hisses some more. And then growls and spits and rages until they end up obeying. We brought her home from PetSmart, via Spare Cat Rescue and the Carthage Humane Society. Willy dotes on my stepdaughter Susannah.

Question 1: Willy in another life was a trash collector. She rummages through our various trash cans in the dead of the night and piles up the goods — wads of paper, Q-tips, toiler paper rolls, shirts and even a shoe — at the bottom of our staircase. Susannah once caught her coming down the stairs with a paperback clutched in her jaws. Why?

Expert answer: There are two theories. One, she’s a mouser, and she is honing her hunting instincts and leaving behind the “carcasses” for her beloved humans to discover and praise. The other theory is that she’s treating the rubbish as her kittens, moving them from place to place as a mommy feline will often do in the wild.

Sassy, our 11-year-old Himalayan, is a rescue we received from a friend. Sassy had been found at the side of the road. She was blanketed with fleas, and the first night we had her she nearly died. Katy stayed up with her until, on day two, she was relieved to finally hear Sassy drinking from the water bowl. She quickly recovered after that. Katy adores Himalayans, and Sassy is a pure-bred, complete with the squished nose. Sassy also has eyes only for Katy.

Question 1: Sassy stares. She stares at people. She stares at blank spaces. She stares at walls. We often kid that an alien is studying human behavior inside her skull, recording us through her eyes. Her staring can, at times, be a bit unnerving. Is she an alien in disguise?

Expert answer: Cats and humans have very different vision “purposes,” and thus felines see the world differently than humans do. Cats are adapted not to blink as often as we are used to seeing. This helps when it comes to hunting. But when they are not chasing prey, a steady, soft gaze means they are relaxed and feeling safe. They may even be watching over you protectively, ready to defend you from harm.

Expert answer: Some cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day, and some can sleep up to 20. Many cats “catnap.” When they sit with their eyes closed, looking like a load of bread with their feet tucked neatly beneath them, they are dozing — but they can immediately come to and bolt or defend themselves at a moment’s notice if they’re forced to. If you see your cat sprawled out on the floor or couch, belly-up, than they are truly asleep. With their bellies exposed, they’re telling you they feel safe and secure inside your home.

Expert answer: Luna is accessing her wild side, securing her “prey” in a safe place she considers her own. Thus, caching toys in water or food bowls makes sense — protecting her bounty from predators and possibly keeping the meat a bit more fresh for a few hours or so (Yuck!).

Expert answer: Playing with water rather than drinking it is pretty common. Felines are mesmerized by the reflecting light and swirling action of moving water. Some cat breeds truly enjoy water activity, ranging from pawing water from bowls, drinking from a dripping faucet, joining you in the shower to even doing a few laps in the pool. American Shorthairs are known for their love of H2O.

Expert answer: It’s normal for cats to vocalize, and some do it way more often than others. Cats relate to us as their surrogate mothers (whether we’re male or female) and learn to communicate with us to get their needs met. If a particular meow, chirp or chortle elicits a desired response, they will do it more and more frequently. Obviously Luna, at just 2 years old, has already learned this very important skill.

Expert answer: Simply put, a cat wants to open a closed door because: 1) she smells or hears something that has interested her; 2) she knows her humans are on the other side of the door, and she wants to cuddle or control them (probably the latter, and probably me!); or 3) she considers the space beyond the door to be a part of her territory and she feels the need to patrol it — at all costs, apparently.

Expert answer: To a cat, raising the tail and flashing their hindquarters is not disgusting. A cat’s signature scent is found in this area. A raised tail signals: “I mean no threat” and “Hey buddy, how’s it going?” So the combination of raised tail while offering a butt-sniffing opportunity is the equivalent to a human hug or a kiss to the cheek.