How To Tell if Cats Are Playing or Fighting: 7 Signs 

How To Tell if Cats Are Playing or Fighting: 7 Signs

Sometimes determining if your cats are playing or fighting is not as easy as you’d think. You notice that they are getting a bit rough, and you aren’t sure if both of them are now playing the same game. Knowing your cats’ body language and how they get along can help you come to a pretty safe conclusion on what is going on, but it can take time to learn these things.

Especially if one or both cats are new to your house, you might be wondering if they’re truly getting along. Luckily, there are signs that your cats will give you to alert you and the other cat about how they feel about the situation. By understanding these signs, you can avoid further confrontation and keep both of your cats safe.

Keep reading to learn more about the difference between playing and fighting.

Watch Their Body Language

A cat’s body language will tell you everything you need to know about how they are feeling. Some people argue that trying to pick up on a cat’s feelings is more difficult than a dog’s, but cats can be very straightforward in displaying their emotions. This is what can help you to figure out if they’re still playing or if it’s shifted into a fight. You can better determine when your cats feel anxious if you understand their body language.

Cats playing can seem like they are fighting if you just look at how they are interacting with each other. There can be some biting, swatting, and tumbling around the house. However, cats that are play fighting will appear much more relaxed. They won’t be defending themselves in the same way as if they were fighting.

Play fighting is much more back-and-forth with breaks and relaxed breathing. The tension simply isn’t there when your cats are fighting, even if you are wondering if it is. The cats’ body language will also change as soon as it shifts into a real fight. You’ll notice they may make sounds that make it seem like your precious angel is trying to appear larger or intimidating.

Know How They Interact Normally

An easy way to better understand the difference between fighting and playing is by knowing what a normal interaction between your cats looks like. When first bringing a kitten or two home, you can’t always predict how they are going to get along. Take some time to figure out each cat’s behaviors and quirks to determine when they are enjoying themselves and showing signs of defensiveness or aggression.

Over time you will feel like you understand your cat by simply observing him for a couple of seconds. As your cats develop their own relationship, you will pick up on what is normal behavior and interactions between them. When things are off and your cats are stressed, you’ll know.

Signs Your Cats Are Playing

There are some signs that your cats will give to each other to show that they are playing. Fair play with a relaxed air is a marker of playtime. It helps each cat know what is acceptable to the other and what is crossing a boundary. As soon as a boundary has been crossed, your other cat’s behavior will shift and no longer display the same level of calmness.

The following signs are good when your two cats are going at it. Always monitor your cats’ interactions when you’re able to ensure they are getting along. Be sure to do this before ever allowing your cats to be alone for extended periods of time.

1. They’re Being Quiet

When cats play, they are generally quiet. You won’t hear so much as a peep unless one of your cats gets hurt or annoyed. They will chase each other all over the house, tackling one another and causing a ruckus, all while being virtually silent. You may hear the noise from their feet jumping around (or from the potted plant being knocked off the shelf!), but you won’t hear any vocalization.

Even as your cats bite at each other, they will remain very quiet. This indicates that they are picking up on each other’s signals and are getting along. Of course, if they’re too quiet, you might want to check on what those two little sneaks are up to …

2. They’re Taking Turns

Playing is also indicated by whether or not your cats are taking turns. Cats that are playing will usually launch an attack and then permit their playmate to attack back. They typically don’t “go at it” at the same time and allow each other to breathe and settle down.

This goes back to understanding each other’s signals. When cats take turns, they can gauge how their feline friend feels about the ongoing level of play. It’s a way for them to communicate their boundaries.

Sometimes cats will even groom each other in between play-fights which may seem odd, but it’s a true symbol of affection. You’ll see them licking each other one moment, then bouncing and rolling around the next.

3. They’re Gentle

Cats learn how to play as kittens with their littermates. During this time, they learn about body language and what’s considered too aggressive. In other words, they learn how to be gentle when they want to be. When they want to play, they know they have to be gentle or else it may not be reciprocated.

During playing sessions, your cat will have their claws retracted so that they do not hurt each other and will not bite down on each other. This kind of play is adorable and reminiscent of kittenhood, so it’s really just your cat showing off their youthful side.

4. They Relax Easily

Playing is also characterized by your cats’ ability to relax and calm down after going at it. If your cat is capable of stopping rather easily and settling down, this is a sign that they were simply playing. Your cat should not be out of breath or hissing after the play has stopped. Otherwise, this could be a sign that there is more to the situation.

Signs Your Cats Are Fighting

When your cats are fighting, the easiest way to be sure of it is to look at how their body language has changed. Some of the following changes are indicators that they are no longer enjoying the interaction.

5. Their Posture Is Tense

If your cats’ postures start to shift and tense up, they may be trying to signal that they are done with the interaction. If they puff up their fur, arch their back, stare deeply at each other, or begin to lean away from each other while hissing, they are not comfortable. They will also flatten their ears back and swish their tails back and forth as a warning.

They’re telling each other to back off and trying to make themselves bigger than their opponent. Try to diffuse the situation and separate the cats so they can calm down.

6. They’re Very Loud

Cats that are fighting will become loud. As soon as you hear your cats begin to hiss and growl at each other, sometimes even screaming, this is not a good sign.

Either one or both of the cats has entered into a defensive mode that could lead to aggression. They are still sizing each other up and using their voices as a way to appear larger and warn the other cat that they mean business.

7. They’re Swatting at Each Other

While cats may swat at each other from time to time, if both are doing so in a flailing and wild manner, it’s likely because they’re fighting. Swatting at each other in a flurry of paws and legs is aggressive behavior and should not be allowed. If your cats get into this kind of situation with each other, you need to separate them and consider chatting with an animal behaviorist.

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How To Make Things Better

Sometimes your cats need more time to adjust to each other and don’t want to be thrown into a situation of cohabitation just yet. You may need to give them more time and not force anything. Sometimes, speaking with Certified Pet Coaches from AskVet can help bring some calmness into your home.

When you sign-up with AskVet and chat with our Coaches, you can get advice on how to reintroduce your cats and ways to make them both comfortable. Whenever you have a question or concern come up, you can hop onto our vet chat and talk with a professional right away. Using AskVet can help ease your worries and keep the peace at home for years to come.


Recognising And Assessing Feline Emotions During The Consultation: History, Body Language And Behaviour | SAGE Journals

The Gaze Communications Between Dogs/Cats and Humans: Recent Research Review and Future Directions | NCBI

Conflict And Affiliative Behavior Frequency Between Cats In Multi-Cat Households: A Survey-Based Study | NCBI

Are These Cats Playing? A Closer Look At Social Play In Cats And Proposal For A Psychobiological Approach And Standard Terminology | NCBI

Why Does My Cat Randomly Bite Me: 4 Common Reasons

Gray cat with green eyes biting owner's hand

Many loving cat owners have been bitten, sometimes even ambushed, by their favorite felines, only to ask, “why does my cat randomly bite me?” This may have happened while you were walking by your kitty in the hallway, or during a petting and purring session, or seemingly out of the blue.

The truth is that, when someone suffers a cat bite, there is nothing “random” about it—the cat is trying to communicate that something is distressing them. Cats have limited ways to “talk” with their owners, and almost all of that communication is through the cat’s body language. Biting is one tool in the kitty toolbox that tells their person, “hey! I need some help over here!”

If you’ve noticed that your previously placid kitten is suddenly biting family members, seeing your local vet should be the first item on your to-do list. One of the most common reasons cats bite is because they are painful or physically uncomfortable somewhere. Your veterinarian can check for signs of an ear infection, painful dental disease, back pain, arthritis, belly pain, and uncomfortable skin conditions. They may recommend bloodwork to evaluate your kitty for hormone problems, and even screening him for high blood pressure if there has been a sudden change in his behavior.

Once medical ailments have been addressed or ruled out, it’s time to really focus on what might be causing your cat to bite.

1. Understanding Playful Biting in Cats

The most common reason that cats bite their owners isn’t that they have an aggressive cat, it’s because they are trying to play! While sharp teeth or claws may not feel very “playful” to you, hunting behavior equals play behavior for your kitty. This means stalking, pouncing, biting, and kicking.

If you have raised your cat since kittenhood, you may have made the mistake of using your hands as targets of play. Waving your hands in front of your kitten’s face, offering your fingers up so their tiny mouths can “munch” on your hand, and similar games teach your growing kitten that hands and human bodies are playthings. This translates to their behavior as adults—when playtime is just as important to them, but their teeth are sharper, and their jaws are stronger!

To re-train your cat that human body parts are NOT meant for chomping, offer them appropriate choices. Have cat toys placed strategically in the living areas of your home. If your cat tries to bite your hands or pounces on your feet, immediately grab the cat toy and use it to redirect your cat’s behavior. Over time, they will learn that toys—not feet or fingers—are a whole lot more fun to play with!

If you don’t have an appropriate cat toy within reach when they start to chomp down on you, simply stand up and walk away from your cat to find one. Keep things calm, so you don’t excite them further—and do not punish your cat, as this can make them more aroused and associate negative emotions with you—exactly what we don’t want!

2. Dealing with Redirected Aggression in Your Feline Friend

This is one of the most common reasons that cats bite their owners. The term “redirected aggression” refers to a cat’s natural instinct to pounce/attack being thwarted and unable to be exercised on the true object of their angst….and then redirected to a convenient target (aka, you!).

Picture this: your cat is staring out the window, watching a neighborhood kitty stroll around in front of your house. Your cat’s tail is twitching, their ears are flattening, they are leaning forward, and possibly growling. You walk over to see what’s got your kitty so focused—or just happen to walk into the room—and your cat suddenly attacks you with teeth and claws. OUCH!

If this sounds familiar, you have been a victim of redirected aggression from your kitty. When your cat is stressed by something or someone, all of that frustration builds up inside—like pressure in a teapot—and eventually, that frustration needs somewhere to go! Unfortunately, that means that the closest moving object is likely to experience kitty’s wrath, and more often than not, it’s you.

While seeing “stranger” cats through the window is a common trigger for redirected aggression, we can see these behaviors in cats any time their frustrations build at an unattainable target. If another human (usually a child!) is bothering your cat, and the cat gets punished for establishing their boundaries by lashing out—then YOU are the most likely target for that pent-up frustration the next time you walk by your kitty.

So, what can you do? If you can look out for these signs of stress in cats and identify the source, then helping them avoid it can short-circuit this process completely. In our example of staring at a neighborhood cat out the window, avoidance can mean lowering the blinds, removing any cat window seats from the area, or placing ultrasonic “cat deterrent” devices on your property. All of these can keep your house cat from getting riled up by seeing someone come into their “territory.” If the problem is more inside of the home, it may take retraining your cats to get along, or teaching humans in the house to stop antagonizing the cat.

As always, plenty of playtime with your cat’s favorite toys is essential for creating those positive endorphins, tiring out your kitty, and giving him an outlet for those hunting and predatory behaviors in a safe and playful way.

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3. Preventing Petting-Induced Aggression in Cats

“I was having a petting session with my cat, and she was purring…and then WHAM! Out of nowhere, she bit me!” Another common cause of cat biting is petting-induced aggression. We all know that cats are very particular about most things—their bathroom, their food, their toys…and of course, those personal preferences extend to their bodies!

When an adult cat is biting while being petted, it’s a way for the cat to tell you, “I don’t like that.” It could be that your cat likes to be pet in some places more than others, or pet more in short strokes rather than long whole-body pets, or only for short periods of time.

Since cats tend to groom each other around the face and neck, cats usually prefer for their humans to focus on these areas, too. While your cat might like short pets around the ear, cheeks, and chin, they might be uncomfortable with petting near their tail, on their belly, or even along their back. Pay attention to the signals your kitty is sending you—if her ears start to flatten, she stops purring, or her tail starts flicking—take your hand away and see if she relaxes again. It’s up to humans to understand what our cats are trying to tell us—and just like people, every cat has certain body parts that are “off-limits.”

While we humans LOVE scratching and petting our kitty companions and consider it an expression of love and affection, keep in mind that long strokes tend to build up energy within your cat. By petting down the length of their body over and over, you may be winding your cat up with excess stimulation that needs to come out—and that outlet is usually through biting or running away. If we continue to ignore what our cats are telling us, they may preemptively try to bite us if they feel like we are going to engage in an unwanted behavior—and so we may see a cat “randomly” pounce on our feet or attack our legs as we walk by. In some cats, this sudden aggression is merely a protective strike, meant to prevent previously unwanted stimulation.

If your cat seems to have a low tolerance for petting and runs away after a few strokes, or starts to bite after a couple of pets, then our choices as humans are simple: either acknowledge your cat’s boundaries and accept them, or try to build a positive feeling when your cat is being petted. You can do the latter by feeding your cat super yummy treats or canned food and petting them briefly while they enjoy—the whole goal is to make receiving pets a positive experience for your cat.

4. Speaking Your Kitty’s Language

By now, you can see that when your cat bites you, it is almost never truly “random”—they usually have a reason for doing so, and it’s up to us kitty caretakers to understand what our cats are telling us! If you have tried identifying any triggers outlined here and are unsuccessful in figuring out why your cat is biting you, then you may need to see a board-certified veterinary behaviorist to evaluate your kitty for a true mental health problem.

Our AskVet Veterinarians are available to discuss all of your pet’s needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether it’s learning how to calm down a cat or understanding why a cat is pooping outside the litter box, just sign into your account and one of our friendly and knowledgeable veterinary experts will attend to your needs, no appointment required. Chat with an online veterinarian at AskVet today!

Written by:

Allison Ward, DVM
Dr. Allison Ward grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and started working in veterinary hospitals when she was 14 years old. After graduating from veterinary school in 2011, she completed a small animal rotating internship in New Jersey, followed by a neurology/neurosurgery internship in Miami. After completing this advanced training, Dr. Ward then moved on to general small animal practice. Dr. Ward’s professional interests include feline medicine, neurology, and pain management. Her passion for educating pet owners carries over into her work with AskVet, and she loves being able to help pets and their parents at all times of the day (and night!). She currently resides in sunny south Florida with her two cats, Larry and George.

How To Introduce a Cat to a Dog the Right Way

How To Introduce a Cat to a Dog the Right Way

For many, bringing a new cat into the home is exciting but, at the same time, can also be anxiety-inducing. When there are other resident pets that live in your home, take into consideration how they might respond to sharing their space. Cats and dogs are capable of living happily together, but it takes getting used to having another animal in the house before you start seeing the benefits.

When you bring a new kitten or cat into a home with a dog (or dogs) that already resides there, take some precautions before the introduction happens. You’re trying to create a space that is inviting and safe for your new pet without overturning everything your dog has ever known. As a pet parent, the main goal is for your animals to be healthy and happy, so we recommend taking this introduction seriously.

To learn more about some of the best practices to use when doing introductions between your new cat and your resident dog for the first time, keep reading.

Consider Both Pet’s Personalities

You’ve probably been considering bringing home a new cat for quite some time. Getting an animal is rarely an “on-a-whim” decision, so that means that you’ve done some thinking about if your dog is even capable of this new relationship.

You know your dog best, and you might have an idea of if they could live with a cat or not. It’s important to determine if your dog is able to live with a cat before going through the process of adopting.

For example, some dogs have a higher prey drive than others, making smaller animals an easy target. If your dog is one that gets overly excited and has a keen eye for hunting, you might want to reconsider getting a new cat or spend more time working on your dog’s drive and impulse control.

The last thing anyone wants to do is bring a new cat into the home, knowing that their dog’s personality might be too big for it. (While dog breed type can affect prey drive, it’s not a hard and fast rule.)

If you think that your dog would match up nicely with a cat, it would be helpful to seek out cats that have lived with dogs before. Even a kitten, who has no past trauma related to dogs would be ideal, as they are somewhat of a blank slate. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it might help to have a more calm and anticlimactic introduction.

How To Introduce a Cat to a Dog

Introducing cats to a resident dog doesn’t always go as planned right away. It can take several days to several weeks for a new cat to warm up to your dog, and vice versa. They’ll need time to adjust. Don’t jump right in by throwing them in a room together; this could be a potentially dangerous first meeting, not to mention stressful for both animals.

By taking your time and going through specific interactions, you can get an understanding of how the two animals will react to one another. These initial stages can give you a good read on their body language and if they are taking to the new friend well or are labeling them an enemy.

Keep Them Apart

Before bringing a new cat into your house, establish a separate room set up for your cat to stay in. Have their litter box, toys, some food, water, a bed, and cat furniture in one room of your house so that they get used to the new space before having to get used to a new animal.

Have both animals eat on one side of the door. This will get them used to the new pet’s smell while doing something enjoyable. If the door-closed hello goes well, try an augmented face-to-face introduction through a baby gate.

Don’t rush into introducing them before either of them are ready; this situation can be overwhelming.

Swap Scents

Once the new cat has spent some time getting their scent on some of the items in the room, take out a toy or blanket of theirs and swap it with one of your dog’s. Have both your dog and new cat spend time with each other’s toys so that they can begin to get used to each other’s scents.

Dogs heavily rely on their sense of smell, and this will prepare them for their new sibling. You can even rub your cat and dog with two different towels and place the towel under their bowls while they eat, again, to build a positive association.

If you have multiple animals in the house, like another dog or even another cat, swap scents with each of them and your new cat. This way, all of your animals can get used to the new animal’s scent, and your new cat can have a better understanding of how many other animals are in the house.

Independent Exploration

The next step is to allow your new cat to explore the rest of the house without interruption for your dog. Take your dog into the room where your cat has been and let them smell the cat’s space as your cat explores.

Give your cat ample time to check out all the rooms, nooks, and crannies. This is their time to become familiar with their new space without having other animals in their face.

Swapping rooms and allowing for some independent exploration will give both of your pets the ability to become accustomed to the other’s scent without the pressure of seeing each other face-to-face.

Leashed and/or Gradual Intros

Once they’ve had time to settle in, your new cat might be itching to get out of their confined room, and your dog is probably wondering who the new scent is coming from. The best thing to do is leash your dog and have your cat in some sort of crate/kennel. Allow your dog to go up to the crate and smell the new cat, but then have your dog step away and sit or lay down.

After a few minutes, let your cat out of the crate with your dog still on leash. Your cat can then take their time to come up and sniff the dog. It might not happen right away; don’t force the interaction.

Baby Gate/Separate Room Intros

Remember, you know your pet best. Your new puppy or new cat might have a better first introduction through a baby gate in separate rooms. This allows the cat to have a safe space as well as an escape route if they decide puppies aren’t for them. The new/resident cat can have a large room set up with all of their stuff. Their scratching post, litter tray, and hiding places are all there and undistributed.

Then, the face meetings can take place at the cat’s own pace. You can use door stoppers to prop open the door safely after a few days of eating behind closed doors to begin the process of introducing them face-to-face.

Shy cats, in particular, might be wary of new situations and this new animal family member in particular. If your feline friend decides to stay sequestered, make sure your cat feels like they are still important by spending time with them in their personal room. The same goes for a dog — our pets can get jealous!

Allow for Space and Time

Let your cat decide when they are ready to go up to them. Many cats are curious, and some are very brave. If your dog is giving them calming signals and not showing them they are a threat, the interaction could happen.

They might begin to gaze at each other as if communicating silently as a way of building trust. Just be patient!

Positive Reinforcement

Whenever your new cat or dog does something desirable, like sits calmly, boops noses, or sniffs gently, reward them with a treat and some calm praise. You don’t want to sound too excited, or else your dog might hear it in your tone of voice and become excitable.

Offer cat/dog treats and pets and let them figure it out for themselves. Positive reinforcement helps your pets make good associations with whatever they are interacting with.

Be Mindful of Body Language

All of the above can be dependent on both of your animal’s body language toward each other. Your cat may be giving signals that they are uncomfortable by raising their hair, hissing, or running away. If you notice these behaviors, the situation is likely progressing too fast for your new cat.

On the other hand, if your dog shows signs of aggression or becomes too excited, they might need to work on some things before furthering the introduction. If your dog becomes extremely focused and alerted to your cat, this could be a sign they see the cat as some sort of toy or snack. Immediately separate them to avoid harm.

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Say Hello to AskVet

If you’re having difficulty with the introduction of your new cat to your current dog, consider using AskVet to get in touch with our Certified Pet Coaches. Our pet coaches can work with you to understand both of your pet’s needs and come up with behavioral plans to help your whole animal family thrive. They can also give you tips on how to improve the process and let you know if you’re doing anything incorrectly.

You want to make the introduction process as seamless as possible, but it’s much easier to do that with the help of AskVet. Sign-up today for a virtual session, and hopefully, you’ll be seeing a best-friend relationship form in no time!


The Gaze Communications Between Dogs/Cats and Humans: Recent Research Review and Future Directions | NCBI

Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | NCBI

Incentive Motivation In Pet Dogs – Preference For Constant Vs Varied Food Rewards | NCBI

Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Aromatherapy For Cats: Is It Safe? 

Aromatherapy For Cats: Is It Safe?

Cat parents will do just about anything if it means their precious baby is happy and healthy. There really are no limits to what you might do for your pet, but you should always do your research first when trying out a new method. Aromatherapy is something that humans have been using for years to help with everything from sinus problems to anxiety and depression.

If you practice aromatherapy at home with your pets, you might be wondering if it’s even safe for them to be around. Essential oils are found in many common household products, so it’s likely that your cat has already been exposed to some of them. Not every essential oil you use for yourself will be safe for your cat. It’s all about knowing what to stay away from and how much is too much.

To learn more about aromatherapy for cats and the safety precautions to take, keep reading.

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling diffused essential oils or applying them topically through a massage to help alleviate stress and other ailments. Essential oils come from the extraction of certain plants and can have specific abilities and purposes. That means that if you are trying to create a calm and relaxing environment, there are essential oils that are specifically used for that.

Interest in aromatherapy for cats is starting to arise more and more; people are wondering if it can carry the same health benefits for cats as it does for humans. Studies have shown that some essential oils could have a place in holistic veterinary medicine practices to fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Some oils, like very heavily-diluted oregano oil, can work as a flea repellent.

Aromatherapy may help reduce anxiety, repel insects, help with nausea, and promote overall better sleep. The main focus of aromatherapy seems to be its preventative care abilities. So, if it can help you, can it help your cat? Let’s discuss.

How To Use Essential Oils Safely Around Pets

The answer to the question, “Is aromatherapy safe for cats?” is — it depends. It depends on what essential oils you use in the aromatherapy, what brand you have, and how you use them. Pure essential oils can be extremely toxic to cats when consumed, so it’s vital to dilute the essential oils so they aren’t being exposed to them in their concentrated form.

When cat-proofing your home, store the essential oils away in a safe location that your cat cannot get into and or knock over. Some essential oils are going to be considered not safe to use around cats. If you have a cat in your home, check to make sure all your essential oils are safe.

How To Blend Essential Oils With a Carrier Oil

The way to ensure that your essential oils will not harm your cat is to make sure that they are properly diluted. Using 100% pure essential oil on a cat can be toxic and have adverse effects. The last thing you want to do is cause your cat pain when you’re trying to help them out, so be wary of what products you are using.

Before applying an essential to your cat’s skin, dilute it with a few drops of a high-quality carrier oil. Cat-safe carrier oils can be jojoba oil, aloe vera, olive oil, and coconut oil.

Essential Oils To Avoid

Cats do not metabolize things the same way that humans (and even dogs) can. A cat’s liver lacks the P450 cytochrome metabolic pathway, so they can’t metabolize and break down certain medications and essential oils.

The most toxic essential oil to cats out there is tea tree oil (aka melaleuca essential oil). Tea tree oil can cause toxic shock and seizures in cats and should be avoided in your household. Even if you are using tea tree oil for yourself, it can have a negative effect if your cat rubs up against you or licks your skin. It is best to skip this oil entirely for the safety of your cat.

Other essential oils that you should refrain from using if you have a cat and are attempting aromatherapy are:

  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Juniper
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Pennyroyal
  • Flowering plants like rose, geranium, and ylang-ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • All citrus essential oils, like orange and lemon
  • All mint essential oils, like peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen

Not only should you be avoiding these certain essential oils, but when you do use aromatherapy for your cat, limit how much exposure they have: Essential oils can become irritating for your cat and cause adverse reactions. Everything should be done in moderation and under supervision so that you can monitor your cat’s reaction.

Review the symptoms of essential oil poisoning. Concerns include:

  • Respiratory distress (difficulty breathing)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty walking

If you have cause for concern, call the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Helpline.

Safe Essential Oils to Use

When it comes to safety and aromatherapy, monitor your cat when the essential oil diffuser is on. You don’t want to leave it on for too long or have your cat plop themselves down directly in front of it while it diffuses. It’s best to keep it out of your cat’s direct way while it diffuses.

Some cat-safe essential oils that can be used in moderation during aromatherapy are:

  • Cedarwood
  • Rosemary
  • Copaiba
  • Helichrysum
  • Frankincense

At certain dilutions, the following essential oils can be used in moderation with your cat, but too much of them can cause irritation or discomfort:

  • German chamomile
  • Roman chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Valerian

Lavender essential oil can have calming effects but can be dangerous if not diluted correctly before application to your cat’s fur or skin. If you are not comfortable trying to figure out all of this on your own, you should consult with an aromatherapy specialist. You can also chat with a veterinary expert at AskVet and find an answer at any time of the day or night.

Introduce Essential Oils Slowly

Your cat might not be interested in using aromatherapy, and that’s okay! Before you start, expose your cat to the diffused oils to see if they enjoy it or find another room. Some cats are not going to be a fan of it, and some may seem indifferent.

If, over time, your cat seems to become irritated or uninterested in the diffuser, it might mean that their time with aromatherapy is over.

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Answers for Pet Parents From the Pet Experts

When practicing aromatherapy for your cat, questions about what to use, how much to use the diffuser for, and what not to do might come up. With AskVet, you can hop on our vet chat and talk with a pet professional almost instantly. They can let you know whether or not what you’re doing is harming the cat and might be able to alleviate the stress you feel about the aromatherapy.

If you’ve been seeking out aromatherapy to soothe your cat’s anxiety or behavioral issues, talk with our Certified Pet Coaches about different resources and guides that can help.

Sign-up today for a virtual session where we can learn more about your pet and their needs.


Use of Essential Oils in Veterinary Medicine to Combat Bacterial and Fungal Infections | NCBI

Clinical Aromatherapy | NCBI

Essential Oils For Cats | Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center

Animal Poison Control | (888) 426-4435 | ASPCA

Concentrated Tea Tree Oil Toxicosis In Dogs And Cats: 443 Cases (2002–2012) | AVMA

The Essentials of Essential Oils Around Pets | ASPCA

Cat Enrichment: A Guide for Bored Cats

Cat Enrichment: A Guide for Bored Cats

As cat parents, our goal is to give our pets the best life possible. Though many cats exude an independent personality, it is still our duty to provide them with everything they might need. Every cat is different; their needs might not look the same. As you continue to get to know your cat, you’ll learn what their habits are and what they might benefit from more of.

Cat enrichment is all about providing our pets with different opportunities to exercise their mind and body. Cats can and do get bored — maybe they show it by wanting to lay out in the sun or they get into some trouble.

There are plenty of activities that you can do with your cat to enrich and improve their livelihoods. Keep reading to learn more about them.

What Does Enrichment Do for Your Cat?

Enrichment helps to satisfy your cat’s natural instincts. The ideal cat’s environment is much more than picking out the best litter box or healthiest cat food. While those are naturally essential, a few different types of enrichment are necessary to ensure your cat’s life is as fulfilling as possible.

Different feline enrichment activities target a cat’s natural behaviors, including hunting, exploring, snacking, climbing, and solving puzzle toys. Some activities are as easy as grooming your cat: They’ll feel and look better and get to spend quality time with their human.

Benefits of including enrichment activities in your cat’s life include improved emotional well-being, cognitive functioning, and physical health.

Once you find something your cat likes, think of different variations of it so that they don’t become bored again as they master the task or game. Don’t forget: Cats are smart! They might need a variety of enrichment activities to stay content.

Enrichment Ideas for Cats

You know your cat best — from their favorite toy to their go-to hiding place — you likely know where your cat needs a bit of a boost. (And if you’re not sure, reach out to ask a professional Pet Coach!)

If your cat isn’t burning up enough physical energy in a day, that calls for extra physical activities. If they need more mental stimulation and are looking for a challenge, consider focusing on puzzles and training.

The possibilities are endless, especially when many enrichment activities can be DIY’d. Have fun with it, and don’t forget to get creative!

Food Enrichment

Plenty of cats can get bored with their food routine and want to spice it up. Introducing new ways to make breakfast and dinner a challenge can motivate your cat and help them to use their brain to solve the problem.

How To Make DIY Enrichment Toys for Cats 

Place kibble into a paper towel roll that’s been cut up randomly on the side (smaller cats or kittens might have an easier time with a toilet paper roll). Fold in the top and bottom to make it into a tube. The allotted kibble can be an entire meal or part of one. This food puzzle is part mealtime, part exercise, and 100% adorable.

Consider leaving a few cat treats around your house for your cat to find throughout the day. This can help to satisfy a cat’s scavenger and hunting instincts.

Environmental Enrichment

Cats love to explore, but it’s not always safe to let them alone outside. Let’s discuss how to bring your cat’s inner lion out.

Outdoor Walks

Introduce your cat to the great outdoors (safely) by training them to walk on a leash. Cat leash training can take a long time and isn’t for every feline.

So, if your cat isn’t inclined to strut on a leash, there are other methods to try. Your feline friend might prefer cat backpacks or cat strollers. Not only can your cat see the world, but just think of all the social enrichment that comes from taking your cat in a stroller to the farmer’s market.


Bring the outdoors in with “catios.” A catio is an outdoor enclosed space for cats that lets them enjoy fresh air without any dangers to themselves (or the natural environment). Fill the catio with scratchers, tunnels, and cat beds, and watch your cat live their best life.

Window Perches

If your cat struggles to find a sunny and clear spot to watch out the window, consider getting a window perch to place on one with a good view. Cats love watching (and probably judging) the world go by. Bring the entertainment value up a notch by hanging a bird feeder, which is basically a TV show for cats!

Basic Training 

While we mostly associate dogs with training, cats have the ability to learn as well (and quite quickly). Practicing basic training routines with your cat allows them to use a part of their brain that they might typically shut off.

Cats are known to be independent and selective listeners, but training creates a positive atmosphere for listening and learning. Your cat does want to impress you, and working on training cues is an excellent way for them to do this.

Training with treats fosters a sense of community between you and your cat. They do what you want them to, and they get a little treat, some praise, and your undivided attention out of it. It also will burn up some of their energy as they focus on the task at hand. In fact, some experts suggest clicker training for cats (similar to how you would do it with a dog!).

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Cat Toys and Cat Furniture

Cats love to play. Playing is one of the easiest ways to get some energy out of your cat, but they can become bored if they are using the same toys each day.

Some great toys to have around the house are ones that involve you in them, like wand toys that engage their instinct to pounce. Your cat loves when you get involved and will be more likely to play for longer if you’re also enjoying yourself.

Some cats want to burn their energy by exploring, but to do so safely in the house, keep plenty of cat furniture pieces scattered around. Cat trees, scratching posts, and perches will allow your cat to feel like the king of the jungle and have them on alert as they survey their space.

Enrichment games don’t need to be expensive. Many cats simply need cardboard boxes or paper bags (maybe with a bit of catnip in there) to have a good time, so don’t feel bad about all those packages you want to order! Your cat can get some enrichment out of those daily deliveries.

Get More Ideas With AskVet

Your cat will thank you for finding new ways to keep them enriched and happy. Not only will this help build your relationship with your cat, but it will make them healthier and more content. When you start to run out of ideas, consider asking the Certified Pet Coaches of AskVet for ideas. Not only can they come up with enrichment activities, but they can help you to pinpoint what your cat’s boredom means and how to fix it.

Sign-up today for a virtual session with a Pet Coach to discuss your cat’s behaviors and needs in more detail.


Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats | NCBI

Feeding Cats for Optimal Mental and Behavioral Well-Being | NCBI

Indoor And Outdoor Management For Cats: Inferences About The Welfare And Cat-Caretaker Relationship | Science Direct

Environmental Enrichment: Practical Strategies for Improving Feline Welfare | Sage Journals

Cats rival dogs on many tests of social smarts. But is anyone brave enough to study them? | Science

Why you should build a catio for your cat | BC SPCA

Assessment of Clicker Training for Shelter Cats | PMC

5 Free (Or Darn Close) Feline Enrichment Ideas | ASPCApro

How To Litter Train a Kitten: 5 Tips & Tricks

How To Litter Train a Kitten: 5 Tips & Tricks

Bringing home a new kitten isn’t quite as much work as bringing home a new puppy. Kittens tend to be more independent.

Cats are highly intelligent and motivated animals that pick up on what you’re trying to communicate with them. Because of this, training your new kitten on how to use a litter box tends to be fairly simple. If you commit to the training, your kitten should pick up on it in no time.

To learn a few tips and tricks on how to litter box train your kitten, keep reading:

When Should You Start?

For the first few weeks of a kitten’s life, their mother helps them to eliminate and cleans them up afterward, so a litter box is unnecessary. After a month or two, when they are with their new human, a litter box can be introduced. With adult cats adopted from the shelter, start litter box training immediately when they get home so they can figure out where it’s appropriate to use the bathroom. Luckily, many adult cats are pros at this already.

Litter training must be consistent on your end, but it will likely come naturally to your cat. You must keep it clean so that they continue to use it correctly. Additionally, you may have to try out a few different spots around the house, different cat litter, or use positive reinforcement to get your kitten to use it correctly, but it’s worth the trial and error!

5 Tips and Tricks When Litter Training

All cats are intelligent, but every cat is different and may need to be motivated to use the litter box. Some cats might struggle more than others or resist their litter box at first.

Cats famously love boxes, but how do we get them to love their litter box? Let’s get into potty training made easy.

1. Pick the Optimal Size

Before you even get your kitten, go shopping for supplies. Start with a litter box that suits the size of your new cat. For tiny kittens, a small litter box will work perfectly for them.

One of the most common litter box problems is that the litter tray is too deep or too large. Young kittens tend to do best with a 13×9-inch tray. Low sides are ideal since your newest furry friend might not be a top-notch jumper yet. If the kitten’s litter box is too difficult to get out of, felines might feel trapped and not want to use the box, leaving pet parents to deal with accidents around the house.

An older cat will require a larger litter box. As your cat grows, upgrade their litter box size so they fit comfortably in it.

2. Consider Litter Type

You will then have to pick out the best type of litter — this will depend on your cat’s preferences. Cats and kittens are notoriously picky in everything from cat food to litter type. When you bring your cat or kitten home, ask the rescue or breeder what type they previously used.

Using the right kind can help to avoid accidents.

  • Clay litter: Clay litter is one of the easiest ones to find in your local pet store. The particular can be fine or dense. Clumping clay kitty litter is generally made from bentonite. While it’s heavier, it’s easier to clean but tends to be more expensive. Non-clumping clay litter is made from wood fibers or non-bentonite clay. It’s lighter and less expensive.
  • Pine: This litter is made from lumber scraps. Opt for soft, harsh-chemical-free pine for your cat’s litter box.
  • Other Natural Materials: Wheat, corn, and walnut shell options are available. Some Wheat is a naturally clumping litter and comes both scented and unscented. Grass and corn litter are also biodegradable (like wheat) and naturally clump.

Kitten-specific litters often have pheromones added to encourage them to use the box. You might also want to add a mat underneath the box to make the house training process a tad neater.

3. Think About the Location of the Box

Depending on the size of your home or space, you might only have a few good spots in mind for the litter box. Ideally, the litter box will go in a spot that’s quiet and out of the way but not too far from human interaction. A low-traffic area is best since cats won’t want to go to the bathroom there if they feel frightened or on edge.

A litter box shouldn’t be near your kitten’s food or water dishes or in rooms that are known to be pretty loud. If you have space in your bathroom, that’s always a solid option or a spare room that isn’t used as frequently as others.

If you have multiple floors in your house, place a litter box on each floor with the same supplies for all locations. If you have multiple cats (lucky you!), there should be at least one more litter box than the number of cats in the home.

4. Reward Them for Using the Litter Box

While litter box training often comes naturally, try rewarding your kitten’s good behavior with a little treat. When your kitten is done using the litter box and exits it, give them a treat or praise ASAP. You want to associate them using the bathroom with the reward, so it’s essential that you give it to them immediately.

On the other hand, if your kitten has an accident, don’t punish them. It won’t send the right message, and they’ll be more confused and startled than anything.

5. Clean It Regularly

Your cat relies on you to keep their litter box clean. If you aren’t on top of it, they might begin to use other spaces in your home to go to the bathroom.

Cats like a clean litter box, and can you blame them? Just like humans, they don’t want to use the bathroom somewhere that’s messy. For cats, their solution is to go elsewhere: This means more accidents that you have to not only clean up but find throughout your house.

Not using the litter box is sometimes a medical issue. While it might be that the litter box isn’t up to the cat’s standards, it may suggest a urinary tract infection, parasites, cystitis, or something else. If your feline is urine spraying, that issue might simply fade once they are spayed or neutered.

Cat behavior and kitten care can get tricky; this is when you want to reach out for professional help. Talk to your local vet or reach out to the veterinary experts at AskVet for 24/7 help to get answers and the support you need.

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Questions? Talk to Experts at AskVet

Some cats may show problems with litter box use throughout their life, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the issue. When these behaviors arise, you can talk with AskVet’s Certified Pet CoachesTM (CPC) about resolving the problems. AskVet gives you access to these professionals 24/7, as well as other pet lovers that might have dealt with similar issues.

You can gain access to resources for training, understanding emotional wellness, and creating behavioral plans to improve your kitten’s life. Talk with an AskVet Pet Trainer and get started today!


Feline Litter Box Issues Associate With Cat Personality, Breed, And Age At Sterilization | American Veterinary Medical Association

The Behavioural Effects of Innovative Litter Developed to Attract Cats | NCBI

Does Previous Use Affect Litter Box Appeal In Multi-Cat Households? | ScienceDirect

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Remember drawing a cat when you were young? You put so much care into making perfect triangles for ears and a long curling tail. The finishing touch to your hand-drawn kitty was always two or three whiskers on each side of their face.

A cat’s whiskers are synonymous with their purring and meowing, but exactly why do cats have whiskers, and are they important?

What Are Whiskers Made Of?

If you think that whiskers (AKA vibrissae) resemble hair, then you are on the right path. Whiskers are made of keratin, just like our hair and nails.

Whiskers are a thicker type of sensory hair that is connected to nerves via the hair follicle, which is deeply embedded in your cat’s skin. These hair follicles have their own blood vessels. What’s more, areas in your cat’s brain are also connected to their whiskers via sensory organs called proprioceptors. A true internal radar!

Facial whiskers do fall out on their own, but they do not shed as easily as your cat’s fur. While you may brush your cat’s coat to try to get rid of their shedding hair before it gets all over your home (and you), there are no preemptive measures you would need to take for your cat’s whiskers.

In fact, the best course of action is to leave them alone. Since they are connected to nerves, they are quite sensitive, and it’s best to avoid messing with them.

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

While they give our cat a cute appearance, whiskers are more than a facial feature and serve an essential purpose. Like an insect’s antennae or a TV antenna, whiskers help cats tune into signals around them.

There are whiskers in several parts of a cat’s body. However, the most abundant whiskers are on a cat’s face. These tiny tactile hairs grow around their eyes, on their chin, on either side of their nose above their upper lip, and, interestingly enough, on the back of their forelegs. The aforementioned foreleg whiskers are called carpal whiskers.

These whisker signals help cats determine if a space is too small for them and even help them pick up the movements of prey they may be on the hunt for. It’s pretty mind-blowing how much the itty-bitty nerve endings in a cat’s whiskers influence the cat’s behavior!

In addition, some cat breeds have longer whiskers than others. For example, Persians and Maine Coons are known for their exceptionally long whiskers.


Being a cat parent, you are well aware of the shenanigans that your furry pal can get into. Among those antics is your cat’s amazing ability to squeeze into small spaces. Their whiskers are to thank for that ability.

Cat’s whiskers serve as a built-in warning system to let your cat know if they are able to fit into a space or not. Your cat’s whiskers usually grow on each side, depending on how wide your cat is. If you have a skinny kitty, their whiskers would be shorter than a more robust feline, who would have longer whiskers to match their roundness.

While knowing if a route is wide enough for passage is helpful, another way whiskers come in handy is when your cat is just going about their day-to-day. If your cat enjoys climbing, running under furniture, or hanging out on top of the fridge, they will use their whiskers to help determine if there is anything near their face – which keeps their eyes, nose, and mouth safe.

This is all very helpful, as kitty vision is not as powerful as their hearing and sense of smell. This is especially helpful for those big cats who hunt for their food. Whiskers pick up any minor disturbance in the air current. This can help a big cat determine how their prey is moving or how close it is.

While your cat may not have to hunt for their dinner, they can still use their whiskers as radar when they play with their countless toys and prowl around for any dropped treats.


Like their tail, cats can use their whiskers to communicate their feelings. When our cats are in an inquisitive mood, they may raise their whiskers to get a sense of what is going on in a room.

If your cat feels anxious or aggressive (maybe because your dog is bugging them), they will pull their whiskers back tightly against their face. Look for their ears to be pinned back too, as their whiskers and ears will be a duo in non-verbal communication.

Protective Care for Whiskers

While there isn’t anything specific you need to do to protect your cat’s whiskers, there are a few things you can do to keep them from feeling overstimulated. The first is avoiding too much contact with your cat’s whiskers. Although your cat may love to have their chin or cheeks scratched, try not to grab their whiskers.

Another way your cat can be overwhelmed is if you have a deep dish for their water or food. When your cat dips their face in to take a drink or bite of food, their whiskers can touch the edges of the dish. If you see your cat quickly drinking or eating or tilting their head to one side when they do so, their whiskers may have too much contact with the bowl. Switching to a flatter dish will help with this overstimulation.

Another way to protect your feline’s whiskers is to ensure that everyone around them knows their importance to your cat. This includes small children who may think that whiskers are cute and may try to touch or pull them out.

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Whiskers For Them – AskVet For You

While your cat has their personal system of navigation, you have your own way of navigating life as a cat parent. AskVet is your system to help you stay focused on your pet’s lifestyle and wellness, so they can live a longer and healthier life. With our 360° Pet Lifestyle Plan, we are with you every step or pawprint of the way.

Book a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Expert™, so you can feel empowered to address your pet’s needs confidently. Get answers to your questions and concerns and build a well-rounded care plan for any feline, canine, or reptilian (etc., etc.) family member in your home.

Then, join other pet parents in our online community, the AskVet Clubhouse. You can trade stories, give and get advice, and all the cute anecdotes of being a pet parent.


Why Do Animal Have Whiskers | North American Nature

What can whiskers tell us about mammalian evolution, behavior, and ecology? | Mammal Review

The Mechanoreceptors of the Sinus Hair Organ on the Cat’s Foreleg | ScienceDirect

Cat Sleep 101: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Cat Sleep 101: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you’re a cat parent, you might be jealous of all the deep sleep your cat gets throughout the day. First-time pet parents might worry that their cat is sleeping too much, but it’s true that kittens and adult cats alike love a good nap. In most cases, it’s likely that you have nothing to worry about.

Every cat will have their unique sleeping habits that you will begin to pick up on. You’ll know what time of day they get a lot of energy, where their favorite place to nap is, as well as knowing what to look out for that might tell you your cat seems to be sleeping too much. Keeping track of their sleep habits might ease your worries and alert you to anything wrong with the amount of sleep they’re getting.

Keep reading to learn more about why your cat is sleeping so much!

Why Does My Cat Nap So Much?

Unlike humans, cats don’t usually sleep for an extended period of time. Cats won’t lie down and get eight hours of sleep like humans are encouraged to. Instead, cats nap at any moment’s notice. This means that every few hours, they are in need of some shut-eye to recuperate and gain back their energy for more playtime.

You may find your cat dozing off in the sun or catching a quick snooze in your bedroom. Many cats love to cuddle with their humans while they nap, so you might notice your cat lying down in areas where they know you’ll be.

Don’t be surprised if your cat is sleeping periodically throughout the day because they were likely up in the twilight hours, causing mischief.

How Much Sleep Do Cats Need? 

Not all cats will follow the same sleep schedule, so there is no right answer. Typically, cats will sleep between 12 and 15 hours throughout the day, but this sleep cycle can fluctuate.

Depending on their environment and age, their sleep could range from ten to 20 hours, with older cats sleeping the most in many cases. They have a unique sleep-wake cycle that can change based on their environment.

Cats who find themselves in more stressful or high-stakes environments, like in shelters or on the street, might not sleep as much as house cats. A highly stressed cat in an unsafe environment might not be able to sleep as much, whereas a cat experiencing no stress in a home might sleep more.

Many factors play into how much sleep a cat generally needs:

Their Ancestors Were Nocturnal

Many people believe that having nocturnal ancestors plays a role in how house cats function. Most cats will be dormant during the nighttime hours when their people are sleeping because they pick up on your schedule. However, it’s not unusual to be awoken by your cat jumping off of a bureau or hunting shadows in the middle of the night.

Cats are natural predators; throughout history, wild cats would find themselves hunting in the evenings, early mornings, and throughout the night. Even your domesticated cat might be getting back to their ancient roots and using the night to practice their hunting skills. If you hear them pouncing in the middle of the night, that’s probably the case.

They Are Conserving Energy

Your feline friend uses up their energy throughout the day, so when they feel they need to recharge, a quick cat nap is in order. Since they don’t sleep for only one long period, they use naps as a way to rebuild their energy.

You might notice that after some naps, your cat is bursting with energy and needs to do some zoomies to get them under control. Once they feel nice and energized, they’ll be sure to let you know.

Your Cat Could Be Bored 

If your cat can’t find anything entertaining to do, they might just decide to take a nap. This really shouldn’t be a concern! You likely aren’t able to interact with and entertain your cat 24/7, so if they know that taking a nap is an option, let them take it.

You might be worried that your cat is too bored. In that case, finding new ways to entertain them and stimulate their brain might be beneficial. You can create obstacles for your cat, install cat shelves at different heights to jump to and from, or even teach your cat new tricks.

Mental stimulation and physical activity are vital ways to keep your cat entertained, and it also helps you to tire your cat out naturally and through interaction. Your cat will be happy to play or learn something new with you, followed up but a snuggle on the couch.

Stress Might Be a Factor

Some cats that are experiencing stress will cope by sleeping more or disappearing for long stretches of time. During these times when they are hidden, a cat might be trying to rest due to anxiety. Anxiety can make us more tired, so you’ll want to take note of any behavior changes in your cat.

If you can locate the cause of stress, work to eliminate it from your cat’s life so they can get back on a normal sleeping schedule. At this point, it might be beneficial to reach out to an expert in animal emotional wellness and behavior.

Your Cat Might Be Sick

Cats that are feeling unwell might rest more. If your cat has a change in their everyday behaviors and starts to hide away or sleep for more hours in the day, they might be sick. You should keep note of their new sleep patterns and if there are any other symptoms.

If you notice other symptoms, such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, or general soreness and agitation, you should contact your cat’s veterinarian to get medical attention.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Take a Cat Nap With Them!

Maybe your cat isn’t sleeping too much, and you just need to take a cat nap with them. Have you thought of that?! Your cat might be trying to remind you that you should be resting and not working too hard.

Cat naps are great for recharging and regaining energy. It’s actually necessary for your cat to nap throughout the day so they can stay more alert when needed. If you have questions about your cat’s behavior, head to AskVet to get answers. By joining, you also gain access to a community of other pet lovers who have similar questions and worries.

When you schedule a virtual chat with the AskVet team of Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, you can help your cat — and any other non-human family member — live a more well-rounded and fulfilled life. Develop a 360-degree care plan for your cat, lizard, dog, fish, and more — and raise your pets with the village we all need.


The Polycyclic Sleep-Wake Cycle In The Cat: Effects Produced By Sensorimotor Rhythm Conditioning | Science Direct

Domestication And History Of The Cat | Research Gate

Behavioral Awareness In The Feline Consultation: Understanding Physical And Emotional Health | SAGE Journals

Are Cats Color Blind? How They See the World

Are Cats Color Blind? How They See the World

When you go out shopping for a new toy or bedding for your cat, you’ll often try to find a color that vibes well with your cat. Whether you think the color suits them or if it fits in with their coat colors, the question is: does your cat know the difference? Can they even tell that there are a variety of colors?

From a young age, we might have been told that most animals can’t see color, but how true is that statement? While cats struggle to see certain hues and shades, they do see some things in color–just not everything.

Keep reading to learn more about cats and color blindness.

Color Perception in Cats

Color blindness does, in fact, affect our feline friends. To be color blind means that you are unable to discern certain colors from one another, especially in low light. It doesn’t always mean that you see in just black and white. Most people that are color blind have difficulty seeing reds and greens or blues and yellows.

With cats, it’s a bit more difficult to decipher what colors they can and cannot see simply because they cannot undergo a color-blind test the way humans can. Studies have been done to try to determine how cats see in comparison to human vision and what that means for their eyesight and ability to see different wavelengths of light.

Cat Vision Explained: How Do Cats See?

The eye has two specialized receptor cells in the retina. One type is called rod cells which aid in light vision. The other is cone cells, which are photoreceptors that aid in color vision.

People have three types of cones: one that allows us to see reds, one to see greens, and one to see blues. These three together help people see various colors in a range of shades and hues.

Cats were originally thought to have dichromatic vision, which means a cat’s cones help them see color, but they have a lower number of cones than humans — only two.

One is sensitive to blue-violet, and the other is sensitive to greens and yellows, leaving red out. One study found that cats had photopic trichromatic vision. This means that they see a similar range of colors as the human eye but with lower visual acuity; the colors are not as vibrant.

What Different Colors Can a Cat’s Eyes See?

There is much to debate about when it comes to what colors cats can see. If we say cats have photopic trichromatic, then it would be safe to say they can see all of the colors, but differently from how humans would. If we say that cats are dichromatic, then they can only see hues of purple, blue, green, and yellow.

Some people will think that their cat is unable to see certain colors based on how they react to toys or blankets. However, this is probably unlikely because of what colors they can and can’t see, and more so just about which objects your cat likes better.

What Colors Can’t Cats See?

Cats seem to show similarities to people with red-green color blindness. They also seem to be more sensitive to blues and yellows. This would mean that the main colors that cats likely have difficulty distinguishing are red, orange, and brown.

It’s possible that the way humans and cats see color is vastly different. Feline eyes are more likely to see in pastels than in vibrance, especially if we consider them to be photopic trichromatic.

How Do Cats Make Up For Color Blindness?

Cats rely on all of their senses to survive, but eyesight is still important. If your cat has more difficulty with their color vision, do not worry! They make up for it with their spectacular night vision and peripheral vision.

Night Vision

While they might not see as vibrant as humans, cats can see in the night better than us and need a lower amount of light to see clearly. They have more rods in the back of the eye than us, making their sensitivity to light more acute. The lack of color that they might experience is made up for by how well they can see in dim light.

Additionally, cats’ pupils can adjust in a range of light conditions. In the daytime, you might notice that their eyes look like thin slits. That’s because they don’t need to work hard to let any light in to see. In the dark, a cat’s pupils can dilate so that they are almost the same size as their eye, allowing for more light to come in and helping them see.

Wider Peripherals 

Cats’ eyes are not as centered as humans, giving them a wider range of vision. This feature is to help them hunt and for other survival purposes. They can see at a 200 degrees angle, compared to a human’s 180 degrees, making it easier to spot predators and prey.

This does mean their depth perception isn’t as great as that of humans, but it is still considered very good in the animal kingdom.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Get All of Your Questions Answered with AskVet

No matter how long we have been a pet parent, there are new questions you’ll find yourself asking. You might find it helpful to be a part of a community of other pet parents looking for similar answers. When you sign-up with AskVet, you can gain access to this exact community.

Not only does AskVet provide you with answers when you schedule a virtual visit with our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC™), but you can join in with other pet parents in the AskVet Clubhouse to share stories and concerns you might have about your pet.


Cat Color Vision: The Effect Of Stimulus Size, Shape And Viewing Distance | Science Direct

Neutral Point Testing Of Color Vision In The Domestic Cat | NCBI

Trichromatic Vision In The Cat | NCBI

How To Leash Train Your Cat in a Way They’ll Love

leash train your cat

We would do anything for our feline friends — groom them regularly and take them to the vet when they aren’t feeling well. We install cat trees and scatter toys in our homes to keep them entertained and occupied. But did you know one of the best ways to stimulate your cat and promote good health is through exercise?

Letting your cat explore the great outdoors may seem nerve-wracking at first, but it’s also one of the best ways for them to get exercise and mental stimulation. Luckily, there’s a safe way to accomplish this: leash-train your cat! It might sound odd at first, but leash training isn’t all that unusual. In fact, it’s an exciting way to provide enrichment and exercise for an indoor cat.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about leash training your kitty below.

Why Should I Leash Train My Cat?

Leash training your cat can be beneficial for a number of reasons. For one, it allows your feline friend to safely explore the great outdoors. Both cats and dogs need mental and physical stimulation, which helps to prevent boredom and the destructive behaviors that can come along with it. Even just ten to 15 minutes of mental stimulation a day can help keep your kitty happy and healthy.

Plus, leash training can also come in handy in emergency situations, allowing you to quickly and easily evacuate your cat from a potentially dangerous situation. And let’s be real, there’s nothing quite as adorable as seeing a kitty strutting around on a leash.

Depending on the personality of your pet, though, leash training might not be the easiest thing to accomplish. Before we walk you through a step-by-step guide for leash training even the most stubborn kitty, note that not all cats will want to go for a stroll on a leash. That’s ok — we have other ways to get creative with your pets below!

But in the meantime, why not give leash training a try and give your cat the gift of adventure? Let’s go!

Cat Leash Training: Simple Steps 

Leash training your cat may seem like a daunting task — after all, most cats don’t exactly enjoy being strapped into even the best cat harness. But with some patience and positive reinforcement, you can have your furry friend strutting around on a leash in no time.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:


Start by introducing your cat to the leash and collar for the first time. Let them sniff and investigate the equipment, and offer plenty of treats to help them form positive associations with the collar and leash.

According to animal behaviorists, positive reinforcement is your best friend when it comes to getting your kitty to look forward to, rather than fearing, the sight of the leash and harness.

Start Practice

Once your cat is comfortable with the leash and collar, it’s time to start practicing. Be prepared to have your cat lay down or roll around with the harness on. Give them time, space, and plenty of treats to help them acclimate. This may be a slow process, be patient!

Starting off with walking in your home is wise. Your cat is familiar with your home, naturally, and will feel safer and more comfortable there. This will make it that much easier for them to wear the leash in the outside world.

Head Outside

Once your cat is at-ease walking on the leash in your home, it’s time to take things outside. Start in a quiet, enclosed area, such as your backyard or large patio. Allow your cat to explore and get used to their new surroundings.

Release any expectation of walking your cat like you would a dog. They are much slower and prefer to take their time sniffing and exploring. Plan to do a lot of standing around while your cat explores!

This shouldn’t be a long journey. Just like with training dogs, short sessions are far more preferable.

Go Forth and Adventure

As your cat becomes more confident on the leash, consider venturing further and exploring new areas and environments together. Be patient and consistent with your leash training efforts. Reward your cat with cat treats and praise whenever they do something right.

One thing you should be cautious of when leash training your cat is to not let them explore the outside world until they’ve had all of their vaccines. Cats are curious animals, and exposure to different surfaces and other animals without the necessary vaccines can pose a risk to them.

Only once they’ve gotten all their shots and been cleared by a vet to walk on a leash should you begin leash training. And with time, patience, and plenty of positive reinforcement, your cat will soon be a pro at leash walking, ready to explore the world by your side!

What Should Pet Parents Use for Harness Training?

One of the most important steps to successfully leash training your kitty is choosing a well-fitting harness and sturdy leash.

Select equipment that was specifically designed for cats, not dogs. Simply using a small dog harness is not a good idea. You’ll want to avoid any type of chain leash; opt for a lightweight cloth or nylon harness and leash instead.

If you aren’t quite sure which leash or harness is best for your kitty, reach out to your friendly animal behavioral expert or your local vet. A harness that is too small or ill-fitting can be uncomfortable or even harmful to your pet.

When it comes to the collar vs. harness debate, both dog and cat parents have differing opinions. It’s worth noting that collars can prove a tad more dangerous: Cats could potentially become tangled or slip out of a collar. Harnesses also support neck and thyroid health, especially if your pet is prone to pulling.

That’s not to say that collars don’t have a purpose. Collars with a tag identifying your cat and listing your contact information are critical if your cat slips away. Additionally, indoor and outdoor cats can benefit from the One Pet ID from AskVet. The One Pet ID can be updated with your smartphone and alert you if your lost pet is located.

Other Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation for Your Cat

Mental stimulation is essential for the well-being of young and adult cats and dogs, just like it is for us. Bored and frustrated animals can resort to obsessive behaviors like chewing, digging, and generally destroying things, which can frustrate you and your pet.

On the flip side, even just a few minutes of mental stimulation and enrichment each day can wear out your kitten or adult cat and vastly improve their overall quality of life.

Puzzles and Toys

Leash training your kitty and letting them explore the outside world is one way to provide enrichment, but there are plenty of other options as well.

Providing plenty of toys and games for your cat to play with is a good start. Anything from simple cardboard boxes and paper bags to more advanced puzzle toys and interactive laser pointers can be entertaining for your pet.

Encouraging your cat to use their natural hunting instincts can challenge them. You might try hiding treats or cat food around the house, which playful, adventurous cats love to root out, or providing puzzle feeders to mentally wear them out while they retrieve their kibble.

Cat Furniture

You can incorporate cat furniture to build a stimulating environment for your cat to explore. This might include things like cat trees, scratching posts, and cat tunnels for them to investigate and play in.


Alongside investing in cat toys and furniture, provide your cat with regular opportunities for exercise and physical activity. Set aside a dedicated time each day to play with your kitty using a laser pointer or cat toy.

Teach New Tricks

Another way to engage your cat is by engaging in regular training sessions. Teaching a cat new tricks and commands provides a mental challenge that can help keep their minds sharp. It’s also a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your furry friend.

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Leash Training: Worth the Struggle

Wearing a harness and leash might not come naturally to your kitty, but once they get used to the sensation, it can be a fun way to let your cat explore the outdoor world, get exercise, and enjoy some mental stimulation and enrichment. A stimulated cat is a happy cat, and a happy cat means a happy pet parent!

If you have any questions or concerns about exploring Mother Nature with your feline friend, we can help. When you sign up for AskVet, you can schedule a virtual appointment with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ for info on cat training, behavior, routines, and more. Whether you’re looking for assistance providing a well-balanced life for your cat, dog, fish, reptile, or any other pet, the CPLCs™ at AskVet are only a click away.


Positive Reinforcement: Training Your Cat | Napa Humane

Did Your Cat Swallow String? Here’s What You Should Do | Sykesville Veterinary Clinic

Vaccinating Your Pet | American Humane

Should I walk my cat on a leash? | RSPCA Knowledgebase

Cat Grooming 101: The Definitive Guide

Cat Grooming

A healthy cat is a happy cat — and while cats tend to be great at grooming themselves, even the most independent felines need a little extra care every once in a while! Whether your kitty needs a bath, a haircut, or a nail trimming, we’re here to provide all the guidance you need.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about grooming your cat.

Do I Need To Be My Cat’s Groomer?

First, let’s start with the basics: is cat grooming even necessary in the first place? After all, cats are notoriously fastidious about keeping clean. You’ve likely observed your kitty spending hours grooming, and/or licking their fur. Their natural aversion to baths of any sort might have you questioning whether the hassle of forcing them into the tub is really worth the aggravation and fuss.

It’s true that your kitty can, for the most part, take care of themself. Generally, a cat’s teeth and tongue are well-suited to handle the hairballs and grime of everyday wear and tear.

Still, every once in a while, cats might need extra help. If your cat has long hair that tends to get matted, is getting older and can no longer keep up with their own grooming needs, or has gotten into a literal sticky situation, this article is for you.

Note that if your cat proves to be rather tricky to bathe, you might want to head to a professional pet groomer. Your local veterinarian or pet salon (including mobile pet groomers) are experts.

How Do I Bathe My Cat?

We’ll jump right in with possibly the trickiest part of grooming your cat: bath time. Cats are notorious for despising water. Even the most relaxing and luxurious home bath routine can be fraught with the peril of getting clawed. (Despite this reputation, some very playful cat breeds, like the Bengal, do like water and might have tried to hop in the shower with you before!)

But maybe your cat got skunked or spent a bit too much time skulking through a trash heap, and you have no other option. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide to make the grooming process as painless as possible.

Consider Trimming Your Cat’s Claws

Step number one for bathing a water-averse feline: invest in some self-protection. Have you ever noticed your cat digging their claws into a piece of furniture or a scratching post? This is often a form of self-trimming, ensuring those claws are a sharp and healthy length. (However, this behavior can also signify boredom.)

Usually, you can get away with trimming your cat’s claws once a month. If you’re bathing your cat, though — an activity most cats aggressively dislike — you might want to trim those bad boys to protect yourself from getting sliced.

To trim your cat’s claws, you’ll first want to gather your supplies. You’ll need a pair of cat claw trimmers (scissors or clippers work fine), a towel or blanket to wrap your cat in, and some treats to reward your kitty for being a good sport.

Next, wrap your cat in the towel or blanket, making sure to leave their paws exposed. This will help keep them still and prevent them from scratching you. Then pick up your cat and locate their claws.

Be sure to identify a pink area at the base of each claw, called the “quick.” This area contains the blood vessels and nerves that keep the claw avoid, so it’s crucial to avoid cutting it.

Using your claw trimmers, carefully snip off the sharp tip of each claw, repeating this process several times if necessary to get all of the nails trimmed. Finally, reward your kitty with lots of praise (and maybe some treats) to help reinforce the idea that claw trimming isn’t ALL that bad.

Bath Time: An Essential Part of Pet Grooming

Bathing a cat may not be the most fun activity for either you or your feline friend. Still, it’s an integral part of being a responsible pet parent and is definitely worth the trouble if your pet has gotten itself into a sticky situation.

To give your cat a bath, you’ll need a cat-safe shampoo, a towel, a washcloth, and a cup for rinsing. Fill your sink or bathtub with a few inches of warm water, making sure the water isn’t too hot or too cold.

Then gently place your cat in the water and wet them down with the washcloth. Avoid getting soap on their face, especially in your cat’s ears or eyes. Take care to rinse them thoroughly to avoid leaving any soap residue on their fur.

Next, apply a small amount of cat-safe shampoo to your cat’s fur, and lather it in using your washcloth. Work the shampoo into their fur, taking care to avoid getting it in their eyes or ears.

Finally, rinse your cat thoroughly with warm water, and use the towel to gently dry them off. Reward your kitty with treats and lots of praise to reinforce good behavior next bath time (although chances are, they’ll streak away as soon as possible to sulk for a few hours under the nearest bed).

Do not use a hairdryer on your cat, as the noise is too loud for them to handle. Make sure they are left in a warm room to dry off fully, as their body temperature can drop quickly when wet.

Bathing a cat may not be the most enjoyable experience, but it’s an important part of keeping them healthy and happy and is a key part of regular grooming.

How Do I Brush My Cat?

Like we talked about earlier, even the most fastidious cat can use a grooming session every once in a while. Not only does regular brushing remove loose hair and prevent shedding, but it also helps to distribute natural oils throughout the fur and prevent tangles and mats.

To brush your cat, you’ll need a cat brush or comb with rough bristles and a quiet and comfortable spot to work. Not every cat enjoys the de-matting process; brushing somewhere quiet and relaxing might help make your job a little easier. A bed or couch works well. Additionally, you may want to wrap your cat in a towel or blanket to make them feel more secure.

Start by gently petting your cat and getting them desensitized to the cat brush. Slowly work your way up to their head, avoiding their ears and face, and brush in the direction of their fur growth.

Once you’ve finished brushing the top of your cat’s body, move on to their legs and paws. Gently brush out each leg and paw, avoiding their claws. Finally, brush your cat’s tail and backside, again brushing in the direction of their fur growth. (Brushing against the fur growth can exacerbate the buildup of tangles and mats rather than make them better.)

How Often Do I Need to Brush My Cat?

Some kitties might enjoy the grooming process, and you’ll have no difficulty corralling them for their regular brushing. With others, it might be more difficult and have you wondering how long you can go in between grooming sessions.

The answer depends on a few factors, including your cat’s breed, age, and health. In general, most cats benefit from being brushed at least once a week. This can help prevent tangles and mats. Plus, it can remove loose hair before it has a chance to shed and end up on your furniture or clothing.

If your cat has long, thick fur — in other words, if they are a long-haired cat, such as a Persian or Maine Coon — they may benefit from being brushed more often. This is especially true for older cats or cats with health conditions that make self-grooming difficult. In these cases, brushing your cat two to three times a week can help keep their coat healthy and prevent tangles and mats.

On the other hand, if your cat has short, smooth fur — a shorthaired cat, such as a British Shorthair or Russian Blue — they may not need to be brushed as often. In general, once a week should be sufficient, but you can adjust the frequency based on your cat’s individual needs.Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Cat Ear Care: First-Time Tips 

Ear cleaning can be another key aspect of pet care (although not every kitty will need your help with this step). You don’t need special equipment to clean your cat’s ears — just some ear-cleaning solution and a few cotton balls or pads. Never use Q-tips.

Start by gently lifting your cat’s earflap and using the cotton pad or ball to wipe away any dirt or debris you see in the ear. Be careful not to insert the cotton too far into the ear, or use cotton swabs or other pointed objects to clean your cat’s ears, as this can cause injury.

Once you’ve wiped away the visible dirt, put a few drops of ear-cleaning solution into your cat’s ear and massage the base of the ear gently to help the solution work its way into the ear canal.

Use a fresh cotton pad or ball to gently wipe away any excess solution and dirt that has been loosened. Repeat the process on the other ear. And voila! You’ve taken care of your kitty.

Become a (Quasi) Pro Cat Groomer (at Home)

Although most cats are great at grooming themselves, every once in a while, they’ll need extra assistance, whether that be ear cleaning, brushing, or getting a bath.

If you have questions about grooming your feline friend or any other pet-related matter, reach out to the Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ at AskVet. Whether you have a question about a dog, cat, fish, lizard, or more, when you schedule a virtual session with CPLCs™, you have an expert to talk to. From behavioral to nutrition and everything in between, AskVet here is to help.


Cat Grooming Tips | ASPCA

Skunk Spray: Cats | San Francisco SPCA

How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears | United Veterinary Center

Night Vision: Can Cats See in the Dark?

Night Vision: Can Cats See in the Dark?

Cats are known to be quick, agile, and strong hunters. In order to move so effortlessly around the room, pouncing from chair to ledge, one has to assume that their vision must be top-notch. Even in the dark, cats are known to be quite nimble (with the occasional knocking of a knickknack off a shelf).

Cats have remarkable vision, and it’s no coincidence why: They are natural-born hunters who still possess many of the same instincts as their ancestors. Their vision is essential to them, though it isn’t perfect. Keep reading to learn more about your cat’s night vision and how it came to be!

Can Cats See in the Dark?

The short answer is yes, but it’s not as superior as you might think. A lot of people think that cats are nocturnal, but that’s not exactly true either. They are actually considered crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. In fact, around dawn and dusk is when most cats are reported as going missing.

Cats need a small amount of light in order to see. It’s not like they have actual night vision and can see perfectly when it’s dark, but it still is better than human eyes when the sun sets. In utter, pitch-black complete darkness, they are unlikely to see very well (similar to dogs and humans), but they might have better instincts moving around in the dark than we do.

The Evolution of a Cat’s Night Vision

Cats are known to be solitary hunters, meaning that they easily rely on themselves to survive and have adapted certain instincts to make survival easier. They have vertical slit eyes that allow for more light to be let in. Plus, cats have great peripheral vision that makes hunting easier than it would be for a human in a low-light situation.

As we mentioned above, cats are more active in the early morning and evening as the sun sets. This is an opportune time for hunting, and though cats nowadays don’t need to work so hard to survive, they still have some of the same behaviors. Your cat might be more active at night or in the morning and take advantage of their ability to see better when the rest of the world is sleeping.

What Makes Cats See Better in the Dark?

While their night vision isn’t necessarily a real thing, a cat’s vision is remarkably good in any other case. They rely on their sight to help hunt, watch, and play just as much as their other senses.

Their eyes have unique aspects to them that improve their vision and help them see better through all times of the day. There is a reason that it’s hard to get by your cat without them noticing you! Thanks to their keen visual acuity, they’ve likely noticed you before you have noticed them.

How Cats See the World: The Makeup of Their Eyes

Compared to a human, a cat’s eye develops with different chemistry and functionality. For instance, a cat’s eye has completely different photoreceptors from humans. They have a high number of rods that are responsible for motion detection, peripheral vision, and night vision. Basically, their vision in the dark is as useful as their vision in the day.

This also means that in very bright light, your cat might not actually see as well because the additional rods in their eye can make what they are looking at seem overexposed.

Cats have what is called a tapetum, which is the reason for their glowing eyes in photos taken of them at night. Tapetum is a layer of tissue that reflects light back toward the retina. The reflective layer then bounces light back to sensory receptors and allows more than 50% of light into the eye.

The tapetum can come in handy for humans in a roundabout way. One way to find a missing cat is to shine a flashlight alongside the edges of the homes in your neighborhood and in nearby bushes. Hopefully, the flashlight will reveal your cat hiding, and you can bring them home.

Expandable Slit-Shaped Vertical Pupils

A cat’s eye is designed to adjust to light well and help bring more focus to the large picture. A cat’s cornea is curved, and they have a very large lens. In lower light, a cat’s pupils will expand to let more levels of light in, improving their vision as a whole.

This is why in the daytime, your cat’s eye might have a thinner slit that allows them to focus better on objects around them. They don’t need extra light as they do in the middle of the night, so it’s able to remain smaller.

Peripheral Powers

Cats are a bit near-sighted, meaning that they can’t fully focus on objects that are further away from them. However, what they lack in distance vision, they make up for in peripheral vision and the ability to see in dim light.

The field of vision for a human is about 180 degrees, but a cat’s field of vision is 200 degrees. This helps them to survey their surroundings more efficiently and keep an eye out for predators or prey.

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Why Is a Cat’s Vision So Important?

Cats are used to being lone hunters, even when inside a loving home. Their instincts might tell them to hunt and to stalk, so they are going to need their vision to help them complete their journeys.

Since they are nearsighted and don’t always see things so clearly, having a wider range than human vision and the ability to function better in very low lighting helps them survive. They will feel more confident prowling around the house and stalking mice when they can make use of their eyesight.

Of course, a cat will also use their other senses to be successful, but it’s hard to ignore the power of their beautiful big eyes watching and waiting for someone to make the next move.

AskVet Has All of Your Cat Questions Covered

When we get a pet, whether it’s a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a snake, we are never prepared for all of the little questions that arise. When you sign-up for AskVet, you can gain access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™.

Schedule a session with a CPLC™, and they can help come up with cat behavior, cat exercise, and cat food plans to better your pet’s life.

With cats, it can sometimes be hard to guess what they are thinking. They are strong and independent animals who might not realize how much we need them in our lives (and in our homes). That’s why AskVet offers a free One Pet ID to help you be reunited with your cat, dog, horse, or more!

Join in with other pet parents to gush over your pet and talk about their quirks and behaviors that stick out to you when you join the Clubhouse. Don’t wait, and get involved today!


The Taming Of The Cat | NCBI

Circular Pupil Shape Linked To Animals’ Ecological Niche | EurekAlert

Vision In Dogs And Cats | DVM 360

Why do cats sleep so much? | BBC Science Focus Magazine

Tapetum lucidum – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Why Do Cats Hate Water? What They’re Thinking

Why Do Cats Hate Water? What They're Thinking

The strange quirks and behaviors of our pets can provoke a lot of emotions. Sometimes they can be fascinating; sometimes, they can be frustrating and worrisome; and sometimes, they can just make us laugh. One behavior that has brought out all of these emotions in cat owners is their somewhat adversarial relationship with a substance that we humans find so normal — water.

It’s likely that you’ve heard of this cat quirk at some point, and you’ve probably seen a viral video online that captures the phenomenon. But you also may have wondered, especially if you have a cat yourself, what exactly causes this behavior.

In this article, we’re taking a deeper look into the topic. We’ll clue you into what they’re thinking and how you should respond to your cat getting wet.

Why Do Cats Hate Water?

If domestic cats and wild cats alike hate water, then why do ours seem to be big fans of drinking from their water bowls? And why are they sometimes attracted to tap water coming out of a faucet?

Cats and Hydration

This is an important distinction to make for a cat’s relationship to water. Cats are generally perfectly fine with drinking water.

Felines generally don’t seem to drink as much water as dogs — over the course of one day, cats need about four ounces of water for every five pounds of lean body weight. One reason behind the apparent disparity is that cats tend to consume wet food, which is sometimes up to 80% water. If your cat seems to struggle with staying hydrated, reach out to your veterinarian for assistance.

Presence of Water vs. Immersion in Water

Scientists believe cats actually like the sound and movement of running water: It’s believed that it stimulates their strong prey drive.

What the average cat really hates is getting wet, especially with large bodies of water. The list below applies primarily to when cats get their fur wet — they’re not swimmers or big fans of bath time.

Water Changes a Cat’s Weight

If you get caught in a downpour without an umbrella, the first thing you’ll likely do when you get home is to change out of your heavy, soaking-wet clothes. This is what cats feel like when they get wet, except the “clothes” are attached to their skin.

Cats are extremely agile creatures, and the extra weight that wet fur puts on them can make them feel quite uncomfortable. It puts them out of their natural element and messes with their navigation.

It’s an Evolutionary Trait

Depictions of cats can be found on the walls of the ancient pyramids of Egypt — they have historically lived in mostly dry climates. From an evolutionary standpoint, this has made them ill-equipped to deal with things like rivers, oceans, and lakes.

If a cat is placed near a bathtub, their primal instincts are likely signaling to them, “danger!”

Compare this to big cats that hail from warm climates — they tend to enjoy water. Jaguars, ocelots, and tigers love water. Cats from cold areas (the lynx, snow leopard, and bobcats) might avoid water to stay warm.

Past Negative Experiences

If a cat has experienced a stressful situation with water during their kitten years, they could possibly carry that fear with them into adulthood.

If your cat hates water, it may not be their ancestral memories affecting them. It may just be the early memories of their first interactions with water affecting them. If your cat despises water, cat-proofing your home could be wise.

They Don’t Like the Smell of Bathwater 

Cats have a much stronger sense of smell than we do. While a bathtub full of tap water may be completely odorless to us, it is not for our feline friends. They can pick up on the smell of the chemicals added to municipal water and aren’t comfortable if their coat is covered in it.

They’re Not in Control

When a cat interacts with a dripping tap while sitting on a dry countertop, they feel in control of the situation. If any threat arises, they can easily escape. If they become drenched, they lose their sense of control.

They can’t see as well, they lose their traction, and their coat is weighing them down. They just feel trapped.

Are There Any Types of Cats That Like Water?

While it’s true that most cats avoid getting wet at all costs, there are a few exceptions to the rule.

Here are the breeds of cats that could have no problems with water:

Maine Coon

This breed of cat has a special water-resistant coat. They’re often attracted to water and love to splash around in it — If you leave a tap running in your home, they’ll likely seek it out!

Maine coons have historically been used on wooden ships to control pests. This may have made them more comfortable around water over time, or their genetics made them one of the only felines able to do the job. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma, but regardless, these cats are cool with water.


This breed is a descendant of water-loving Asian leopard cats. This is what likely makes them fond of and comfortable around water. Bengals are naturally adventurous and playful; people often consider them the dogs of the cat world.

Turkish Van

These cats have been given the nickname “the swimming cat.” Their coat does not hold onto water, which has made them comfortable getting wet. Owners of Turkish vans often buy kiddie pools so their cats can paddle around all they want.


There’s nothing particularly unique about this breed’s coat; they are just comfortable around water. Experts believe it has something to do with their genetic history — they arrived on the European continent hundreds of years ago by boat, so they likely feel rather content around bodies of water.

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What Should a Pet Parent Do if Their Cat Gets Wet?

Although cats are masters of staying clear of water, the occasional accident can happen — with their affinity for exploration, a slip or fall into a sink, bathtub, toilet, or pool is not uncommon.

Here’s what to do if your feline friend gets soaked:

  • Try to keep your cat calm. Getting wet can be a really stressful experience for your cat, so be sure to be as calming and comforting as possible while they dry off.
  • Wrap a towel around them. You can hold them in a soft towel on your lap and gently squeeze the towel to help the water absorb.
  • Keep them warm. It’s best to put your cat in a warm room while they continue to dry. It will comfort them and help them dry faster.
  • Don’t use a hairdryer. The sound and sensation of a hairdryer may scare your cat and can cause them to get aggressive. Additionally, the hot air can irritate the cat’s skin.
  • Give them space. Your cat probably needs to decompress from the experience, so perhaps give them a treat and leave them alone for a little while. If your pet is showing signs of stress, check out our dog and cat anxiety resources.


There are several factors that play into a cat’s innate fear of water. Some of it is evolutionary, and some of it has to do with the anatomy of their senses. While there are some unique breeds of cats who might enjoy water, most felines will avoid getting wet at all costs.

Whether you’re looking for ways to keep a water-adverse cat away from the bathtub or are seeking info on how to help your cat safely engage with water, AskVet can help. Upon signing up for an AskVet membership, schedule a virtual chat with our team of vets and pet coaches.

Our CPLCs™ can help build a 360-degree Lifestyle Plan for every animal member of your household, answering any questions you have and offering guidance along the way. An AskVet membership also includes access to the AskVet Clubhouse, a free-for-life One Pet ID, and all the 24/7 support you need!

It takes a village to raise a pet, but that village can be anywhere in the world with AskVet.


Why Do Cats Hate Water? | Britannica

A Cat’s Five Senses | Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Hydration | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Cats in Ancient Egypt | Acoma Animal Clinic

Five things you didn’t know about tigers | World Animal Protection

Abyssinian | Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital, Inc

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

One of the creepiest things in the world has to be when you wake up to find your cat is staring at you with their large, unblinking eyes. You may feel a bit awkward being your feline’s primary focus, and perhaps for a good reason! Are they staring as a way to show that they love you, or is their stare one of judgment as you sleep soundly through their breakfast time?

Wondering why our cats do things like this can send you down a rabbit hole, but we’ve got you!

Read on for six reasons why your cat likes to stare at you.

What Is Your Cat Trying To Tell You?

Our cats are great at communicating with us.

They meow, purr, hiss, and use their tails to tell us how they are feeling. We even see our cats rub their faces on our legs, which is also a way for your cat to communicate to other cats that they are your human.

Cat stare-downs can also be used in conjunction with other movements to indicate how they are feeling. You can use these combinations of body language to know your cat’s mood. With this info, you can make the necessary changes if their body language indicates that they are anything but content.

They Love You

Just like humans, making eye contact and holding a gaze can be a signal of affection. Your kitty sees you as a part of their family and them staring at you is a way to show their affection.

Slow blinks also indicate your cat feels connected to you, they trust you, and they want to spend time with you. When your cat is sitting next to you or resting in your lap, make eye contact with them and slowly blink to show them that you enjoy their company. Your cat will likely reciprocate, and you’ll both feel even more bonded to each other. (PS: Cats show affection in other ways, including with licking).

They Missed You

If you have just gotten home from work or returned from vacation, you might find that your cat is staring more intently at you. If you think that your cat is making up for missed time by glaring at you, you may be right.

In a study, cats were found to initiate social contact with their pet parents after a period of separation. This contact was found to be increased the longer the cat’s human was gone.

This is very sweet and shows that our cats care about us and that we are an important part of their life.

They Are Hungry

In true cat fashion, your cat may stare as a hint that it is past their mealtime. We are all aware of the eerie feeling you get when you feel someone staring at you. It is common to experience this with your cat, and your cat may be hinting they want their food bowl refilled.

It’s a safe bet that your cat is hungry if they are eyeballing you while also sitting in close proximity to their food dish. They may also try this move when they want a second breakfast or extra snack during the day, don’t let those kitten eyes budge your resolve.


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They Feel Angry

We all experience bad moods from time to time, and your cat is included in these fluctuations in mood. If your cat exhibits a stiff body and their ears are turned to the side, this may indicate they are angry about something.

One such scenario is taking your kitty for a vet check-up. You’ve gotten them into their carrier just fine, but now it is time to take them out for the vet to take a look. Your cat may have pushed themselves to the back of their carrier, and they are giving you the ultimate stare-down.

Paired with these other tension-filled body gestures, your cat is giving you a warning they are far from feeling pleased. When this occurs, it is probably a good idea to give your cat some space so they can start to relax. You can help break your cat’s icy glare with their favorite treat or toy.

They Feel Scared

Did you accidentally drop a glass? Maybe you started the vacuum cleaner? Do you have extra loud guests over? Any unexpected loud noises can startle your kitty and send them to take cover under the sofa or chair.

Your kitty may stare at you as a way to gauge what is going on and probably a silent plea for the loud noise to stop. Paired with a tucked-in tail, flattened ears, and positioning their bodies low to the ground, your cat may be feeling a little spooked.

If possible, stop the loud noise and distract your kitty with their favorite treat or toy. If you know that you’ll have guests over for a get-together, try moving your kitty to a quiet place if they tend to get rattled easily by loud noises.

They’re Curious

If you are starting a new exercise routine or come home with a new haircut, you may find your cat giving you a good stare-down. While it may feel like they are doing some hardcore judging, your cat’s stares can be just due to being curious.

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and they like to explore new things. If you come home looking different, they will certainly stare to try to figure out what you changed about your appearance. If you start a new exercise routine, your cat may stare as they try to figure out your new moves.

Put More Eyes & Minds on Petcare With AskVet

While we know that our cats can sometimes act a little zany, we may need some help from time to time to decipher their more perplexing behaviors.

This is where our team of veterinarians and Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ can help put some fresh eyes and minds to any pet questions that you may have questions about. Set up a virtual session to get answers to all of your behavior questions and get personalized advice and guidance 24/7 from our experts.

You also have plenty of resources right at your fingertips, like our blog and access to the AskVet Clubhouse, where you can chat and get advice from other pet parents.

Next time when your cat stares you down, slowly blink and smile at your BFFF — best feline friend forever.


Cats and owners interact more with each other after a longer duration of separation | PLOS ONE

How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other | Library Of Congress

The curious character of cats |

The role of cat eye narrowing movements in cat–human communication | Scientific Reports

Why Does My Cat Stare at the Wall: 4 Reasons Why

Cat Stare at the Wall

Do you ever catch yourself staring off into the distance when deeply reflecting on something? Your brain is just too busy organizing all the thoughts you have swirling around in your head, and it doesn’t care about looking at something interesting. Your eyes settle on something boring like a chair or the top of a shelf.

It makes you wonder if your cat is experiencing the same thing when you catch them staring off. You can’t count how many times you’ve walked into a room to see your cat staring at a wall. Is your cat lost in their thoughts of catnip, their favorite toy, or wondering when they will get their next treat?

While we may never know the real reason why our cats decide to have a staring contest with the walls, we can think of some logical reasons why this occurs.

Reason #1 Picking Up Sounds

Our cat’s sense of hearing is pretty amazing when compared to humans. Cats can hear much higher sounds than humans and even dogs! Cat’s ears are also specially designed to pick up sounds. Just like when you turn your head to get a better sense of where a sound is coming from, our cats can turn their ears in the direction of a sound.

If you ever see your cat staring off at the wall, pay attention to their ears. You can get a good idea of if they are listening out for something by seeing if their ears are turning. Additionally, if your cat has their eyes halfway (or all the way closed), this may indicate they are focusing on listening rather than seeing.

If this is the case, your cat may simply be facing towards a wall, but they are really trying to listen to a sound that caught their attention, especially if the sound is a high one we cannot hear ourselves. Your cat may also be using the wall as a reflector to help them hear a sound better.

Reason #2 Sniff Test

Just like hearing, cats’ noses are marvels at picking up scents. To help you imagine how strong a cat’s sense of smell is, they can have up to 200 million odor sensors in that cute button nose. Whereas humans only have a measly five million.

Just like hearing, your cat may have caught a whiff of something tantalizing to their nose – or maybe something a little stinky. They may be in the perfect position for full sniff access, and that happens to be by a wall.

You may notice your cat staring off more if you have brought new furniture, rugs, or even a new animal into the home. All of these things can change the odor in a room, and your cat will certainly try to figure out what that new smell could be.

Reason #3 Boredom

If your cat doesn’t seem to be utilizing their hearing or sense of smell while staring off at the wall, they may be a little bored. Cats need plenty of mental stimulation, and you can help keep them focused on things other than the wall.

Cats are curious by nature, and keeping their attention focused on toys or puzzles can help keep them out of trouble. Of course, every cat is different, and you may find your cat enjoys playing with a wand toy rather than a food puzzle.

While we don’t want our cats to be bored, we also don’t want to overstimulate them by having too many options. You can place some boxes around the house with small treats or catnip so your kitty can find fun surprises as they explore box to box.

Treat mazes are great to leave out when you are away from home. Your cat will be occupied with figuring out how to obtain a tasty morsel you have tucked away. Interactive and self-moving toys will also keep your cat busy when you are away from the office.

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Reason #4 Health Issues

While we never want to think about our cat being sick, prolonged staring at a wall or other inanimate object could be a symptom of an issue.

Pay attention to what your cat does before and after the wall-staring episodes. If you see they engage in behavior like yowling loudly, aggressively grooming near the base of the tail, or attacking their own tail, these could be symptoms of feline hyperesthesia. If your cat suddenly stops these behaviors and then stares at a wall like they are in a trance, this could be further evidence of the issue.

Feline hyperesthesia is characterized by muscle contractions that your cat is unable to control. While it is rare, it is still important to bring awareness to this issue. If you suspect this to be the reason for your cat’s behavior, try to document your cat by recording them so your veterinarian can see it.

Look To AskVet for Pet Advice

It’s fair if you have concerns if your cat has been looking at the wall too much. If this is the case, look to AskVet for advice. We are a membership program focused on your pet’s lifestyle and wellness, so they can live a longer and happier life and give you peace of mind.

Anytime you have a question or are looking for suggestions to help keep your kitty busy, schedule a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyles Coach™ who can help you with decoding your pet’s behaviors.

Contacting AskVet is a great way to troubleshoot so you can know if your concern warrants a visit to your veterinarian or if you can simply change up your cat’s routine.

Joining AskVet is easy, and you gain access to 1:1 pet coaching and 24/7 vet support. Not to mention access to the AskVet Clubhouse, which puts you in touch with other pet parents who are likely experiencing the same cat conundrums you are. You can trade stories, advice, and of course, share all the adorable kitty photos.

Don’t keep staring at the link – give it a click and see how AskVet is there for you and your pet.


Do Cats Hear Better Than Dogs? | Virbac

Cat Senses | PAWS Chicago

Mental Stimulation for Cats | Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome | CAD Direct

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Cats are notorious for finding the perfect boxes to sit in — aka, if I fits, I sits! You may be wondering why a cat is always looking for a way into any box. Interestingly, there are a couple of reasons for it.

Whether your furry friend is looking for warmth, is curious about the new box you have brought home, or has an absolute favorite box that only they are allowed to touch, consider having some lying around your house.

Boxes Make a Cat Feel Safe

When a domestic cat sits in an empty box, it might be helping them feel safe in its surroundings. Boxes are four walls that create enclosed spaces for cats.

For someone who is claustrophobic this might sound like a nightmare, but for a cat, they know this hiding box protects them from all angles. If a predator was to approach them, they would likely not be seen (especially if they are a healthy weight and fit in their favorite boxes). That means your feline friend could pounce and ambush predators or prey at any point.

A study on animal shelter cats showed when a cat was given a box to sit or sleep in, they showed fewer signs of stress during their stay. The boxes were great insulators and can give the effect of protecting the cat from the outside world. This can ultimately lower their stress levels and give them a sense of security in stressful situations.

Once your cat has made a home in a box, it will also smell like them. A lived-in box gives them a solid home base if they need to relax.

Boxes can offer hiding places for both domestic house cats and street cats. This kind of hiding spot can help if your cat is looking for a place to rest or if an outside cat needs shelter from the weather and cold.

Additionally, sitting in a box might remind your cat of what it was like to be in their mother’s womb, snuggled up next to all of their kitten siblings. If you have a new cat coming into your home, they might look for a box to sit in to adjust to a new environment.

Why Do Cats Love Boxes? It’s Pure Curiosity

Cats are famously curious, constantly seeking enrichment. When you get a new box, whether you ordered something offline or are about to ship something off, your cat will likely be involved with whatever is going on.

Your cat might be looking for the box’s purpose, wanting to check out how it smells or wondering where you will be putting the box, especially if they are avid box sitters.

For some cats, the box is something to make into a play toy, and this is completely valid! Your cat might like to sit in them, scratch them, bite them, or even bat them around. It’s a low-cost toy that might keep your cat entertained for hours. Of course, you will want to pay attention to how many boxes you end up keeping so that you don’t end up under a mountain of cardboard.

If your cat does like boxes, consider looking into cat trees and hideouts that you can create for feline enrichment and entertainment.

Warmth and Security in a Small Space

Cats, whether living in a home, in the outdoors, or in a shelter, deserve to feel warm and secure in their own safe zone. A cardboard box is an insulated object that is easy for cats to nest into that can help regulate their body temperature.

According to the American Veterinary Society of Applied Behavior, cats prefer environments around 86 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter how much we care about cat care, this temperature might prove tricky to maintain. A box can help our cats stay max comfy.

There are also plenty of broken down or beat-up boxes out on the streets that unhoused cats can make into their safe space. You may have even heard of people asking for donations of boxes and blankets to put out for cats that might get cold at night.

If a cat doesn’t have a home or is moving into a new place for the first time, they might become overwhelmed, especially if they are unsure where they’ll sleep. Most cats like to be warm and cozy, and boxes can provide them with this. It makes sense, as their own body heat is trapped and redistributed back to them.

How To Make Cardboard Boxes Safer for Cats

Before you let your cat sit or play with a new cardboard box, make sure there are no staples, nails, or tape that could be left over in the box. The last thing we want is for cats to get hurt when trying to get comfortable! If there are any rough edges or pieces that could cause a cut, you might want to get rid of the box altogether or remove any dangerous parts.

Ensure your cat can’t fall out of the box and hurt themselves. Placing it on the ground is the safest option because if you have it on a table, counter, or even the couch, they could accidentally knock the box over and fall. You can put blankets, towels, and toys into the box to make it more inviting and comfortable — your cat will surely be grateful!


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Out of the Box Solutions With AskVet

When it comes to having cats, they can get into a lot of trouble (and fun, of course). Questions are bound to arise, and having AskVet at the tip of your fingers can ease you into animal parenthood. It’s harder to communicate with our animals than we want it to be, but AskVet bridges that gap and helps to come up with answers to any question you may have.

Join AskVet today and meet with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) who can help come up with diet plans, introduce behavioral support, and answer general questions you may have about your pet’s health or cat behaviors. It shouldn’t be difficult to get your pet help, and with 24/7 access to our CPLCs™ and veterinarians, you don’t have to wait long at all!

Reach out if you have any questions about how AskVet can help you.


Assessment Of Clicker Training For Shelter Cats | NCBI

The ‘feline Five’: An Exploration Of Personality In Pet Cats (Felis Catus) | PLOS ONE

Innovative Cardboard Based Panels with Recycled Materials from the Packaging Industry: Thermal and Acoustic Performance Analysis | ScienceDirect

The “If I fits, I sits” instinct: Cats will sit in a box even it’s an illusion (cat pics inside) | BBC Science Focus

Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats? | ScienceDirect

Can We Keep Our Cats Warm Enough? | AVSAB

8 Playful Cat Breeds & How To Play With Them

8 Playful Cat Breeds & How To Play With Them

When looking into adopting a furry companion, you want to ensure that both your personality and theirs mixes well. What you are looking for out of your new best friend might influence what breed of cat you take home with you.

You might want a cat that will chill out and snuggle up next to you all day, or you might want a cat that jumps off the walls, chases all the toys, and makes you laugh non-stop.

If an energetic and adorable cat is what you’re looking for, look no further. We have compiled a list of some playful cat breeds with tips on how to play with them to get the most out of their energy.

Knowing Your Cat

Any cat that you take home you are going to fall in love with and appreciate for all their little quirks, but your lifestyle might influence what breed would do best in your home.

Some kittens require a bit more of an active life from their parents. They may need you to be more involved with their day-to-day life, so knowing which cats have this playful personality can help make the decision on what breed to adopt.

Aside from activity levels, where you live and who else lives with you might impact the breed that comes home with you. Some cat breeds do better with dogs and children than others, and other cats prefer having a companion cat with them in the home. You’ll want to consider all of these things before committing to a new feline friend, so you can ensure you’re giving them the best life possible.

If you live a more slowed-down lifestyle, you might not be able to fulfill a playful kitten’s needs. And that’s okay! Knowing what you are looking for can ensure that you find the absolute best fit for you.

Playful Cat Breeds 

Some people really want a playful cat that will provide non-stop, lovable entertainment while being the best friend you could possibly ask for. An active cat breed will bring this for you, but they might also require a bit more of your attention. Playful cats are sure to find time to entertain themselves, but they will love it when you involve yourself with their playtime.

The following breeds are considered some of the most playful cats out there:


If you’ve ever wanted to have a conversation with a cat, a Siamese is always ready to talk. They are known as very loyal and talkative companions, which means they love you so much that they just want to tell you all the time. However, they are known as some of the most vocal cats out there, so be prepared to hear them all day long.

Siamese cats are smart and outgoing. They love to play and will do so with anyone that is willing to. They will chase a mouse on a string for hours or run up and down the stairs until they start to doze off. Not only do these cats love to play, but they love their humans, so they want to snuggle up and get some love at the end of the day.


These adorable little (literally) cats are also known to be very playful and energetic. Their tiny legs don’t stop them from bouncing off the walls and getting into every crevice in your home. They are generally mischievous and curious, loving to explore and look for trouble.

Don’t be surprised if a few shiny objects of yours go missing — the munchkin cat is known to hide valuables as a game. They love to involve you in their antics, whether you are aware or not. These cats are extremely sociable and friendly and can do well with other pets and children to play with.

Puzzles, string toys, and crumpled-up paper will keep this little cutie entertained, and once they get bored, they are quick to find a new game to play. When bringing home any cat, but especially such a mischievous one, take time to cat-proof your home so your new sofa and fancy curtains can stick around for a bit longer.


Abyssinian cats are beloved for their outgoing and extroverted personality. They really like to be involved in the happenings around the home and will make themselves the centers of attention. They love to climb and perch and watch what’s going on but will involve themselves when they deem it fit to.

Cat trees and wall perches are a great way to keep this playful kitten happy, especially because they are so agile and love to be active.

These cats are famous for their looks: They closely resemble the mountain lion and Ancient Egyptian cats. In fact, it makes them even more appealing! They’re friendly wild cats that you can actually pet and cuddle up with.


While not known for bouncing off the walls like some other cats, the Birman is a cuddly and furry cat that could chase a laser and bat a crumpled paper while lying on their back for hours. If you want a playful and friendly cat that keeps it a bit more lowkey, this might be the breed for you.

You better like cuddling! Birmans are more likely to snuggle next to you and ask for plenty of pets than want to run around the house wreaking havoc. Their long and soft fur is the perfect snuggling material, and you’ll find yourself at peace just running your fingers through it.

Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtails are regarded as one of the most playful cat breeds out there. They will come when called, play fetch for hours with their toys, and find a way to entertain themselves. These cats will bring you the toy they want to play with and drop it at your feet, meowing, telling you when it’s time to take a break from work.

They are very active and sociable, which makes them an ideal pet for someone who is looking to be actively involved in their lifestyle. Not only are they active, but they are sweet and affectionate and will give you all the love that they can.

Siberian Forest Cat

The Siberian Forest cat, or Siberian, is known primarily for their large and strong stature. They are a cat that stands out because of their size and their confidence. They are known as an ancient breed and are playful, outgoing, and energetic. While easygoing, they are very brave, which means they will chase any toy, climb any surface, and even venture outside to chase after butterflies and frolic through the grass.

To keep these cats entertained, you should be actively seeking new games and puzzles to involve them in. They are intelligent cats who want to learn new ways to play, so be ready to be creative in your games!

Turkish Angora

Turkish Angoras are very popular with people who have kids in their households because they are generally very friendly and affectionate. They are soft and cuddly and have a calm temperament, making them easily adaptable. Turkish Angoras do tend to bond with only a few people and might not be a stranger’s best friend, but they sure will be yours.

These cats are skilled climbers and love a good cat tree. They will find a wall or crevice to perch on, so providing them with structural sound spaces can heighten their exploration. Turkish Angoras are also adept hunters, so they might stalk you from time to time (all in good fun!) and might swat at your ankles when they’re feeling spunky.

Maine Coon

The state cat of Maine in the United States, Maine Coon cats, are large and regal cats that are often compared to dogs in how they behave. Though big and bold, they are extremely affectionate and playful.

They love to learn tricks, sometimes go on leashed walks out in nature (if you can train them to enjoy it), will follow you all around the house, and play games all day long.

They enjoy chasing toys, hiding toys from their humans, and playing fetch. Some Maine Coons can be a bit lazier than others, but they still will find ways to get their energy out throughout the day.

All Fun and Games — and Information

When adopting a cat, you might not always know what to expect from their behavior. Questions will arise, and not everyone that you know may be a cat expert. That’s why AskVet is here to help.

AskVet provides pet parents access to answers that they might have working 1:1 with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™. AskVet coaches will help you decipher your pet’s behavior and come up with both behavioral and health plans to benefit your cat.

When you join AskVet, you no longer have to wait for your veterinarian’s office to be open to ask your questions. Now you can connect with world-class veterinary professionals 24/7, no matter where you are.



Abyssinian | Breed Of Cat | Britannica

Siamese Cat Breed Profile | Cat World

Breed of the Month: Siberian Forest Cat | West Hill Animal Clinic

Maine Coon Cat | Maine Secretary of State Kids’ Page |

How to Teach a Cat to Do Tricks | Animal Behavior College

Reading your cat’s “body language” Score Body Postures Head Postures | Winnipeg Humane Society

Why Does My Cat Lick Me? The 411

Why Does My Cat Lick Me? The 411

When we think of how a cat shows us love, it’s not always in the form of licking like how dogs do. A cat’s tongue is much rougher than a dog’s and can even be painful sometimes.

This is because of the papillae — tiny and firm backward-facing spines that sit on your cat’s tongue and can feel like sandpaper. Due to this feeling, it’s not always very welcoming to have your cat lick you, but the behavior itself isn’t always meant to be negative.

If you want to learn more about why your furry friend might be licking you, keep reading.

Is My Cat Licking Me Normal?

Licking is very normal behavior for cats, and there are plenty of possible reasons for this feline behavior. It’s the easiest way for them to clean themselves, and they spend a lot of their time doing it.

When it comes to licking you, their human parents, it is also seen as relatively standard behavior. However, there isn’t much science around to back up the exact reasons why it happens.

When your cat licks you, it can be uncomfortable, but your cat likely doesn’t realize that it can hurt because it is such a normal grooming behavior to them.

Why Does This Happen?

There are a few theories as to why your cat might lick you that range from affection to signs of stress. We must pay attention to our cat’s behaviors as being abnormal in order to keep an eye out for their overall well-being.

If you recognize a change in your cat’s behavior on top of excessive licking, there might be an issue that needs to be addressed. Reaching out to your cat’s veterinarian is the easiest way to solve any issues.

Otherwise, there are several reasons that could be causing your cat to lick you. Here are some:

Seeking Attention

One of the most common reasons that your feline friend is licking you might be because they want your attention. Because this behavior isn’t always pleasurable for you, you are likely to pay quick attention to your cat when they do it. This might have taught them that licking can bring them attention almost immediately, which is great news for them!

They might want pets, food, to play with a cat toy, or simply for your eyes to be on them, and by licking you, they can capture your attention easily.

Showing Affection

From a young age, cats are licked by their mothers as a way to clean them and as a sign of affection. This means that if your cat is now licking you, it could be an extension of that love and affection. They are doing to their cat parents what was once done to them by their furry family members.

Licking might be paired with purring and kneading, two other ways cats might try to show you affection. Purrs, kneading, and cuddling are usually good indicators of the reasoning behind your cat’s licking fascination because it shows that they are expressing their love to you with their body language.

Marking Behavior

If your cat enjoys licking you, they might be doing it as a way to mark you as their territory. This lets other animals and cats around you know that you have a cat at home who loves you the most. However, it can become a problem if you have other animals in the house and your cat becomes possessive of you.

By licking you, it helps them to identify you. As kittens, their mother would lick them all to create a certain smell that would help identify them as a unit. This same method can be passed on when you have a cat who wants to identify you as a part of their family.

Creating a Bond

Licking is thought by animal behaviorists to help form a social bond between you and your cat. It lets you know that you are part of their trusted circle.

A mother cat will lick her baby to help form a bond between them, so when your cat begins doing this to you, they are establishing that bond with you.

Expressing Stress or Anxiety

Another reason behind licking behaviors from cats could be stress and anxiety. It’s not always that licking is a cute and sweet behavior; instead, it could result from feeling highly stressed out. This can sometimes be a displacement behavior that helps to soothe your cat and alleviate stress.

A way for you to determine if it’s stress is to recognize if there are any triggers around when it occurs. Loud noises, bright lights, new people, and strange objects might cause stress for your cat, which could lead to excessive licking.

You don’t want this to progress into a compulsive behavior so seeking treatment is encouraged.

Should You Stop the Behavior?

If the behavior is induced by stress or a medical issue, pet parents will need to think of solutions to soothe the root issue. You don’t want it to lead to anxiety-related behavior because it can cause stress, both mentally and physically, to your cat.

A frequent reason for wanting to stop the behavior is if you find it painful or irritating. For some with cat allergies, this can be especially bothersome (cat allergies are partly due to cat saliva, not their fur). In this case, you might want to find ways to curb the behavior in order to stay comfortable.

Here’s where to get help:

Find Answers and Support

When behaviors that you aren’t used to arise, you are going to want to ask some questions. AskVet’s veterinary professionals are ready to answer them!

If your cat is excessively licking, you might be worried and want to settle your own anxiety, so working 1:1 with Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ from AskVet on how to proceed might just be the solution.

Making sure your pet is happy and healthy and comfortable is essential. We all want our pets to live their best life. We also want our pets to be in good hands and AskVet can help with that. When you become a member of Askvet, you have access to 24/7 professional support, a complimentary One Pet ID, and a large community of fellow pet parents!



Cats Use Hollow Papillae To Wick Saliva Into Fur | PNAS

The Mechanics of Social Interactions Between Cats and Their Owners | NCBI

Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs | NCBI

Understanding Cat Body Language | RSPCA

Cat allergies: Causes, symptoms, and treatments | Medical News Today