Staring is Bad Manners

Ashton: What are you doing, Newt?

Newton: I’m showing this caterpillar some manners.

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Ashton: The caterpillar needs manners?

Newton: It was staring at me.

 

red fuzzy with eyesAshton: Ohhhhhhhh.

Newton: * BITE *    * KICK *

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Ashton: Do you think that will really teach it to stop staring?

Newton: I don’t know, but now YOU’RE staring at me while I’m at it.

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Ashton: I have better manners than a caterpillar. But we both have stripes.

Newton: What do stripes have to… never mind. No staring by anyone with stripes!

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Newton: I see you out there. You’re staring, too. Don’t tell me that it’s because you have stripes, too.

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Bug in a Ball

Our previous experience with treat dispensing toy didn’t go so well. Newton was able to break it open and help himself to all of the contents. We got a new treat ball to try and see if it would withstand Newton any better.

Ashton: Newton, what’s that?

Newton: Shh, do you hear the ball rattling? Something’s inside.

Ashton: Are you sure?

Newton: Oh, I’m sure there’s something in there. I think it’s a bug.

orange tabby and brown tabby with toy

Ashton: Whooooa…. are you eating the bug from inside the ball?

Newton: * MUMBLE MUMBLE *

Ashton: It’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.

Newton: Then don’t ask me questions while I’m eating!

orange tabby and brown tabby with toyAshton: Do it again! Do it again!

Newton: I’m working on it. Hold your stripes. This can take a minute. It’s a very special skill.

orange tabby and brown tabby with toy

Ashton: Hey, those aren’t bugs! Those are TREATS! You’re going to share, right?

Newton: If I want to call them bugs, then they’re bugs.

orange tabby and brown tabby with toy

Ashton: You didn’t answer my question about sharing!

orange tabby and brown tabby with toy

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Pheromones May be Key to Attracting Cats to Scratchers

Don’t throw out that old, well-scratched cat tree just yet! It might be the best way to help keep your kitty from scratching things you don’t want her to.

gray tabby cat scratches sisal postCat scratchers come in all shapes and sizes, and enhancing their attractiveness to your cat so that she prefers scratching there instead of scratching on your sofa can be frustrating when you don’t know how to get her to get started using a beautiful, new cat tree you just brought into the house. A new study may have unlocked one of the keys: pheromones.

A team from Texas Tech led by professor John McGlone used kittens to test various cat scratchers to determine which one cats preferred and why. The study offered horizontal scratchers, vertical scratchers, and scratchers with all kinds of substances, even bubble wrap. They found that the kittens preferred cardboard scratchers in an S shape over the others offered.

Even more interesting, the study looked more closely at what attracted the kittens to the scratchers by putting various substances on the favored S-shaped scratchers. The results suggested that what really attracts cats to scratchers is pheromones left by cats who scratched there before, which trigger a social response for the next cat who encounters it to scratch the scratcher to mark it, too.

buff cat scratches on scratching postWhile catnip oil attracted some attention to the scratchers, kittens clearly preferred scratchers that were previously used by other kittens. Each subsequent kitten that used the same scratcher used it for longer and longer, suggesting that the pheromones left by the previous kittens were attracting the new kitten to it.

The researchers say that the next step is to determine exactly which pheromone impacts cat behavior. Once it is isolated thorough organic chemistry and animal behavior work, it can be applied to scratchers to attract cats and help keep your furniture safer from cat claws.

One day soon, there may be a scratcher attractant spray. Until then, you might want to think twice about throwing away your cat’s favorite scratcher, even if it’s looking a little tired. That might be the best way to be sure that your kitty is going to return to it again and again.


Reference and further reading:

ASDA-ASAS Joint annual meeting, Evidence for a cat pheromone that modulates kitten scratching

Photo credit:

Raelene Gutierrez on Flickr

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Wordless Wednesday: Birds of a Feather Edition

Newton poses with chicken


Chicken Leg Icon  Don’t miss catching up on all of our chicken capers.

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