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Will the cat listen a reason?

If you want your cat to feel fine, if you consider it a real member of your family then you should allow it to take liberties of hearing and seeing everything, it needs. Even if your house is not that large a cat itself will find possibilities to make a stroll, to go on "excursion", in short, be in a good form.

What a curious things are happening there behind the window! Oh year, one can watch what's happening out there for hours from a windowsill. So don't even try to entertain your cat. It can entertain itself all right.

Cats are very fastidious when making a choice of a "domicile". And they are especially careful when looking for a cosy nook to sleep. Don't hamper them to do this, because the thing is not that easy! You see it is necessary to select such place, from which it is comfortable to keep a watch with everything that happens in the house. A cat can change several places before it will find a proper one and will like it enough. It is possible to understand owner's motivations. Of course it does matter for him that the cat not to bring discomfort or break an order and cleanness in the house. That's why he strives for placing his pussy in some box at the front door. But the cat seems not to share the master's opinion! It has already found some cherished place on the back of a sofa. But how much parts of mud brought on claws and hairs accumulate here! One should bring his cat to reason without entering into a conflict with demands of hygiene.

Keeping in mind the specific features of each cat it is nevertheless possible to designate some places that will be appreciated by every pernickety pussy. Most of them prefer high "points" with a good field of view. Conversely, shy ones would rather hide from danger.

Tastes differ: some cats like soft surfaces and another prefer rigid to sleep on. But all of them, without exception are fond of warm places - at the oven, radiator, turned-on radio or a TV set. Such places are full of danger! One shouldn't allow his cat to approach to turned-on devices! Some animals are used to getting into opened microwaves, ovens and boilers. And if one will not notice the cat and close the oven, there'll be a trouble. Dark, out of sight places, hollows, vessels, utensil of large volume can also be places of secluding. It's hard to foresee everything. A cat can choose either a basket with washing or a box with a coal. Opened drawer or a box for footwear may attract a cat as well.

The greatest pleasure is to be near the master - sit on his shoulder or head, settle around his neck or curl in a ball on his knees. And purr, and slumber. Sometimes cats choose absolutely unpredictable things to lie on that are necessary for its master - books, desktop, papers. Every cat has an inexplicable taste for paper. Some feel themselves all right only on a shit of a newsprint lying somewhere.

The forbidden fruit is sweet. It's about a bed. Not the cat's - the master's one of cause. It possesses the magic magnetic power. And it is the owner who decides whether his cat become a "spoilt child" or not.

How to combine such, apparently, different things as the animal's comfort and the order in the house? First of all, as far as possible, don't forbid a cat to choose places it likes. It's better to lay there some sanitary material, which is easy to clear or to change. Like small pillows with slips, easy to wash; out of use coverlets, swaddling bands, beddings. Second, watch that the cat getting into different apertures leaved opened provisionally or through inattention. Before closing this apertures check there's no cat inside.

If you are familiar to your cat's habits then it's easy to determine what hide-out it would prefer - an empty opened box, upholstered with a cloth from inside or an secluded house like dog kennel with a removable cover to make a tidying up possible.

The master's bed should remain a prohibited area!

And what about the fresh air? You see a cat needs it as much as a human. The fact that the cat likes to sit on a windowsill demonstrates not only the curiosity but that the cat feels as if it takes a walk. Fresh air helps to feel the cat well. The stimulating effect is also important: eyes and ears percept the information from the environment. But in order to avoid troubles with your tourist, some safeguards are necessary to be taken. Fallings down quite often become the matter of severe injuries. One should strain a net or a wire-mesh on the window, which is most frequently visited by the cat. The balcony should also be closed up with a net or rods, including roof, so that four-footed climbing- and jumping-lover will not be able to overpass the barrier.

The majority of cats are individualists. And friendship between them is rare. The cat will make friends with a dog rather then with a cat in the neighborhood.

Solitude is a part of their nature. They make their business alone. Alone they play, eat, hunt, clean themselves, take a rest, and sleep alone too. The gregarious behaviour is alien to them.

But the cats as well have to adapt to environment. So the contacts between different cats, between cats and dogs, cats and other animals, cats and humans are not that uncommon.

Our pussies are deeply attached to a house and regard it as their individual territory. Strictly speaking, it's an imitation of the individual territory because it is not marked by the boundaries, however the animal defends it furiously from every intrusion. The center of the individual territory is a house or a flat, where the cat feels itself a boss: it sleeps here, takes a rest and eats.

All that is said above both concerns urban and rural cats.

Around the main house there's a hunting and patrolling region. Meeting with another cat here doesn't end in fight. Cats keep distance, avoiding contacts. Every individual has its own path for a beat of its' property in a certain period of a day.

The hunting region is watched closely. Animals mark them, spraying the urine and leave excrement, which, in this case (and in contrary to habits) are not dug in.

It's worth speaking about the behaviour of two or several cats in a narrow space such as a flat or a yard. Finding itself in a new place a cat first of all starts investigating surroundings. Only after the "inspection" it is able to do something else. If the place is unfamiliar to both two cats, then each of them inspects its' side of the new territory before striking up an acquaintance.

And what if only one animal knows the region? The other cat is unable simply to explore the new territory, because the former, more accustomed to the house, will impede the latter by demonstrating its' superiority. Therefore the former cat most probably will act this way: it will find a secluded and, if possible, an elevated point and watch from out there what will be next.

If the region appears to be the "individual territory" of one of the animals the holder will drastically force the stranger out at once.

Here two cats have met on a neutral territory. What will they do?

The curiosity, close to caution, will predominate during the first steps of both.

It's very important for each cat to catch its' neighbor's smell and study it thoroughly. This is the first distinct contact. The next is nose-to-nose sniffing, necks stretched. Then the back of the head is studied, and sides of the body. A study of tails is the finish of an acquaintance procedure. In this situation the lifted up tail one can consider as a demonstration of friendly intentions. It gives the "green light" to another cat: you may come near!

The next moment is up to partners' behaviour. The stronger cat will dominate over weaker or scared one. The latter will try to defend and probably will be compelled to run away.

Now let us talk about peculiarities of keeping the cat in a town and in the village.

There's not a problem for a cat in the town to go out - the problem is how to return home. Remember how many of them stand in front of the closed doors, mewing loudly and sadly? Some owners are so busy or just lazy that don't bother much and forget about an animal that wishes to get home after many hours being outdoors.

Unlimited walks in the yards lead to another much more unpleasant consequences. Cats used to defecate in soft, crumbly soil attempt on flowerbeds and children's sandboxes.

There are some simple rules for people keeping cats in a town. Don't let the cat go out. If it has happened, keep an eye on it. There's nothing ridiculous or shameful in walking with a cat on the lead.

Animal permanently living at home entirely depends on its' masters.

Therefore take care of it: keep the house clean, ventilate rooms more often to avoid the off-smell, and watch that there aren't any parasites in cat's hair.

And remember: the more cats live in a house the more worries and even troubles the owner has.

It is much easier to keep a cat in a village, but still there are some special difficulties here.

A country cat looks for a refuge in houses, sheds and under porches. There it sleeps and gives birth to litter. Usually its' food is leavings from its' master' kitchen. This cat never feels hungry. But sufficient, time-ordered diet doesn't oppress its' hunting instincts - even domestic cats remain keen and smart predators.

Cats, which live in groups in the yards, show more activity. These are the very cats that occur needless. They are unable to supply themselves with what they get near the houses so they have to stroll far in adjacent forests and fields. Hunger and the necessity to feed the litter incite many of them to brigandage. Birds and different inhabitants of lower levels of the forest become preys to them. Contacts with wild and run-wild animals sometimes can lead to an outbreak of disease. Pussies run wild enlarging the list of animals subjected to catching.

However a domestic cat living in a country may sometimes run the danger too. More then usual this happens during picnics out of town and at the cottages near forest or field. Curiosity, the desire to learn what is going on behind the fence and disrespect to any enclosures - all this may entail troubles. Cars on the country roads and highways knock down many cats.

To prevent this owners should observe certain requirements. Don't leave a cat alone all day long otherwise it will become a tramp. If you are occupied, take care of your pet beforehand - leave the door half-opened to let the exit and entrance possible. The truth is simple but so difficult to remember: the cat needs to be fed regularly. Always watch closely whether your cat feels itself well.

In European part of Russia the period from March to July is the breeding season for the majority of birds, so during this time the cat should walk only under owner's supervision.

And here is one more rule. If you have taken the cat to the country, it is obligatory to take it back home afterwards. Troops of homeless animals, "lost" by its' masters is the evidence of their hard-heartedness and indifference towards the fate of living creatures, which lives depend on humans.

Translated by Tatiana Karpova (Moscow)
(MSU, Biology faculture, Dep. zoology and ecology).