Newsweek – Cats make for very entertaining pets due to their occasionally strange behavior, but it can be hard to know what is normal and what is not. New research has now found what is unusual and what is considered normal, as well as what could be a cause for concern for owners.
The study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior by scientists from a number of different institutions assessed 816 cat owners and asked them to fill out a survey specially designed to analyze their pets’ behavior.
The researchers found that cats being curious about new objects or surroundings was very common, having been reported in 82 percent of cases. Purring when being stroked was also very common, accounting for around 81 percent of those studied.
Behaviors that were identified as never or seldom happening by more than 90 percent of owners included spraying (standing position with tail raised vertically) outside of the litterbox or on surfaces, sudden frantic licking or chewing, pacing or growling and hissing.
“Understanding normal behavior helps improve animal welfare, and especially so with cats, whose antics can be as mystifying as they are cute,” the study’s lead author, David J. Menor-Campos of the Universidad de Córdoba in Spain, said in a summary of the findings.
“When cat owners understand what’s normal and what’s abnormal for their pet, they can spot warning signs and address behavioral or health issues before they become too severe.”
It also appeared that female cats were more likely to act aggressively and got scared more easily. Male cats, however, appeared friendlier and more sociable to humans. They were also more vocal than females.
A cat’s behavior was also linked to their surroundings. Those that lived in a rural setting, for example, were less playful and were more likely to hunt than those living in smaller apartments …