Chris really is a hoot sometimes, especially when he gets in his biting mood. I know I have written about this before but seeing it never gets old.
We have always joked that Chris has to be the alpha in the house. The truth is, cats are not like dogs, there is no “alpha” cat in the wild, at least not among African Wildcats, the species that evolved into the modern domestic house cat.
African Wildcats are loners, especially the males. Each male has a single territory that does not overlap another male’s territory but may overlap several females’ territories. This may cause competition for mating purposes but there is no group that requires a leader.
About 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, humans started to give up their hunter-gatherer lifestyle and became farmers. This, of course, was a very gradual process but eventually there were communities of people growing wheat and other grains. They stored these grains in large bins that attracted rodents. The increase in rodents, in turn, attracted cats.
The humans not only tolerated the cats, they welcomed them. Cats were an almost perfect solution to the rodent problem but having several cats in the same area was a bit unnatural. I don’t know how they got along back then but over time they evolved to tolerate each other as well as humans.
Our domestic cats today have never developed the hierarchy or cooperation found in a pack of wolves, but they can live together in large groups that are not related without killing each other. Some even develop friendships with each other. I have noticed that male cats seem to get along better than female cats but that is the opposite of what happens between wild cats. I have also noticed that a lot of fighting happens between periods of calm.
Understanding what drives social behavior in cats is a complicated issue that I don’t come close to understanding. Chris’s behavior is a good example. He is always trying to be the dominant, or alpha, cat in the house, but since cats don’t have alphas, I’m not sure what he is thinking. Frankie does not let Chris dominate him, which is sometimes a source of tension. Puck is the submissive one and I sometimes feel bad because Frankie is always chasing him around the house in what may, or may not, be play.
Chris is different. He will show Puck plenty of affection most of the time but occasionally he will grab the back of his neck and hold him down. I try to break it up but Chris won’t let go. I have to pry his mouth open. On several occasions, I have even seen him standing over Puck, with two legs on the left and two on the right, dragging him by the neck across the floor. A short time after that he will lie down next to Puck and wash his ears.
I have heard that pinching the scruff of a cat’s neck will produce a calming affect. Perhaps it is necessary as a kitten so the mother can carry her young without them struggling and it just remains through adulthood. I’m not sure why Chris would want to calm Puck down. He is already submissive to Chris. Perhaps it is just a friendly reminder that Chris is the boss.
What do you think? Do your cats do this?
My wife has been sick the last couple of days and has not slept well due to difficulty breathing through her nose. In spite of her need for rest, she brought several hours of work to do at home. After we ate dinner she was too tired to work and went to bed early. At 2:30 this morning she was again having trouble sleeping so she got up to do her work. I woke up briefly when she got up but quickly fell back asleep until 4:30 when I heard Rose yell, “Chris! Stop that!” I think I may have heard swearing as well but I might have been dreaming.
I knew what was going on. Chris was biting her legs. He does that sometimes when he is not getting the required amount of attention. I decided I needed to drag myself out of bed to distract Chris so Rose could get her work done. Chris and work just don’t mix. I have tried it many times before and if he is not biting, he is stepping on the keyboard or rolling around on the desk and forget about having a cup of coffee nearby. Sometimes I just give up and come back to it when he is sleeping.
Here is a video of Chris biting my leg. It is an old one but it illustrates what we have to go through with him.
I don’t think I have to ask but who else has trouble getting work done with cats around?
Last night Rose and I were watching television and Chris was chewing on the power cord for the Christmas tree lights. We yelled at him to stop so he then started chewing on one of the light bulbs… while it was plugged in. I had to pick him up and move him two or three times and each time he would give me a loud kitty yell and then go right back to what he was doing. It was like he was enjoying the negative attention.
Now I worry about leaving the tree plugged in while we are in another room. I’m pretty sure he only does it for the attention that it brings him but I still have to treat him like a small child. He is a four-and-a-half year old cat with the maturity level of a three year old child. At this rate, I’m going to mature before he does.
We purchased a somewhat unconventional Christmas tree the other day. It is a trio of palm trees that seemed perfect for a Florida Christmas. Yes, I used the word Christmas instead of Holiday, so sue me. I just looked out the window and the sky is not falling and, as far as I can tell, the apocalypse has not begun so I may just use it again.
When we started to put up our Christmas… tree (whew, the world is still here) Chris and Puck took a strong interest in the box and the tree.
I was a little worried about Chris chewing on the power cords but it seems the novelty has worn off. Now all that is left is the decorating.
When Chris was a kitten, we had a big problem trying to sleep because when he wasn’t biting our ears or noses he was attacking our feet under the covers. I was hoping very much that this was the kitten in him and he would stop when he matured. He is now four years old and we are still waiting for him to mature.
He did eventually stop biting our feet at night but he still is a nose biter. He especially like to bite my nose for some reason. These last few months I have noticed his biting has been getting worse, not better. He has taken to biting my arms and legs like he is a kitten again. He does not always act that way but he gets into these frisky moods where he feels like he has to bite me.
I caught him in one of thee moods a few months ago and recorded it and then forgot it was on my camera until I noticed it the other day.
Does anyone else have a cat that does this? I’m just curious how common this behavior is.