Tag Archives: National Geographic

The Wild Side of Cats

Over a year ago I received an email stating that one of Chris’s YouTube videos (http://youtu.be/iFnHCcrlrnI) was being considered for inclusion in a National Geographic documentary titled Wild Side of Cats. I filled out the necessary paperwork but never heard back from them so I assumed (correctly) he didn’t make the cut and made a mental note to watch for the show but then forgot about it.

I don’t watch much television but by chance I noticed that it was showing the other night so I watched it. I found it to be quite interesting. The show parallels our domestic cat’s behavior to that of wild cats.  One interesting example is that purring is a method of quiet communication between mother and kittens so as not to be heard by potential predators.

Another example is that wild cats will bury their unfinished kill so that other animals can’t smell it. I often see Chris do this after I feed the cats wet food. He will eat a small amount and then scratch at the floor like he is trying to bury it. I often wondered if he was saving it for later or burying it because it tasted like poop. Now I know.

Towards the end of the show they indicated that some of the affectionate things that cats do are done for non-affectionate reasons. While some of what they say may be true some of the time, I think it is wrong to try to explain away loving gestures in a cold, scientific way.

For example, they say a cat that lies on someone’s lap does it for warmth. I say that whoever produced this show probably does not have cats. Chris can be very needy at times for affection and lies on my lap quite often. I can guarantee he is not doing it for warmth. As a matter of fact, it is hot here in Florida in the summer and the cats lie on the tile floor because it is cooler. The extra warmth Chris gets from my lap is a sacrifice that he makes for attention. In addition, when Rose and I do sit down and watch television, Rose likes to sit with a pillow on her lap and Chris will often come and lie on her pillow. No warmth there but plenty of affection.

I think all warm-blooded creatures have emotions and cats have very strong emotions. They can love you just like you love them. So the next time your cat wants to lie on your lap, be assured that he or she loves you for you and not for your body temperature.

Despite my rantings, I believe the other 99 percent of the show is very interesting and worth watching. You can find more information about it at http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/wild/episodes/wild-side-of-cats/

If you have seen the show, or even if you haven’t, let me know what you think.

Bad Cat Chris Versus Spray Bottle

Most cats hate to get wet so a handy spray bottle with water in it is a great tool for curbing bad behavior. At least that is what we thought when we bought one to keep Chris from getting on the counters.

Whenever he would jump on the kitchen counter, one of us would squirt him and he would immediately jump off.  We thought after getting wet a dozen times or so he would stop jumping on the counter. Unfortunately, that idea may work with other cats but Chris seems to be immune to many of the behavior correcting techniques  that you might read about.There were times when we had to squirt him three or four times within a five-minute period and still, he would come back for more. It was as if he had no long-term memory and would immediately forget what just happened. I know his memory happens to be fine though because many times he would jump off the counter when he saw one of us just pick up the bottle. I think the urge to be bad is just to overwhelming.

Bad Cat Chris and Chuck
Only photo I could find that shows both counter and stairs (upper right).

The problem got worse when we moved back to Florida because our kitchen counter was not only bigger but it was within jumping distance from the stairs. That meant that he could skip traveling all the way down the stairs and get off at the half way point. That worked in reverse too. He would jump on the counter and then to the stairs.

Then there was the new furniture we got shortly after moving in. Chris took a liking to Rose’s chair and started scratching it. I tried spraying it with a no-scratch spray but again, these “cures” were designed for normal cats. That left the old spray bottle as our only line of defense.

For some reason he would only scratch the chair while we were sitting in the living room. Perhaps he wanted to show us what a bad cat he could be. Sometimes he would scratch the back corner of the chair and other times he would lay on his back, dig his claws into the fabric, and pull himself around the perimeter.

Whenever he would scratch the chair we would squirt him which would end the scratching for about two minutes before it started again.

We even bought a mini spray bottle to keep in the bedroom so we could spray him when he would not let us sleep. That bottle didn’t last long.

I don’t know if it was a willful act of defiance but Chris would chew on the spray bottles. He chewed the small one so much that it was unusable a few weeks after we bought it. The larger one took more time but he kept working on it. After the small bottle stopped working we brought the big one to bed with us. I sometimes had it on the floor next to me and would grab it when Chris was being especially annoying.

When we were able to sleep, Chris was busy chewing on the nozzle. Once when I tried to use it he had turned it to the closed position. Another time he had completely unscrewed it and yet a third time he was able to unscrew the main filler cap without knocking the bottle over. I did that when I grabbed the bottle to spray him. The sprayer went with me and the water dumped onto the carpet.

Eventually he was able to chew the bottle beyond repair so we had to retire it. We never bought another one. It took awhile, but he won.

In other news, I got an email the other day from a british company named Parthenon Entertainment. They want to use a Video of Chris that I had posted on YouTube (http://youtu.be/iFnHCcrlrnI) in an upcoming documentary for National Geographic called “The Wild Side of Cats.” They are collecting more videos than they can use so he may not make it into the final cut, but if he does, that would be really great. Even if they don’t use the video, it is nice to know someone is interested.

I also want to mention that there is no change in Abbey’s condition. The vet said it is “irreversable liver damage” but I don’t have a high level of faith in today’s medical community, human or pet. Don’t get me wrong, I respect what they do but often if there is not a drug that can fix the problem, we are told the problem is unfixable.

Abbey last year

Abbey last year

Abbey now

Abbey now