By Andrea Vantadori, Counselor of Coexistence and Relationships with Cats
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Cats are not stupid animals. They never repeat a behavior if it does not perform a very specific function. Each species is characterized by distinctive features, inherent and peculiarities called species-specific which describe its complete uniqueness over other species. Ethology (from Greek principles and logos, “character” and “study”) is an applied science whose purpose is to study the behavior of animals. An essential tool for an ethologist is the ethogram. It is a set of natural behaviors that a species manifests in general or in a particular situation. The purpose of the ethogram is to create a catalog of natural behavior, which is constantly updated with increasing research on the species under consideration. In other words, it can be defined as a set of observable behaviors within a given animal species.
The specific behavioral reserves of a species aim to achieve homeostasis for the individual, i.e. the condition of mental and physical balance. The species-specific behavior of cats includes the ethical needs of the species. By necessity we mean something urgent for the person, that is, he must be completely satisfied, otherwise his physical and mental health will be deeply compromised, thus leaving him in deep discomfort and discomfort.
So let’s try to describe the needs of a cat. Today we talk about the daily needs of identified cats. It is an innate need, an instinct that is deeply rooted in its nature, associated with the need to protect its own territory, but not only. Marking for a cat involves submitting a variety of messages, which underline its presence in a particular area. If another cat crosses that area, it will reach through these messages and realize, without the possibility of misunderstanding, that the place has already been inhabited and explored by another specific person. For a free-range cat in the wild, these messages can reveal important information about finding a mate, underlining his or her preparation for mating. For a non-neutered cat, these signs are much more intense and frequent.
We can distinguish four types of identification. The first is the territorial identification of ownership. This type of marking is usually achieved by scratching the selected surface, usually vertically. The cat stretches out on the surface to scratch with its front paw, opens its claws, configures them on it and lets itself fall down, cutting deep vertical and parallel furrows. This is a visual marking because these scratches are so obvious, even to humans that odorous chemical. The pheromone gland, located in the plantar pad deposits, including scratches, both want to inform about the presence of pheromones in the area and to communicate multiple information about its health status, its availability for mating, its sociality. It often happens that property marks are also made with stool. They are the vehicle of pheromoneal messages. Cats collect feces outside the litter box, at specific locations, such as the boundary of a region, in a transit area, in the vicinity of an area or an object on the surface of a contrast. This is a strong regional identification.
The second is the identification of tension. It is a sign that is made through urination and it can affect both men and women. Urine becomes a carrier of vital visual and chemical-olfactory information. The released pheromones can communicate sexual messages, indicating readiness for mating, but also a strong message of the region’s extreme defenses, especially when the cat feels threatened and lost. The cat, after smelling the selected surface, is usually vertical, standing around, its tail raised, straight, vertical and vibrating, its front paws tightening in place and spray the stream of urine, horizontal, rather dense. This is a very strong sign, because the smell of this urine is intense and pungent; It depends on the concentration of the amino acids felinin and isovaltin. The amount of these amino acids depends on the quality and quantity of protein taken with the diet. A cat, especially a male, which contains high levels of felinin and isovaltine in its urine, is certainly a good predator and a suitable mate for consequent mating.
The third identification is the regional one of the acquaintance. The cat rubs itself on certain parts of the body such as the head, cheeks, buttocks, objects and the surface of its area. By doing this, it spreads familiar pheromones that give your habitat a familiar and familiar scent. In this way the cat recognizes its territory as safe and secure. Finally we have social alo-marking. Like the regional sign of acquaintance, the cat rubs itself in the same way, but on other living creatures, such as other cats in the house (or other pets with which it is acquainted) and, of course, humans. . Thus, a common group odor is created that distinguishes family members from the same social group, which cats believe, distinguishes it from the odor of foreign intruders.
The need to identify, however, does not affect wild free-range cats. Our domestic cats, males and females, will continue to mark their territories as sterile and it does not matter whether it matches the cadastral boundaries of our home. Have you experimented with these forms of identification?