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Demystifying Cat Behaviour

We all know that cats are mysterious, especially when it comes to their eating behaviours. Our feline friends are often considered ‘fussy’ and even illusive.

We wanted to find out what exactly what owners understand by their cat’s behaviours so we surveyed 1,000 UK cat owners* and the findings suggest that, whilst we share a special bond with our beloved kitties, we can find it difficult to communicate with them effectively, often misinterpreting their unique ‘cat language’.

Using these findings, we’ve teamed up with cat behaviourist expert, Ellena Hinson, to reveal the surprising truths that explain why cats act the way they do, and to find out how we might interact with them differently, to get the best from them. 

4 Common misconceptions

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about our magnificent moggies, demystified by Ellena:

1) Over half of cat owners believe that when their cat picks at its food and eats several small meals throughout the day, it’s because cats naturally prefer to eat little and often. According to Ellena, this is absolutely true. 

At Lily's Kitchen we know that cats are natural born hunters so they like to enjoy tummy-sized, natural meals, as and when they feel like it. You can help your cat to enjoy their meals more by feeding them little and often, ensuring that food is fresh, at room temperature and in a quiet, safe place (see our transition guide for more top tips on feeding).

2) 9 in 10 cat owners think that when their cat purrs it means that the cat is happy and others believe that it’s their cat’s way of showing love. In fact, purring can also mean that cats are nervous or agitated. Use the situation to assess which one it might be. If your cat is lying down, coming up to you, or rubbing their face against you they are more likely to be happy purring.

3) 4 in 10 cat owners think that cats want attention when they sit on a laptop and 1 in 7 think that it’s because their cat is cold, seeking warmth. It’s most likely that they’re seeking warmth since cats love warm spaces and also respond well to gentle whirring sounds from laptops. Similarly, kitties love to snuggle up to our heads as it’s the warmest part of the human body, so share the warmth and snuggle up!

4) Some cat owners believe that when their cat squashes into a tiny space to hide or sleep, it means that their cat is being playful. Cats seek spots where they feel safe and especially where they can see out of a hole to keep an eye on perceived threats. These spots provide perfect napping locations and cats love to nap.

Sophie the cat

Whilst we may not always understand our feline companions, it’s clear that cats and their owners form very special bonds. Our survey also found that many owners sing to their cats, and the vast majority will take every opportunity to talk to them as a beloved friend. We are among them!

Ellena's Top 3 Tips

Here are Ellena's top tips for a happy (and healthy) cat. If your cat is happy, and relaxed, and in control they are more likely to eat well too.

1) Keep a familiar environment. Cats like to know what is going on, at all times, so keeping change to a minimum where possible helps keep them happy.

2) Keep food, water and litter trays in separate and private places.

3) Be careful of open cat flaps and windows that might allow other cats to come in.

Transition Pack for Cats

Our mysterious feline friends deserve the finest food and at Lily's Kitchen we have developed whole new menu that cats will adore.

Our recipes for cats are nutritious and full of taste. And because it’s Lily’s Kitchen, you can be sure that every one is made with top notch, natural ingredients and absolutely loads of freshly prepared meaty greatness – that cats thrive on.

As cats can take a couple of weeks to transition over to a new diet, we have put together this special pack containing approximately 2 weeks worth of proper food for a medium sized cat. 

Ellena Hinson: Cat Behaviour Expert

Ellena Hinson

Ellena Hinson graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Animal Science (Behaviour Studies) from DeMontfort University in Lincoln in 2002 and went onto study the Post Graduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling course at Southampton University in 2006. During this time, she pursued a teaching career in Further and Higher Education.

She qualified as a Lecturer in 2005 and specialises in Animal Behaviour and Science. She enjoys teaching Higher Education and wrote the Foundation Degree Behaviour module for the University of Hertfordshire. She also currently has involvement in training Veterinary Nurses in their final year of study at Anglia Ruskin University. Ellena developed her business Pet Behaviour Therapy while working as a Lecturer and developed relationships with vet practices in her area; taking on veterinary referrals for cats, dogs and horses.

To find out more about Ellena Histon, our cat behaviour expert, visit her website petbehaviour.co.uk