Feline Behaviour Studies
A cat begins to learn soon after birth when the eyes have opened, and their hearing is developing. This happens about two weeks after birth, and the very first learning should come from the mother cat who begins to teach her kittens what it is to be a cat. If left without human contact of any sort, kittens will develop as feral cats, totally wild-living and unsociable in human terms. Human contact and experiences need to be present from two weeks after birth when the primary senses become active. From then on, close human contact is needed so that a kitten can become habituated to the presence of humans. Although wary at first, frequent pleasant experiences with humans will allow the kitten to learn that people are acceptable within their world. The learning does, though, need to be supported by the reaction of the mother cat who will provide the primary stimulus to how the kitten will react. If the mother cat spits and growls every time a human approaches, the kitten will learn that that reaction is how to behave when a human appears on the scene. Such a reaction would be unsociable in terms of a human-cat relationship.
Understanding “normal” behaviour for a domestic cat including visual and audible behaviours, is crucial to preventing so-called ‘problem’ behaviours. Being able to “read” what a cat is saying by their body posture, ear position and vocal sounds is a step toward that understanding. Unwanted behaviour will have a root cause, and the cat cannot be expected to deal with the cause in a rational manner. The human environment is something the cat is expected to accept that environment according to human perceptions of what is “right” and what is “wrong” behaviour. This course explores examples of problem behaviour, together with suggestions as to resolving the issues. This cat behaviour course also deals with how cats think and learn.