Cat Legends: Beware of Foot-Licking Cats and Jealous Cats
Beware Of Clever (or Jealous) Felines
A Foot Licking Cat
A friend of a friend told me this story...
A friend's mother in law owned a very affectionate cat. The cat would regularly cuddle against peoples' legs and feet but also was particularly affectionate with the mother in law/owner and would go so far as to lick her feet. This was done in a way whereby the cat appeared to be grooming the feet like it would groom another cat or a kitten.
The friend who told me this story asserts that the cat would "groom" the mother in law's feet, even going so far as to knock her slippers off and lick her feet once she sat down in her chair to rest for the evening. Typically, the mother in law rested in her chair a little after suppertime, usually just for about 10 or 20 minutes in response to the evening meal - and then she'd get up, refreshed, to do some light activities until the later hour of bedtime. The mother in law would often wake up with her slippers both knocked free and the cat nearby or with the cat in the process of grooming her feet. Often, the raspy cat tongue would awaken the mother in law as the cat drew its scratchy tongue along the soles of her feet. On occasion, the cat would become slighly overly aggressive and nibble the owner's toes and this would wake the owner.
One day, the mother in law hadn't been feeling so well, so she had been taking some medication which made her a little drowsier than normal, particularly after the substantial supper fare and evening meal. On this occasion, when she sat in her favourite chair, she fell into sleep quite quickly and to a deeper degree than usual. The mother in law was slow to wake when the cat's licking became persistent and overly affectionate and, for reasons unknown, and the cat's nibbling finally resulted in one bite to the sluggish woman's foot.
Unfortunately, the bite did puncture the skin and draw blood.
Also unfortunately, the blood that was drawn came from a major artery. The possibilitiy of this happening is probably one in a million...
When a friend of this cat owner went to check on her and see if she was feeling better, the mother in law was found sitting in her chair, in her usual sleeping position, never having awakened from her nap because she bled to death in a hurry...
The cat was still licking her feet - and away at the woman's blood - when the mother in law was discovered dead in her living room.
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Keep The Cat Out of Baby's Bed
Stealing a Baby's Breath...
In many "Old Wives Tales," cats are said to be detrimental (that is - DEADLY) to newborn babies/infants. Three of the most common myths about cats and babies are:
- If a cat heards a baby crying, the cat thinks the noises are another cat-like entity and will act territorially, climbing into the baby's cot/bassinet or crib to harm or kill the baby.
- Cats can steal the breath from babies (again, climbing into their crib or bassinet)
- If a cat smells milk on a baby's breath, it will lick around the baby's mouth and smother the baby
Cats CAN Be Territorial and Jealous
Cats can, in fact, be territorial and react with jealousy... rather, cats ARE TERRITORIAL and what we deem as "jealous behavior" is a feature of their territorial instinct...however - urban myth makes a monster out of the cat species in many ways...
Rarely are real cats so territorial that they are dangerous and most of the myths about killer jealous cats play on the fact that - YES - a cat has certain natural features that can hurt people - very sharp teeth and four very sharp sets of claws.
Personally, I have a RESCUE CAT who was damaged and severely abused before I got him, so I dealt with DEFINITE TERRITORIAL behaviors with him - I still DO deal with territorial issues with him after having him for almost 4 years.
These issues, are FAR FROM dangerous to my own well-being - even if some of them do include me being the recipient of a scratch or bite on occasion. The most amazing thing about the territorial and behavioral issues I face with my feline is the numerous and blatant WARNINGS my cat gives me concerning the issues he's going through... This means that if I am scratched or bitten, I have almost always had prior warning that scratching or biting is likely to occur. Sometimes I am trying to lessen the effects of a different cat behavior, so I take precautions and "expect" a nip or flailing paw...but my cat has NEVER acted aggressively toward me if there is no reason.
* Note... the issues with MY cat are known - and there haven't been any "sudden jealous behaviors" because when I first brought him into my home there were "many varied behaviors in need of correction." He's not as sneaky as everyone would think when I mention, "my cat has behavioral and territorial issues on a daily basis."
This just means that
- I don't touch him withour warning him
- I don't move "his stuff" without warning him
- When I change his cat litter, I EXPECT him to grab at my legs and hands and I STOP OFTEN to comfort him... HE HATES THIS changing of his litter and to him I am taking away his "stuff." It's almost traumatic for him and I make sure I talk him through this and don't push him away or yell at him. It's "yucky poop" to us but it's "HIS IDENTITY" to him and contains his proofs of identity to other animals and, frankly, I've tried many different ways to make his litter changing a different experience but it's one of his quirks. "WE" get around it together - but this yukky little task is rarely a two minute deal.
- I pay attention to ANY behaviors in my feline that show that he is "not calm" and doing so helps me keep myself from getting a "surprise punch" from my cat.
- I do not use my hands (or anything else) to tease him
- When I play with him - using toys on strings and toys on sticks - I keep the play "short" and the time length playing with him very short...so that he doesn't mistake "the games" we are playing for "teasing" and so he doesn't get over-stimulated from playing
- I will literally tell someone to leave my home if they do not observe the rule about "no playing with hands" in my home or if they tease my cat repeatedly (this teasing has happened twice and it took me a week in each instance, to sort out the OTHER behaviors these instances brought on in my cat)
- I am vigilant with him - I watch him for "cues" because, well... I'm not a cat. I have no way to know what he is thinking and he certainly doesn't think like a human does. If I see a behavior that other people would call "bad behavior," I immediately try to think of something I might have done or have changed in our shared environment.
It's not usual for a cat to just suddenly change behaviors and instantly turn "deadly" - to be fine and "normal," then to suddenly "get sneaky" when your back is turned.
Yes, a cat may display bad behaviors or a cat's behaviors may gravitate toward "territorial" and aggressive displays but if you are being a reasonable pet owner, you will have TONS of fair warning...If you "believe" your cat just suddenly changed for the worse, I'm sorry but I have to say that - perhaps you missed about a half dozen or more behavioral cues from your cat and then just noticed the one worst behavior and are calling this "a drastic change in the cat."
Typically, even when a cat is being "territorial," the cat will "display" aggression then run away...there is usually a "show" of some sort well before any possible attack on any human being, child, other animal...
We get the idea that cats are sneaky and that they always sneak up on a "victim" to perform aggressive acts because we've seen how a cat hunts mice, birds, etc... when a cat's psychology is disturbed, take a CLOSE LOOK at your cat...
Your cat will be MESSED UP if a territorial issue is going on... territorial issues are about the cat's identity and safety, believe it or not - and there won't be much "sneakiness" to anything with your cat if he/she is experiencing a threat to his/her space or whatever he or she thinks is his/her territory... it will be as if your cat has LOST the ability to be his/her usual "mouse huntress" and clever self when he/she experiences territorial problems...
"HUNTING" is a full "ritual" to a cat, not an uncontrolled act of aggression. Territorial issues can include aggression but almost always, a cat will telegraph some warning signs before becoming truly aggressive. This isn't to say a cat won't "punch" out with his/her paws right away...it's just that "intent to damage or harm" is usually NOT the first stage of territorial behavior.
We often get the "hunting ritual" and it's overwhelmingly successful results (cats are deadly creatures to most of the smaller animals they hunt...this cannot be denied) mixed up with SCARY territorial behaviors...because the territorial behaviors are designed to make a cat look deadly, too...the hissing, growling, display of fang and claws is definitely a fear-creating bunch of visual effects for us...and so, for as long as we can go back in storytelling, we have created myths about felines...
Hunting, in cats - is NOT an aggression issue.
A Horrible Sense of "Whoops" On One Hand, A Wish Comes True On The Other Hand...Also Known As "Cat Catapult" or "The Catapulted Cat" (8min 3sec). Don't Worry -
More Urban Legends About Cats
General "Cat Lady Premise" - otherwise known as "The Basic Jealous Cat in Control"
Everyone knows that a jealous cat can ruin a relationship. You know, the old story - the woman's cat doesn't like her new boyfriend...the cat consistently nips and attacks the boyfriend when he's over...the relationship is in the very beginning stages, and the man and woman aren't all that close to begin with, so the new boyfriend quickly just decides to forget the whole deal...trying to be around the cat just isn't worth his surface interest of the woman, so that's all she wrote... the relationship goes nowhere, foiled by the cat!
The woman stays home turning into a sort of "Cat Lady," her best and only friend, her cat...and the man from this story - and every other man she "begins" to have a relationship with heads off to who knows where...to some other happy, cat-free, jealous-free life.
Need To Know About??
The "Over-Trained" Cat:
I heard this story from a friend of a friend...
One guy a friend of mine knew had a real love of animals. He was patient with them and even though a lot of people complain about the "snootiness" of the siamese cat breed, along with their distinct "meow," this guy got himself a siamese breed for a pet. He wanted to dispel the myth to his friends about siamese being "snooty" and "aloof" and about the myth, "cats can't be trained - especially siamese breed cats."
And so the fellow set about to have a decent pet/owner relationship with his cat. He was patient in training the cat and bought the best food, toys, bed and accessories for his little friend. He did so well with training his cat that the siamese pet would come when called, and, upon verbal cue, would also "climb up to the shoulder" of the pet loving owner.
This became a source of pride for the siamese cat owner - that his cat both could and DID learn to respond quite obediently and sit still on his shoulder while he would have conversations with his friends. Naturally, this impressive cat trick became the main topic of talk in the cat lover's circle of friends, and the man could even get his pet to get on other peoples' shoulders for a short time. All in all, the man brought a lot of friends to the conclusion that cats are really fun - especially siamese cats - that they're smart creatures and are trainable and very nice to have around.
Things were going well for the siamese cat owner and his new popularity brought him in contact with a very lovely lady who was also impressed by his obvious patience in training his siamese pet. As the two started a romance, however, the happy, well-behaved pet started to avoid the new girlfriend. Because the partners were interested in each other, they sort of forgot about the cat for a time and didn't notice that the cat would disappear whenever the girlfriend came over.
The new couple spent most of their time out on "dating events," like a typical couple, so it was even easier for the pair to overlook the cat's behavior. The first few weeks of the romance went well and then stretched to a few months, and after about 4 months, the couple felt the need for privacy to be together in intimate ways, so they went out to see movies less, went out for fewer restaurant meals and started splitting their time between her place and his...
Finally, they noticed the cat's behavior, so the fellow, realizing that his cat felt, perhaps, "replaced" by the girlfriend, attempted to get the cat to "like" his partner more. He spent time teaching the girlfriend, first - to use the same commands as he used for obedience with the cat and then he got the cat used to being on his girlfriends' shoulder.
Things seemed to be going fine, except that the cat wasn't QUITE AS involved with interacting with people as before the human relationship and romance started...still, the couple thought the shoulder sitting trick was real progress with the man's pet.
One night, the woman showed up to pick her boyfriend up...secretly, the fellow had been trying to get the cat to be more interactive, so he was using obedience commands related to the shoulder trick and was hoping for the effect that the cat would greet his girlfriend at the door, leaping to her shoulder...
The woman was starting to feel that her boyfriend's cat didn't actually like her, and over the past week, the girlfriend had suggested many more out-of-home dates than usual - and she admitted that the cat's behavior - the constantly running away shortly after she arrived influenced her decision to start spending less time encroaching upon what the cat might view as "cat territory." The fellow hoped to alleviate these worries by creating a behavior or trick in the cat that would involve the girlfriend and then they could all move forward from there, once the cat was accustomed to the trick...the cat owner assumed the cat would just like the girlfriend more by being near her
With all that in mind, now we get to the part where the girlfriend arrives to pick her boyfriend up for movies and dinner out...
Once the girlfriend knocked on the door, the boyfriend commanded the cat to get up on his shoulder. If his new trick worked right, he'd open the door and the cat would instantly jump to his girlfriends shoulder, sort of like a greeting - before the boyfriend would even have a chance to hug her and welcome her in... he thought "THIS OUGHT TO impress her and make her sure that the cat is learning to like her."
Well, it impressed the girlfriend SO MUCH - it nearly killed her!
When the man opened up the door, cat on shoulder, the cat made one timely (territorial?) mistake (calculation?) and launched himself directly at the girlfriend's FACE - instead of her shoulder...and, landing - after obviously being in mid-air, the cat clung to her face with all four paws, then grabbed hold, to keep from falling...
Raking, with the aid of plain old gravity, all the way down her face...
Scarring her for life.
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