Cat Kid Questions? Meet a Vet with Answers.
If you’ve ever wondered why your cat kid does the things she does, like stalk the red dot of the laser pointer or commandeer any and every cardboard box in the vicinity, you’re not alone. We rounded up some of Google's most commonly searched questions pet parents ask their vet, did some research, and then reached out to Dr. Jamie Studtman at Morris Animal Hospital in Granger, Indiana, for some more answers. Read on to hear some expert — and comical — responses to questions about ideal cat kid weight, purring, litter box naps, and more.
Is my cat a good weight?
“Most regular housecats should weigh somewhere between 8 and 11 pounds. Of course, there are outliers —especially among the larger breeds. You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs when you push along their sides without the ribs standing out too prominently, and their belly should be up above their knees when they’re standing.”
What food should I feed my cat?
“That’s a great question and varies by how old your cat is, any health problems they may have, and what they like,” shares Dr. Studtman. With weaned kittens, a mix of wet and dry food can provide a good foundation for a balanced diet, as long as both types contain wholesome, nutritional ingredients. Canned food has higher water content, which is ideal for cat kids who need more water in their diets due to health issues such as kidney disease or diabetes. Dry food is more affordable, doesn’t spoil as quickly as canned food, and can be used in automatic feeders. Adult cat kids may show a preference for dry, canned, or both — or may even prefer nutritious, eco-friendly homemade food . If you’re still not sure what to feed your kitten or adult cat kid, Dr. Studtman has a worry-free suggestion: “Ask your vet for a recommendation!”
Why does my cat meow?
From I’m-so-glad-you’re-home meows to feed-me-right-now meows, “cats meow to communicate,” Dr. Studtman shares. Sometimes it’s heartwarming, like when your cat kid greets you at the door with a melodic trill. Sometimes it’s a sign that something’s wrong, like an empty food dish or an inaccessible litter box. And sometimes it’s ... a bit much, like if your cat kid is transitioning from outside to inside and hasn’t gotten used to it yet. “If you give your cat rewards like food or attention when they meow, they’re likely to keep doing it even more,” Dr. Studtman warns. If you want to curb excessive meowing, it’s best to first make sure nothing’s wrong, then practice consistent responses, like resisting the urge to scold and instead only giving attention when your cat kid stops meowing.
Why does my cat knead?
In two words: many reasons. Kittens initially knead as a way to stimulate milk as they’re nursing. As cat kids grow, they may knead their pet parents as a sign of affection. They may also knead to mark their territory, leaving their scent on blankets, a throw pillow, or your lap. Kneading also allows them to get a deeper stretch in their muscles after long cat naps, which keeps them limber. Yet another reason courtesy of Dr. Studtman: “Maybe [your cat] thinks you need a massage!”
Why does my cat purr?
“Most of the time purring occurs when cats are happy or content,” says Dr. Studtman. Whether they’re sacked out in a sunspot in the living room or sprawled across your legs on the couch, your cat kid will most likely vocalize their good feelings with lots of purrs.
Why does my cat sleep so much?
Even if your cat kid has never lived outside or stalked a rodent for food, she’s still wired to hunt and to sleep a lot — roughly 15 hours a day — to conserve her energy. “Cats are predators that typically hunt in the early morning, evening, and night,” says Dr. Studtman. “So usually when we’re awake during the day, those are their prime sleeping hours.” In addition, your cat kid may use sleep as a way to regulate her body temperature and boost her mood. She’ll also adapt her behaviors to your schedule, planning her sleep around mealtimes and plenty of playtime.
What does catnip do to my cat?
“Catnip causes a euphoria that cats enjoy,” Dr. Studtman shares. “For some cats this can cause them to have increased energy, but for other cats it can help them relax.” You may see your cat kid rolling around on the floor, growling and meowing simultaneously, or just zoning out after ingesting or even just sniffing catnip. The effect only lasts around 10 minutes, and it’s a great way to treat your cat kid to something they love while giving yourself some free entertainment.
Why does my cat like boxes?
One of the reasons according to Dr. Studtman: “Boxes make great hiding spaces for feline mischief.” Playful by nature, cats sometimes use boxes as helpful tools during hide-and-seek with one another or their pet parents. Another reason: boxes provide a sense of security and comfort. Since cats are hardwired to avoid predators in the wild, they seek out hiding spaces whenever they’re anxious. Consider placing small cardboard boxes in a room or two around your home, particularly when company arrives. It allows your cat kid a spot to feel safe and de-stress.
What does it mean when my cat licks me?
Usually, it can be summed up in a word: love. A sign of affection, licking is a way for your cat kid to tell you she loves you and feels safe with you. It’s also a way to elicit attention — she may want to play with you, or she may feel anxious and need some calming quality time. Another reason, according to Dr. Studtman: “Sounds like your cat thinks you need a bath.” Grooming is instinctual to cats, and grooming others in their group, including you, is both a bonding mechanism and an indicator that she considers you family.
Why does my cat lie down in the litter box?
This behavior may just mean your cat kid is feeling territorial or is taking a timeout in a place they feel safe. It could also be indicative of a larger health issue. “Usually, cats don’t spend time lounging in the litter box. If you’re seeing this behavior, consider having your cat evaluated by a veterinarian,” suggests Dr. Studtman.
Why does my cat like laser pointers?
“Following a laser pointer dot is like following prey. It’s also a way to exercise some cats. Just make sure to end with the dot pointed on a toy or something the cat can attack so that they don’t get too frustrated by never catching the dot.”
Why does my cat follow me everywhere?
“If your cat is following you around, that’s a good thing. It means your cat enjoys your company. Usually this is because you’ve given your cat lots of good rewards like attention, petting, treats, or playtime.”
Thanks, Dr. Studtman! Have more questions, particularly about Naturally Fresh Cat Litter? Head to our Questions & Answers page, and check out our blog posts for tips on everything from dealing with litter box rejection issues to keeping your cat kid safe, smart, and healthy .
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