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Senses and Instincts

Home > Cats > Characteristics
Many of the normal behaviour of cats resembles the same behaviour of their wild ancestors. This being said, domestic cats have changed and adopted behaviours due to their domesticated lives.


Cats have an uncanny ability for landing on their feet after a fall. This is done by their expert balance. Balance is maintained by the semi-circular canals in their ears.

Cat Napping

Other than sleeping normally at night, cats will sleep randomly throughout the day. They can sleep up to about three hours during daylight hours.


Kittens will always play with toys, especially ones flying through the air. The classic example is the kitten with a ball of yarn. They will push it and swat at it with their paws. This resembles their natural behaviour when hunting, and these catching games helps the cat develop those skills.


Cats are a very clean animal. They take care of it themselves by licking their fur. The cats tongue is rough, and loose hair and debris stick to it very well. When swallowed, the loose hair forms a hairball in their stomach.


Most kittens will climb over objects, only to fall off again. Climbing is an integral part of a cats life, and kittens learn how to climb the hard way. When the cat knows how to climb, they are quite good at it, using both their legs and claws.


Kittens are always very curious about their surroundings, and tend to wander off from their mothers. The mother cat is very protective, and will catch her kitten, and carry them back home in her mouth, by the scruff of their necks.

First Meeting

As cats are territorial animals, when two meet for the first time, they are quite cautious of each other. Most male cats will show aggression.


Cats are natural hunters by definition, but like all animals, need to develop the skills to do it properly. Kittens will watch their mother hunt, and learn most skills from her. Only then by trial and error do the kittens learn to hunt their own food.

Making Friends

If you keep two kittens as pets, it is most likely they will grow up to be very close friends. Cats tend to stick together for life if reared together, even two males or two females.

Scent Marking

Male cats are very territorial, and mark their territory by urinating inside, and outside their home. This is more common in male cats who have not been neutered. They will also rub on people and objects as another means of marking their territory.

Seeing In The Dark

It is widely known that cats see better in the dark than we do. There is a layer behind their retina, called the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light. Humans, on the other hand, see better than cats do during the day.


Kittens drink milk from their mother, normally until they are about two months old. Some kittens start eating on their own after about 3 weeks.

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