#3. Imitating Snakes to Intimidate You
Anyone who has ever witnessed a visceral deathmatch between two angry cats is intimately aware of the blood curdling noises the cute little animals are able to create. Besides the demonically drawn out "Mrrrroww" that emanates from the very bowels of Hell itself, when a cat feels threatened, they always turn to the tried and true hiss.
Lots of animals make this noise when in the throes of battle, but why? Why is a sudden rush of moist air from such a small creature so frightening to other creatures that cats use it time and time again?
It turns out that when a cat pushes its ears down, bares its fangs, squints its slivered eyes and hisses, it closely resembles another animal that is naturally feared and avoided by most predators: the snake. And apparently the resemblance is completely intentional.
Cats, like many other animals, from butterflies to birds, instinctively employ the art of mimicry in order to best defend themselves from attack. Just like David Blaine in Las Vegas, a cornered cat relies on deception and misdirection in order to avoid being destroyed by its audience, and since most animals have a natural fear of venomous snakes, a sudden hiss accompanied by a spray of saliva coming from a head that resembles the shape of a python's will cause even the most determined and bloodthirsty hunter to think twice.
So the next time you piss off your kitty and it hisses at you, it's not just showing its disapproval. It's pretending to be something that can kill you.
#2. Obsessively Getting Rid of the Stench of Humans
Gee, cats are such clean animals, aren't they? Always licking their fur and grooming themselves. They must really care about being sanitary, clean-cut pets...
Hmmm... that's strange. Fluffy seems to groom himself a whole lot after you pet him. What, did you have some peanut butter on your fingers he has to get off? Maybe he's allergic to your touch and licking it makes him feel better?
No, he's most likely trying to get your stench off of him.
Cats have glands that are stimulated when they tug on their fur, that ooze their own scent. Licking the fur kicks those glands into high gear, making him smell more like himself and ridding him of the terrible, terrible stink of you. It'd be like if after every time you hugged your Mom, she immediately ran down the hall and took a shower.
Also, have you ever had a cat suddenly start peeing everywhere after you bring a new girl or guy home? Peeing on their clothes, or in the rooms they spend time in? It's sort of the same principle, its trying to erase all signs of his or her scent from the area.
#1. Bringing Home Dead Animals to Show You Suck at Hunting
Cats love murder. Mice, birds and exposed ankles often find themselves the unwitting prey of one of the few animal species on Earth that seemingly kills for fun. Thus, many a cat owner has also had the morbid pleasure of being presented with their pet's fresh kill. Fluffy will come home and drop the bleeding carcass of a bird on your shoe with an expectant look, as if you were going to gobble it up right then and there.
Dig in rookie! Or ain't ya got the balls?
Why does she do it? Because Fluffy does expect you to gobble it up right then and there.
Most cat people will tell you that cats are instinctual hunters and even when they are satiated by last night's canned tuna, they will still take down a low flying sparrow if the opportunity presents itself, just for kicks. Then after successfully nabbing their quarry, the proud pet will then present it to the dominant group leader (her human owner) as a gift. While perfectly logical, that assumption is slightly incorrect and only half the story.
The dead bird, seemingly gift wrapped in ruffled feathers and crimson ribbon, isn't actually an offering to the owner at all, but more like a training exercise. See, cats teach their kittens and other dependent family members how to hunt and catch prey in gradual steps. When Fluffy dropped the corpse on your shoe, that was lesson number one in her teaching curriculum. She has noticed your appalling lack of hunting skills and inability to catch your own food, and is trying to teach you, as she would one of her kittens, how to feed yourself.
So instead of being appalled or grossed out the next time your cat brings you a fresh kill, eat up, and then prepare yourself for lesson two. That's where your formally cute kitten kombatant teaches you the importance of fatalities.
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And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 12.4.2009) to see Brockway and DOB dressed as cats and competing in Kitty Kombat.