Read More: TreeHugger
Famed for their dogged indifference, cats just want to be understood and not terrified by your seemingly innocent human behavior. These tips can help ensure a happier, and thus healthier, kitty. At TreeHugger we have a soft spot for natural remedies to help pets, but sometimes the best medicine is simple prevention. And as it turns out – according to the experts – an environment that a cat finds stressful can lead to a number of chronic cat diseases. Despite thinking that we really know our cats, Tony Buffington from Ohio State University says that few of us understand how to listen to our cats, notes Wired magazine. This leads to frustrated humans who can’t fathom, for the life of them, why kitty keeps scratching the sofa or attacking the hand that strokes. And it leads to a stressed cat, which can lead to poor health and disease. The best cure, he says, is “learning to listen to your cat, giving him choices, and reducing the environmental factors that trigger his stress response.” “No matter how much we love them, cats are our captives, domesticated aliens with no way of explaining their customs, or of interpreting ours,” writes Nick Stockton. Unlike dogs and (most) humans, cats are not innately social. They evolved as solitary hunters and are not adept at reading our social cues. You may yell, snap, clap, make gestures and noises at a cat who is not minding you. A dog gets it, a cat thinks: "BIG AGGRESSIVE PRIMATE ACTING CRAZY, BE WARY!" Without the cognitive ability to make the connection between your anger and their behavior, cats just see aggression. This is frightening for the cat, frustrating for both cat and human, and ultimately leads to stress for the cat because of the constant disruption to natural feline behaviors. “Cats get sick when they want to express their natural behaviors and they can’t,” Buffington says. And they will continue to sneak in their feline activities while you’re not around. It's just their nature. Buffington offers these tricks for working with your cat; rather than an unintended fear campaign, these smart approaches take your cat’s view into consideration.