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Veterinarian: Cats are nature's perfect little killing machines

Cats consider at least 2,080 species of animal fit for eating.
Cats consider at least 2,080 species of animal fit for eating. Source: ERR

Veterinarian Kertu Kivirand told the "Huvitaja" radio show about the five basic needs of cats, which are safe hiding places, enough food and water, access to a litter box, a positive and predictable relationship with their owner and being able to express their predatory behavior.

"Cats are my soul animals. They are soft, small, cute, have big eyes and can easily be held in your lap," said Kertu Kivirand, veterinarian at the PetCity Animal Clinic. "They make for somewhat more convenient pets than dogs. You don't have to walk a cat outside, especially thinking about this cold spell we're having."

"Cats are solitary animals and have not had to rely on packs for their survival. Not every cat makes a suitable pet, while others can be very affectionate. Cats are super predators, nature's little killing machines. But their small size means that they can also be pray for other animals," Kivirand said.

"Cats can make good cuddling buddies if socialized early on. But cats that come from a shelter may find it difficult to get used to people, especially if they lack prior positive experience with humans."

"Cats have five basic needs which need to be met for them to have a good life. These are safe hiding places, enough food and water, access to a litter box, a positive and predictable relationship with their owner and being able to express their predatory behavior through play."

"While training a cat should start when they are still a kitten, my goal is to train cat owners rather than cats," Kivirand said. We do not really talk about how to take care of cats, while there are plenty of training opportunities for dogs," the veterinarian said, adding that it is good when people charge for kittens as that might instill a sense of responsibility in the owner, while cats are often given away for free as if they were not pets for whom responsibility must be taken.

"Purring is usually a sign of well-being in cats," Kivirand said. "Kittens purr to let their mother know they are fine, which the mother then reciprocates. But there is also such a phenomenon as stress purring. It is believed that the vibration from purring helps bone density and to mitigate pain at certain frequencies. Very sickly cats might start to purr just as they're about to die, in which case purring should not be interpreted as a good sign," she elaborated.

"Cats might start scratching your sofa because it is made of a suitable material in terms of their need to sharpen their claws, while another reason could be that sofas are not prone to falling over when you scratch them, unlike special scratching poles. Unsteady poles might be a source of stress for the cat. But sharpening their claws is also a way of leaving behind scent marks."

"Flower pots are simply interesting from a cat's point of view. Covering the dirt inside with rocks or other objects might work to lower their fascination," Kivirand advised.

She also said that adult cats meow largely for the benefit of humans. In the world of cats, meowing is how kittens communicate with their mother.

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Editor: Annika Remmel

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