Me and My Brother “Gamma” Like to Hang Out Together
My dad takes us to lots of new places. About every two weeks, we travel to a new federal, state, or county park. They are the best. There are usually lots of woods to explore, and we are not too close to other campers.
People Who Have Cats Tend to Fall into Two Categories
Those that ‘get it’ and allow their cats to be free and those that think cats are some kind of teddy bears.
Some people understand that we are wild animals at heart.
We are predators that just happen to have adopted humans because we like warm, dry places to sleep, regular meals, and affection. That does not mean that we have lost our instinct to hunt, explore, and patrol our domain.
Cat’s and New Places
When my brother and I first get somewhere new, we love to go out and explore the immediate vicinity of the motorhome. In fact, it is very annoying to be kept in, especially when we are somewhere new.
We cannot relax until we know what is around us and have checked out the location.
We will usually patrol the immediate area, check the smells, and local wildlife.
We are very good at looking after ourselves and prefer to explore at dusk. Once we are comfortable with what is going on in our new neighborhood, we will be quite happy to just sit right by the motorhome and keep a close eye on everything.
Cats Like to Go Out at Night
Later, when it gets dark, we will hunt. Cats that are not allowed out at night are the ones that have to be played with and often develop behavioral problems. This is because it is natural and instinctive for us to hunt. Just look at our eyes. We can see in the dark really well. When you see us in the day or in sunlight, you will see vertical slits.
However, when it gets dark, our pupils open right up. In fact, we can see better at night than we can during the day.
While we cannot see in absolute darkness, we can see very clearly when humans think it is pitch black. Consequently, it is never too dark for us when we are out in the open. Without being able to express this natural behavior, we get frustrated and bored.
Fred Flintstone Understood His Cat
Fred Flintstone had it right, he always put his cat out at night. Of course, his cat, like most cats, want to go out only when they choose to go out. Not when their owner decides it is time to go out.
Unfortunately for Fred, the cat flap was not invented in his time.
In the past, there was an easy relationship between cats and people. Nowadays, people have lost sight of the natural behavior and needs of their pets. Us cats like to sleep most of the day and go hunting at night. Though we are not truly nocturnal. We are dawn and dusk hunters. Typically becoming active in the evening, hunting for three or four hours then sleeping for a few hours in the middle of the night. Just before the sun comes up, we like to hunt again, returning for breakfast.
Why We Hunt
When we are well fed, we don’t necessarily hunt to eat. We hunt to hone our skills, get exercise, and have fun. It is our nature. Ignore this nature, and you will have an overweight, frustrated neurotic cat on your hands.
This is why Fred put’s out the cat at night. He knows, as most people used to, that if he does not, shortly after he has gone to bed, his cat will become active and want out.
A lot of people have lost their way with their pets.
They humanize their pets or treat them like stuffed toys. This means they treat them like little people, or simply assume they are there just for their amusement. This is a mistake.
Even though we are cats, we still have feelings and can be happy, sad, irritable, and bored. We have needs, unlike stuffed toys, not necessarily complicated needs like people, but needs none the less.
We do not like to go to the gym, watch a movie, go shopping, play computer games, or read a book.
We do not want to sit around all day and do nothing.
We like to explore the world around us, establish a territory, patrol it, and hunt.
This is why when occasionally we are not allowed out, we get very bored and cranky.
This Lack of Understanding is True for A Lot of Dog Owners Too – Just in a Different Way
Dogs are not like us. We like to hunt by stalking and ambushing our prey. We like to do it on our own without distractions. Dogs like to hunt as well, but they like to do it in teams and run down their prey. Dogs get even more frustrated than cats.
However, for them, being let out at night is not the answer. Nor is it safe for them or other people. They cannot look after themselves like us cats. They need a pack leader to look after them. Dogs are driven to walk and run with their pack.
When they live with a human this means they want to walk and run with their owner. If they are not able to walk and run long distances every day, they too will become overweight, frustrated, and neurotic.
I feel sad for most dogs, as nowadays they are usually locked up by themselves, chained or contained in a small yard. Their owners only irregularly, if ever, take them for a walk. And then when they do, it is often a ridiculously short walk.
A Fulfilling Life for A Cat
If you think a fulfilling life for a cat is being locked up in the house all day and all night, sitting on a comfy sofa and playing with you when you are in the mood, then you are confusing your cats needs with your own needs. Maybe your need is for a human baby or maybe a good friend. Maybe what you really need is a cuddly stuffed fluffy toy.
The needs of us cats are easy to understand.
We are cats, we are predators, we need to explore and hunt. We need to patrol our territory, we need to enjoy the dusk, the night, the predawn, when we can actually see clearly. If you allow us to be cats, we will reward you with love and loyalty.
What Happens When Me and Gamma Can’t Go Out?