Interactions with other species

Ootsie with my guinea pig, Opie (picture taken by me)The domestic cat has developed to have beneficial relationships with many other animals (and plants). It is much easier for younger cat- it will just take a little more work on the owners part to help an older, more mature cat to develop mutual relationships with others.

Ootsie watching my cousins (picture taken by my sister) One sure sign that a cat is friendly with others, is to watch its body language. Upon approaching, the cats tail should be straight up in the air and the back should not be arched. Also, the ears should be sticking upward instead of flattened to the head.

My dog, Maddie play-fighting with Jasmine (picture taken by my sister)Some relationships-especially with dogs- are thought to not be so harmonious. As is seen on the image to the left- my dog bombarded my cat Jasmine. Jasmine's feet are in a protective stance and his ears are pushed down.

My dogs, Kaydee and Bandit with Ootsie (picture taken by my dad)However, a relationship with dogs can blossom into a beautiful friendship. The different species are known to play together, sleep together, and even help clean one another. In this picture, all the animals seem relaxed and comfortable with each other.

My roommate, Karlee's kitty in the grass, hmmm...maybe there's catnip around????(picture taken by Karlee)Another species that all types of cats are very fond of is the Nepeta cataria, or catnip. This plant is thought around the world to be a cat aphrodisiac. Cats are attracted to the oil in the plant and have keen sensory skills when it comes to finding this organism.

Clip Art showing a cat watching a birdMany cats have the uncanny ability to talk to birds. They may sit right next to a feeding area and mimic the sounds the birds make. This is a predatory ability for cats to help them draw in their prey. It is quite interesting to watch a cat display this behavior.

Clip Art cat and mouseNot only are cats predatory to birds, but they are also the number one enemy of rodents, such as mice and rats. Many people may get a cat to keep the infestation of vermin in check. In fact, it was this job that first made cats a primary pet (see history).

Cats also have many interactions with other species that are not beneficial to them. For example, This Clip Art kitty may appear sad because he is suffering from having ear mitesthere are many diseases and infections that can affect a cat. Ear mites is one ear infection that many cats suffer from. The ear mite, Otodectes cynotis, is a microscopic tick-like organism. For such a small creature, it causes cats many problems and irritation. This is a 'socialization' infection, which means it can spread from one animal to another. The most common sign of a cat having ear mites is a black discharge from the ear. Also, an infected cat tends to shake its head constantly and emit a weird smell.

Ootsie was constantly sick and the doctors could not figure it out. As you can see, he has a tumor in his ear and his eyes are draining (picture taken by me)Also, there are many infections of the eyes and ears that are unknown right now. They may follow the same symptoms of ear mites, but may not be a socialization infection. The best thing to do, is take your cat to the veterinarian and have tests done. Sometimes just a check-up at the vet will save your cat's life.


To learn more about interacting with other species and about the nutrition of cats, click here.