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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2010, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Interpreting Batting Paws

This is not a serious behavioral problem, fortunately--or at least I don't think so-- but I am still curious as to what is going on with my Fab Four. Leaving aside the batting of paws that occurred during the intro process, they don't bat at each other now, with one exception--mealtimes.

At mealtimes, they of course get excited and are pacing or running around the kitchen and dining room in anticipation. As I am preparing their wet food, when I look over I often see Hershey batting paws with Blizzy, or Hershey with Snowby. It is rapid-fire, both participants squint their eyes, but it is not designed to hurt, nor do they vocalize. It only lasts a few seconds each time but is repeated numerous times in the five minutes it takes me to do everything I need to.

So, just wondering, since they get along with each other, and the two who just tolerate each other--Snowby and Blizzy-- do not bat at these times. Is this just play, passing the time until I announce dinner is ready? Or is it a rivalry of some kind? Just cats being cats? It happens then and only then, so I assume it's just the release of nervous energy as they await the meal. I couldn't find anything about it in the online research I've done thus far. Would be interested to know if others observe a similar phenomenon. It causes quite a little commotion as it is going on, with the others watching and moving around to get out of the way.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 01:35 AM
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Some of my cats used to do that to, and as you say, just at meal time as I prepared their food. I think it's just a dominance thing, and as you say, a llittle release of nervous energy. Once the food got put down all was fine.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 04:07 AM
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I think it is more of an invasion-of-personal-space thing as the cats are milling around in a concentrated area with less room to avoid others and respect their personal space.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to both of you, both explanations make sense, and I can really see it as a personal space thing. Mystery explained. As soon as the food goes down, indeed, they are focused and all is well--until the kitten, Little Hersh, finishes, that is, and with his little growls starts stealing the others' food. But that's another story!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 10:53 AM
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My two were boxing this morning when I was cleaning out their food dishes. This is the first time I had seen them do this.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-26-2010, 11:03 AM
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I have 7 cats and some of mine will do this at meal times as well. I look at it like they are saying, "Get away from me, this is my spot" because they know the food is coming down eventually, and they don't want to share it with another cat. Basically, "my eating area, back off!"

Because of what I feed, I lay towels down on the floor and feed 5 of the cats there. One of my cats needs her food done a special way so she gets to eat up on a chair and one cat will be involved in a full on brawl if I feed her with the other cats. So she eats up on the table. (And this is because she has an issue with three of the cats who never seem to leave her alone.)

But the other 5 cats are just basically jostling for position. That's all.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 10:09 AM
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I feed Rocky the dog, Miu and RC in 3 separate rooms so no problems at meal times. I think it's just more comfortable for them so they don't feel their personal space is being invaded or that they have to be on alert about the other animal coming over to sniff/steal their food. They can enjoy their meal and eat at their own pace instead of gobbling as fast as possible. And yes, all three go crazy when it's meal time so it could well be all the pent up anticipation for the food.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 10:40 PM
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I think in this context it's as the others describe above; the above would be an instance of a more-generalized "don't!!" message.

I've been batted in the face; I'm glad that cats are so considerate (usually) as to sheath their claws before doing that. But their nails do have to be trimmed, so I keep one eye on the job and the other eye on the free paw that wants to tell me "don't!!"
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