Science explains what the rest of us have long suspected (they can’t help it)
You heard it here first. Cats are simply scientifically awkward. They probably quite enjoy being awkward, let’s be honest, but if they didn’t enjoy it they’d be difficult and annoying anyway. It’s in their genes, you see.
Take that irritating propensity for curling up in your delivery box, or hat, or dainty shoe… Her face might well say ‘stuff you and stuff your dainty shoe (and the horse you both rode in on)’ but in fact the reason they delve into weird nooks and crannies is that small prey often hide in these spots in the wild. It also helps them avoid predators. In the wild, cats are as much hunted as they are hunters.
Dr Buffington also explains why cats climb on top of fridges, doors and any other point from which they can lethally scalp you: they’ve naturally evolved to use their muscles and balancing skills to their advantage and, from up high, they have a better view of potential predators and also can spot any potentially tasty lunch more easily. Once that would have been a juicy rodent, these days, it adds a frisson to spotting their bowl of Felix.
But why are they so intent on destroying your best rugs and furniture? Plenty of good reasons actually: sharpening claws, stretching leg muscles… ripping up a rug also alleviates stress, according to Dr Buffington.
So, what’s the scientific explanation for why cats sit at the back door looking outside with pleading eyes, meowing insistently until you open the door… and then just sit there like a rock? Oh that? Yeah, that’s just because they hate you.
If you like your cats awkward you might like the feature in our February issue. We have an extract from
Pet-tecture: Design for Pets (Phaidon Press), a collection of inspiring and surprising homes and play areas for pets of all shapes, sizes, breeds and species.