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Science Explains How It Feels To Be A Cat

Science Explains How It Feels To Be A Cat

There are over 74 million cats in American households. These cute and furry companions light up the lives of cat parents in nearly 40 percent of homes in the United States. If you are one of these passionate cat owners, you know that their actions can be confusing. If cat behavior has you baffled, check out the following science-backed information to learn how it feels to be a cat.

Cats see things that are invisible to us

Have you ever visited a nightclub that uses black (UV) light? This UV light is outside of the range of light that we as humans can perceive. However, when black light shines on an item that contains phosphors, such as laundry detergent, cosmetics, urine or blood, we can see the reflection of the light.

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According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, cats and some other mammals can see this ultraviolet (UV) light. Thus, our feline friends can see things that are invisible to humans such as urine trails, flickering lights on power lines and distinct patterns on flowers. This explains why your cat is afraid of the invisible boogieman.

Cats can be neurotic and impulsive bullies

If you are a cat, you feel like a lion. It is not surprising that the domestic cat evolved from the wild cats of Africa. According to a study by the Bronx Zoo and researchers at the University of Edinburgh, domestic cats exhibit personality traits similar to their larger counterparts, such as the Scottish wildcat, clouded leopard, snow leopard and African Lion. Specifically, this study found that domestic cats show dominance, impulsiveness, and neuroticism, much like the larger wild cats. In fact, domestic cats were reported to commonly exhibit traits such as bullying and aggressiveness.

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Cats want to kill their toys

Cats are driven by their hunting instincts. According to cat researcher and author of the best seller Cat Sense, John Bradshaw indicates that play behavior mimics hunting behavior. He found that cats prefer furry, feathered toys that represent mice and spiders. In fact, he found that cats interact differently with mouse-shaped toys as opposed to rat-shaped toys. For example, cats are more careful with the larger rat-shaped toys, keeping them at arm’s length, because of their perceived danger. Also, he observed that cats’ enthusiasm for play increases when they are hungry.

Cats can read your mood

If you are a cat and your human returns home grumpy, you might feel like hiding in the closet. According to a study by Moriah Galvan and Jennifer Vonk of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, cats behave differently when their owners are smiling compared to when they were frowning. In the study, when cats saw that their owners were smiling, they exhibited affectionate behaviors such as purring or crawling into an owner’s lap. If the owner engaged in a negatively charged conversation or frowned during the study, the affectionate behaviors of the cats were less likely to occur. Naturally, cats use their emotional intelligence to their advantage. They know when you are in a good mood so they will give you some extra affection in exchange for a special treat.

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Cats are just not into you

According to research by Daniel Mills, domestic cats do not show the signs of attachment that you would expect to their owners. In his research, he placed the pets in an unfamiliar room with their owner, a stranger and alone. Typically, with dogs and humans, the owner or parent is perceived as a secure base and the person or pet that are left alone or with a stranger exhibit distress. In the case of cats, they are relatively indifferent when left alone or with a stranger. In fact, the cats were just as happy to play with a stranger than their owner. He states that the human might just be a source of resources, such as food, water and safety to the cat. The good news is because of their independence and indifference, cats are great companions for those who work long hours or travel.

Cat social groups are like high school

Do you remember how it felt to be in high school? This is how it feels to be in a cat colony. We typically think of domestic cats as solitary animals, but according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, they are actually social animals. They form colonies that are similar to lion prides. They have hierarchies and it isn’t easy for a new cat to join a colony, especially for tomcats. New cats are typically driven away when attempting to join in, but can be gradually integrated over time if accepted by the group.

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Featured photo credit: Cat looking up/Barn Images via flic.kr

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Marilyn Rogers

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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