Thursday, 17 February 2011

(Don't) Cross My Path

Like most humans, cats have firm habits, and one of these habits is that they are quite attached to what they consider their territory (also not unlike humans) and like to patrol it frequently and regularly (again, not so different from some of us).

Don't ask me where and when, but many moons ago, I read in a book about cats that their territorial patrolling is supposed to be fastidiously precise to the point of them covering exactly the same paths in exactly the same way, walking in their own footsteps, so to speak, every time they are out there checking on what they claim as theirs.

What I do remember about reading this is that I was quite impressed by the idea of being able to place one's own feet on precisely the same spot repeatedly without there actually being any visible marks to remind one of the route.

Last Christmas, we've had plenty of snow here, as some of my readers know from entries such as
this one. When it was still fresh, the view of my downstairs neighbours' patio, seen from my bedroom window, looked like this:

You can clearly see that a cat has been there. My downstairs neighbours have a cat who is about 1 1/2 years old now, and he can be seen outdoors in all kinds of weather, unlike my little old lady who prefers spending not only two thirds of her time, but closer to nine tenths of it, curled up somewhere nice, soft and warm (like my bed or her blanket in front of the heating).

Now, if what I read all those years ago in that cat book was true, the feline footprints in the garden should not multiply much, right? Maybe in numbers, yes, but not in patterns - the cat is supposed to keep covering his own tracks every time he patrols his territory.

What happened?
Have a look:

There goes one impressive theory!

And the morale of it all:
Don't always believe everything a so-called expert says; they make mistakes, too, like everyone else.


  1. Hope this isn't a duplicate post! But, I really do love this.

  2. What a great story and busting up of some expert's theory. I do know that every night, Snowball comes up and goes to sleep on top of me within five minutes of my lying down. She has even become an expert at staying in place when I roll over under the covers...sort of like a lumberjack log-rolling. I guess I'm the territory.

  3. Jill, thank you!

    Julie, he is indeed! I suspect some of the footprints are from my cat, because she did go out sometimes for maybe half an hour during that snowy period, but most of it are Pasha's.

    Mark, Pukky jumps up on the bed as soon as I put the pillows in my reading position. She just likes curling up next to me, which is a nice gesture from her I think.