It may seem like a strange notion to consider your cat a watch-cat—something like a watch-dog. But if you’ve had cats for any length of time, you’ve probably learned to pay attention to her body language. A cat can tell you a lot about what’s going on outside of your area of vision or hearing. For example, if you think you hear something in the night, just look at your cat, who is probably sleeping on the end of your bed or snuggled on your pillow with you. If your cat seems unconcerned about it, what’s outside your window is probably nothing more than a passing neighborhood cat or the wind.
In our household, if I see Sophie or Lily stiffen and look apprehensively toward the front door or if Sophie suddenly runs into the other room, I know that someone’s approaching the door. Lily even seems to have the uncanny ability to determine who the visitor is—someone she’s accustomed to seeing (in which case she quickly relaxes) or a stranger (then she’ll join Sophie in the back of the house).
I once had one of my indoor cats running from window to window all excited about something. When I looked out to see why she was dancing around on the window sill, I was stunned to see an otter splashing around in our pool. An otter!
Our cats see other cats outside the windows often. They simply, quietly watch George (the
Maine coon from next door) and her sister, Joy. But Rocket was another story altogether. He was known as the neighborhood terrorist cat. He beat up every other outside cat who crossed his path and he’d attack our cats through the window. He once broke through a window next door and attacked the cat inside. If Sophie, Lily, and especially Max saw him in the yard, they’d tense up and start yowling. That was our cue to spring into action and try scaring Rocket away so he didn’t tear up additional window screen trying to get at our kitties.
The other day, I wish I’d paid attention to Lily’s body language. I saw her become alert and she stared for a moment toward the kitchen. I saw this, thought someone was coming to the side door. Didn’t see anyone, so went back to what I was doing. When I entered the kitchen a short time later, I saw that the blueberry sauce I was making to spread over my breakfast cake had exploded all over the stove.
A good lesson. Listen to your cat!