Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

Guy Wonders What’s Wrong With His Cat Who’s Obsessed With A Single Wall In The House, Investigation Leads To Discovery Of A Hidden Basement
468points
5.4K
Animals, Cats4 months ago

Guy Wonders What’s Wrong With His Cat Who’s Obsessed With A Single Wall In The House, Investigation Leads To Discovery Of A Hidden Basement

Cats attain internet fame for all kinds of reasons. Some garner a legion of fans due to their distinct looks, others do it with their quirky personality. But there’s one kitty, Tucker, who stood out for his persistence.

It all started with his owner, Reddit user TuckerTroubles14, making a post on the subreddit r/CatAdvice, asking for help in explaining the animal’s behavior. You see, Tucker became obsessed with one specific wall in the guy’s house.

However, the online search for answers eventually reached a dead end. So the man expanded it to real life and tore a hole where Tucker would stare for hours on end.

14-year-old Tucker was your average cat, leading a very enjoyable and pretty chill life

Image credits: amenohi (not the actual photo)

But one day, everything changed and he became obsessed with one specific wall in his owner’s house

Image credits: tuckerTroubles14

People took an immediate interest in Tucker’s story. And many of their explanations revolved around the fact that he can pick up things that his owner simply has no way of detecting.

Lucy Hoile, a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviorist (CCAB) who specializes in cats, told Bored Panda that a cat’s senses are perfectly honed for hunting. For example, “their eyes are highly effective in low-level light, (when prey is most active) and they are sensitive to fast-moving objects.” Hoile said. “Their ears are mobile and are shaped to help locate prey and they are sensitive to higher-pitched frequencies similar to some rodent vocalizations. Scent is used heavily in feline communication and maintaining territory.”

Dr. Carly Patterson, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said cats can see in near darkness because they can dilate their pupils and they have a special reflective layer called the tapetum lucidum that allows them to reflect more light to the back of the eye.

Plus, cats, like many other animals, have an extra fold on their ears, called Henry’s Pocket. Patterson said the exact function of this feature is not known, but many believe it helps to enhance high-frequency sounds. Signals that may be inaudible to people, such as the squeak of a mouse, are easily heard by cats.

“Cats hear sounds of varying frequencies and they are especially adept at hearing high-frequency sounds,” Patterson said, adding that we should be aware of it because “Sounds that humans may perceive as normal background noise could be stressful to the cat.”

For instance, the buzz from an LCD computer screen can be loud and annoying to cats. (Luckily, this problem can be greatly reduced by turning electronics off when we’re not using them.)

People tried to get to the bottom of Tucker’s weird behavior

Hoile said that out of all the cat’s senses, smell is arguably the most important to it. “They establish their territory through scent-marking important objects by facial rubbing or scratching, helping their home smell safe and familiar,”  the animal behaviorist explained. “They are sensitive to any unexpected changes in the scent profile in their environment, particularly those they are not able to investigate such as the new smells emanating from behind the wall in this case.”

While cats have far fewer scent receptors than canines, Patterson said recent research has shown that cats may be better at discerning between different smells.

However, these animals aren’t better than us at everything. Yes, they have superb vision and hearing, but their ability to taste is comparably weaker than ours.

Patterson explained that cats lack the sweet taste receptor, so even if they seem attracted to some sweet foods, they’re probably detecting only fat and texture.

To enhance their senses of touch and balance, cats use their whiskers.

Patterson highlighted that whiskers are located in several places on a cat’s body, though the pattern changes with different cat breeds.

“Whiskers are strategically located on a cat’s face to transmit critical sensory information, such as the ability to fit through passageways, potential obstacles, and even a sense of overall balance,” she explained.

Although house cats tend to spend more time napping than hunting, their senses give them abilities that are shared with many of the world’s top predators.

So it’s clear that Tucker was onto something!

After a while, OP came back with unexpected news

Image credits: tuckerTroubles14

“The guy from the story was right to take Tucker to the vets to rule out a medical cause,” Lucy Hoile said. “Feline dementia or other medical conditions can cause odd changes in behavior and any changes should be checked out.”

But it’s also important to know that sometimes cats need a break. “They are easily overstimulated by excessive environmental noise or strong smells and tend to take themselves away to avoid them,” Lucy Hoile explained. “Spending extended periods of time hiding or outside away from the home can be signs they are upset by something in the environment. In some cases, overstimulation can lead to aggressive behavior, particularly if the experience is unexpected, won’t go away, or is particularly intense.”

Of course, felines vary as to the extent to which they like petting or handling and for how long they tolerate these without finding it aversive. They also vary greatly in warnings before retorting to aggressive reactions when those signals are neglected or ignored.

To help people develop a healthy way of petting their cat and to be safe, San Francisco SPCA provides these tips:

  • Keep your petting sessions short and focus on the areas where the cat truly enjoys your touch. For example, most cats like to rub their faces or bodies on an offered hand, but do not appreciate long strokes over their bodies. Just observe your pet; if it generally gets aggressive when you’re petting the tail base, don’t do that!
  • Observe for signs of overstimulation and impending aggression. Cats almost always give clear warning signals before biting or scratching! It can be difficult to pick up on them at first but some of the most common ones include: tail swishing or flicking, skin twitching over the back, flattening of the ears, freezing, tenseness or staring, quick head turn to watch your hand as you pet, pupillary dilation, low growl, or walking away and lying down.
  • Stop petting your cat if you witness these early warning signals.
  • Wait before attempting to pet your cat again. Just remember that while some only take a few minutes to settle down, others can take several hours. Make sure that all signals of irritation have stopped.

Remember that punishment is not the way to address these behaviors. It will not make your cat more comfortable with handling or less aggressive. In fact, yelling or even hitting your cat will only make it fear you or become even more aggressive. The only way to address these behaviors is avoidance and proper handling and play etiquette.

The investigation continued

Image credits: tuckerTroubles14

Image credits: William Topa (not the actual photo)

And eventually the mystery was solved… Well, mostly

Image credits: tuckerTroubles14

People were glad to hear that Tucker (and his owner) were okay

Share on Facebook
You May Like
Popular on Bored Panda
Add your comment
kath morgan
Community Member
4 months ago

I need to know how this ends

Iggy
Community Member
4 months ago

Me too!

Load More Replies...
Troux
Community Member
4 months ago

Somehow the animals always know first... Ghosts? Cancer? No, I'm talking about structural integrity.

Eric Johansen
Community Member
4 months ago

All animals know and can sense things that human ls can't and aren't able to.

Load More Replies...
Aballi
Community Member
4 months ago

This is fascinating. Animals are so smart! I really want to hear an update! Did you figure out what's in the garbage bag?? How's Tucker doing?

Jan Lewis
Community Member
4 months ago

Yes, what's in the black garbage bag?

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
kath morgan
Community Member
4 months ago

I need to know how this ends

Iggy
Community Member
4 months ago

Me too!

Load More Replies...
Troux
Community Member
4 months ago

Somehow the animals always know first... Ghosts? Cancer? No, I'm talking about structural integrity.

Eric Johansen
Community Member
4 months ago

All animals know and can sense things that human ls can't and aren't able to.

Load More Replies...
Aballi
Community Member
4 months ago

This is fascinating. Animals are so smart! I really want to hear an update! Did you figure out what's in the garbage bag?? How's Tucker doing?

Jan Lewis
Community Member
4 months ago

Yes, what's in the black garbage bag?

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda