Can newspaper rustling upset your Maine Coon?

Something as innocuous as reading your newspaper while your Maine Coon (MC) is on your lap can upset him or her. That's if they want to snooze on your cosy, warm lap. It is said that MCs are not lap cats but that does not mean that all of them are the same. Some will enjoy it or they'll be by your side on the sofa as you read the paper in the morning after breakfast.

Here is a picture of my non-MC being a little pissed off by the Sunday newspaper:

Photo: MikeB. Rustling newspapers can put off cats.

My experience tells me that MCs and other domestic cats may find the sound of rustling newspaper uncomfortable and jump off your lap. I am not saying it affects all cats but some and in varying amounts. The same might happen if you are eating potato chips (crisps in the UK) while watching television. Other sharp sounds made by, for example, kitchen foil, can cause a genuine reaction.

Any sharp crinkling sounds can cause a rarish condition called feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS). This is a medical condition where loud sounds can trigger seizures in cats. FARS is more common in senior cats, with the average patient being 15 years old when diagnosed. It is also a genetic disorder in the Birman cat breed.

RELATED: Cat seizures caused by sharp sounds linked to old age.

MCs are not predisposed to FARS but they are popular domestic cats. I think it's worth knowing that rustling newspapers almost certainly won't trigger FARS but the sound may drive a cat off your lap or away from you.

There is the added problem that handling a newspaper - particularly the broadsheets - can be fiddly and cats don't like all the palaver around their heads when they are trying to have a peaceful snooze on your lap or nearby.


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