No matter how strange, each and every quirky trait is inherited from their predatory predecessors. Let’s break down some bizarre feline behaviors and the meanings behind them.
Racing Around the House
Also known as the "zoomies", cats will occasionally break into a sprint around the room without warning.
As cats have become domesticated, they have less of a need to hunt, defend their territory, or protect themselves from predators. Their bodies instinctually still store the energy for these activities should the need arise. A good zoom around the room is a great way to get rid of some unused fuel.
"Scruffing" or grabbing a kitten by the skin on its neck is a harmless mechanism mother cats use to get their kittens from point A to B. While it may not look gentle, it's a clever way to keep kittens safe.
When grabbed by the neck, a kitten will automatically go limp. This allows the mother cat to easily transport her kittens to food or safety without the worry of a wiggly offspring falling out of her grip and into harm's way.
No, your cat isn't trying to ruin your new couch on purpose. There are a few reasons why your feline feels the need to scratch your couch to pieces.
Cats will scratch objects to sharpen their claws. A cat is both a predator and prey and so it must keep its nails ready to defend itself or to catch dinner. It's also a way for cats to mark their territory — not only are scratch marks visual cues that the area is taken, but the act of scratching also releases pheromones embedded in a cat's paws. Scratching objects also helps to remove dirt and skin cells to keep their nails and paws clean.
Cats are notorious for not wearing their hearts on their sleeve. It can be difficult at times to tell if your cat likes you or thinks you're an annoying vending machine.
An easy way to gauge if your love is requited is to notice how your cat blinks at you. If your cat makes eye contact with you and slowly blinks, congratulations, it loves you back! Slow blinks are an acknowledgment that you're its caretaker and that it loves you for it.
Usually induced by a good stroking session, a cat's purr is a pure and 'purrfect' way to know its content.
It signals that your cat is enjoying your company or a particular activity. The vibrations that emanate from a purr also have self-soothing and self-healing benefits. Studies indicate that the frequency is so high it can assist our feline friends in repairing bone, muscle, and tissue damage.
Cough Up Hairballs
Coughing up hairballs is an iconic cat move. Your kitty isn't dabbling in arts and crafts, instead, it's just getting rid of excess hair.
Your cat grooms itself by licking its body. As it does this, microscopic hooks on its tongue help to remove any excess body fur. The problem is the fur is swallowed and builds up in its stomach. The only way your cat can get rid of the build-up is by coughing up a hairball now and then.
Possibly the cutest behavior on this list, a cat 'blep' refers to when a cat leaves its tongue hanging out its mouth. While this would make even the most ardent dog lovers switch sides, cats don't do this for brownie points.
Instead, they leave their tongue out to survey their surroundings using their very strong sense of taste. Their taste buds can detect pheromones from nearby cats and scents from potential prey. There are also less practical reasons behind a blep. When relaxed, a cat's jaw muscles will loosen, allowing its tongue to flop out or it can simply forget to reel its tongue back in.
Trying to Open Doors
Cats seem to have inherited an entitlement complex from their ancient Egyptian ancestors. They still believe they reign supreme and therefore that your home is their territory. Every nook and cranny belongs to them! That's why cats can't stand closed doors.
The very idea that they're blocked off from certain areas of their territory drives them mad. They'll do anything to open the door. This includes scratching furiously, meowing endlessly, and trying to pull down door handles. Kitties are social creatures, so being locked out also means they feel like they're missing bonding time with their humans.
Walking and Sitting on Whatever You're Busy With
Instead of letting you work, so you can afford to buy their food and toys, cats will walk or sit right on top of whatever you're busy with. Are they trying to tell you to take a break? Nope!
Your feline feels safe around your scent, so whatever object smells like you will draw them in. Cats' territorial nature is another cause for this slightly annoying trait. They understand that whatever object is taking up all your attention must be important and they want in! Using the pheromone glands in their paws, they claim ownership over whatever they decide to walk on. That's right, in your cat's mind, your laptop now belongs to them.
Exposing Their Stomach
Warning! Do not give your cat a tummy rub when it shows you its stomach. Repeat! Do not give your cat a tummy rub when it shows you its stomach. It's not asking for a belly rub!
In fact, since that area houses all their vital organs, cats will instinctively scratch or bite anyone that goes near their tummy. So why do they expose their stomachs if they don't enjoy belly rubs? It's a way to tell you that they trust you and feel safe to expose their most vulnerable area around you. The bright side is that what you'll miss in belly rubs you'll gain in your cat's ultimate sign of trust.
Knocking Objects Off Surfaces
We've all caught our cat red-pawed after hearing our precious possessions smash to the ground. No, your cat didn't knock your expensive flower vase onto the floor out of spite. Boredom is to blame!
If your cat has been on a knocking-objects-off-the-shelf rampage, it needs some fresh stimulation. A few new toys or a change of scenery might just do the trick and keep your valuable items above ground. Pushing things around with their paws is also a way cats learn about the textures and shapes of the objects in their environment.
An... interesting feline trait is hiding droppings in sand or foliage. While it could make for a very unhygienic game of 'find the treasure', each dropping contains a unique identifying scent belonging to the cat that...deposited them.
This is not great if a cat is trying to evade predators. Hiding droppings gets rid of the scent marker and keeps your kitty safe! Even though modern house cats don't need to worry about predators, the instinct remains to dispose of their droppings without a trace.
Not Hiding Droppings
A confident cat might leave their droppings out in the open for everyone to see and smell. It's not the most attractive cat behavior but it's purely instinctual. Since their droppings are packed with scent markers, in an act of defining their territory, cats might leave their exposed droppings around the house.
This behavior is common when a new cat joins the family. Another reason for a droppings display is that your cat may be unhappy with the litterbox conditions. Either the scent of the sand isn't quite right or the box needs a good cleaning. No one said that having a cat was glamorous!
Eye of the Cat
Getting a glimpse of your cat's eyes when fully dilated can be slightly spooky! Cats are usually on the prowl for prey when there's little light outside.
To ensure they find dinner, their pupils will expand to let as much light in as possible. If your kitty has big eyes during the day it may be a signal that it's in heat, or that it's feeling stressed. It's always a good idea to keep a (cat) eye out for dilation changes.
Ever bought your cat a fancy new toy, only to discover they're more excited by the cardboard box that it came in? You're not alone. Cats love cardboard boxes! They provide small and comfortable spaces for cats to climb into and dodge potential predators.
Cardboard is also that it's a great material for heat retention. Since cats love being warm, a cardboard box is an easy DIY sauna for them. It's also not too soft and not too rough, making it the perfect chewable and scratchable surface.
There's a reason why an arched back is named the "cat pose" in yoga. To get a good stretch after a long nap, kitties will often arch their backs. Usually, though, a cat will arch its back when it feels frightened or feels the need to defend its territory.
It's an effective way to make its body appear bigger and more threatening to ward off any potential danger. Mixed with hair standing up and a few hisses, your cat can transform itself into a formidable feline threat!
The Flehmen Response refers to the face your cat makes when it stares into the distance, nose wrinkled, and mouth agape. It's the feline equivalent of the loading sign and means your cat is computing a strange scent.
This rather off-putting grimace allows the scent to pass through the cat's sensitive sensory structure that's located on the roof of its mouth. With that facial expression, no scent is too complex for your furry little friend.
Getting a little head bump from your cat, or "bunting" means you're in its good books! When your cat rubs its head against you, it covers you in pheromones. This sends a signal that you are its property, which in the cat world means you're loved.
In stressful environments, bunting is also an effective way for a cat to make a space feel calm and comfortable. A few head-rubs on items around the room and they'll feel right at home.
Felines love to gobble up grass. It may not be appetizing to humans, but it keeps your kitty healthy!
The grass is packed with folic acid which boosts hemoglobin production. Since cats find it difficult to fully digest it, eating a few shards keeps their bowel movements regular and helps them regurgitate anything that may be causing stomach problems. So let your kitty have some lawn for lunch!
The ideal token of appreciation from your cat may not be a dead animal left at your doorstep, but hey, it's the thought that counts!
There are some heartfelt reasons behind your gory 'gift'. It means your cat considers you part of the family and wants to share its catch with you. It's also a way for kitten-less cats to pass on their hunting knowledge to their vulnerable human companions.
Felines are fiercely independent creatures. Sure, they love to cuddle up with their owners and have their heads scratched, but they also need some alone time to recharge. Don't we all? That's why there's no need to worry if you haven't seen your beloved kitty in a few days.
Your cat is doing what comes naturally to it. Venturing into the world as a solo explorer, discovering new sights and smells. It is also a way for your cat to get some space and quiet especially if your home is busy and loud. After a few days, your kitty will suddenly reappear, probably at its food bowl.
Stuck Up a Tree
Whether it's racing after prey or trying to outrun a potential predator, cats have no problem climbing up trees. Their agile bodies and sharp claws help propel them up with ease. However, in all the commotion, it's common for cats to climb a little too high and get stuck.
Cats can struggle to get back down from the treetops because their instinct is to jump not climb down. This creates some hesitation which tends to delay the descent. Felines just need a little encouragement (with some tasty treats) and they'll eventually gain the confidence to get down safely.
Leave your cat out of bath time! They hate getting their fur wet so it's understandable that they claw and jump to get away from a body of water.
Not only is bathing unnecessary, but it also gives their fur a strange texture and taste that won't be appreciated during the next grooming session. Soaking wet fur also weighs your cat down and makes them less agile. Let your cat handle its hygiene habits and you can stick to soaking in the tub.
On the flip side, certain feline breeds love water! Bengals, Japanese Bobtails, and Turkish Angoras are just some of the breeds that love to take a dip and go for a swim.
Cats are stimulated by objects that move, so your feline might also be fascinated by a leaky tap. Hours will go by while your cat tries to swat water droplets and enjoy the strange sound of water hitting the sink.
This peculiar herb sends even the most docile of cats bouncing off the walls. Nepetalactone is to blame! It's the chemical found inside the catnip that activates the brief but bizarre response cats seem to have to it.
It's thought to stimulate the same areas of the brain as pheromones do. This explains why your cat will roll around in it or even try to nibble it. Catnip is non-addictive and non-harmful so your feline can enjoy the experience worry-free!
Following You Around
You haven't got a furry shadow, it's just your kitty following you around the house. No matter where you are, your cat will likely follow you there. It's usually because your cat just wants to hang out and play with you!
Most domesticated cats spend a lot of time alone at home. Your cat wants companionship and entertainment and has picked you to provide it! It's also a way for your cat to leave its scent wherever you go and mark its territory. It's a friendly reminder that your cat actually owns your home and not you. Good to know!
It's not just humans that can't keep their eyes or 'paws' off their screens, felines fall prey to electronic distraction too! The strange sounds and images flashing across the screen stimulate the same senses used to hunt quick-moving prey.
Put on a video of birds chattering on loop and watch your cat transfix for hours! It doesn't stop at watching, cats can now engage in their screentime. Yes, your cat can become a gamer by playing e-games tailored for felines!
Cats take the phrase "sleeping with one eye open" to a new level. They have the ability to sleep with their eyes half open or one eye open and one closed.
It's known as "Shallow Sleep", and is an evolutionary behavior that your cat will employ when it needs to get some rest but doesn't feel completely comfortable in its surroundings. This dozing technique ensures your cat can keep an eye out for danger while getting some much-needed rest.
Chasing a little red dot around a room may sound boring to most, but is an ideal playtime activity for cats. It ticks all the right boxes to get your feline's predator juices flowing.
Cats enjoy this activity as it lets them flex their built-in hunting features while getting a good workout in. Your cat will use its superior peripheral vision and tracking abilities to spot and hunt down the laser pointer wherever you may be aiming it. It also makes for a great reusable toy that won't get ripped to shreds.
Using Your Body as a Bed
Not only do you make a good companion and provider of food for your kitty, but you also make for a comfortable bed. Cats love to snooze on their humans, be it morning, noon, or night.
We're great conductors of body heat, which keeps them toasty. You'll often find that cats will curl up on your chest or between your legs so they can soak up as much body heat as possible. It's also their way of showing their love and affection towards you. Sleeping is a vulnerable activity since their defenses are down. So if your cat is choosing to spend sleepy time on you, it means they trust you.
Do yourself a favor and type "cat scared of cucumber" into your search bar. Sit back and enjoy a plethora of hilarious content showing cats leaping in fear after catching sight of the vicious vegetable.
While cucumbers aren't typically regarded as nightmare fuel, experts think that the cucumber's size and shape can set off alarm bells in a cat's brain that a snake is nearby. This mix-up explains the jump-scare reaction from your cat and laughs from millions of viewers online.
"Making biscuits" or kneading does not mean your cat is moonlighting as a baker. It refers to the gentle motion of pushing paws into a soft surface, usually accompanied by purring and drooling.
Kittens will usually knead their mother as they drink milk because it helps to activate the mothers' milk glands. It's thought that the sensation of "making biscuits" makes the cat feel safe and secure, just as they did when they were around their mothers as kittens. Another benefit of kneading is that it releases pheromones from glands in their paws. It lets them mark their favorite blanket (or even their favorite human) as their territory.
Landing on All Fours
No matter the height and no matter the jumping point, a cat will always land on all fours. Cats owe this life-saving skill to a "righting reflex" that kicks in the minute they're falling from a great height.
It may look like your cat is performing an acrobatic skill, but it's just the reflex helping the cat flip around to land right-side up. With the help of their finely-tuned ears to orientate themselves mid-air and their uber-flexible bone structure, they're able to twist their way out of any bad landing.
Not Loving Dogs
Dogs may be a man's best friend, but cats certainly don't share the same sentiment. Cats and dogs often have polar opposite traits which don't bode well for potential friendships. Felines, by nature, are more solitary creatures that take time to feel comfortable around other animals.
Dogs are far more social and easygoing pets. They're happy to approach any animal right away and get a good whiff. This boisterous method doesn't suit cats' comfort zones. It usually leads to an intense exchange of scratches and barking. You guessed it, it's where the expression "fighting like cats and dogs" comes from!
Sleeping in the Fetus Position
It's common to find your cat fast asleep, tail wrapped around its body, and its head tucked firmly into its chest. Felines rely on this sleeping position to retain body heat while they snooze. The position also safeguards their vital organs by keeping their stomachs hidden from sight.
The fetal position may be an indicator that your cat is unwell or experiencing discomfort. Keep an eye on your kitty if the fetal position has become their go-to sleeping state.
Playing With Their Food
Your kitty isn't trying to be rude when it plays with its food. Cats will usually play with their prey as a defense mechanism. It tires the prey out so there's less of a chance of it fighting back against the cat. It guarantees an easy and safe mealtime for your kitty.
This behavior transfers to cat kibble as well. You may find bits of food all over your kitchen floor after a game of food tennis. It also keeps bored cats entertained, so if there's a lack of stimuli in their environment, food is the next best toy to enjoy.
To take part in yet another viral cat phenomenon, all you need to do is make a shape with some tape. Your cat will plonk itself right in the center of whatever you map out. Cats' eyes are built for long-distance vision and don't perform optimally when examining objects up close.
It's thought that they may mistake the flat shape to be a three-dimensional box and we all know how much cats love boxes! What we see as mere tape on the floor, cats see as a whole new box to explore. Perhaps ignorance is bliss.
One meow can speak a thousand words. Despite popular belief, cats do not meow at one another. Instead, they reserve their meows to communicate with us. While they may be difficult for our human ears to distinguish, each meow has a unique meaning.
A traditional meow is a way for your cat to draw your attention to itself or to an object. If your cat meows while standing at its food bowl, it probably means it wants a refill ASAP. A short meow or "Mewl" is feline speak for "hello!" while a burst of meows in quick succession means your kitty is excited!
If you hear your cat chattering away while staring out the window, it's not trying to start a conversation with you. Cats will make this chitter-chattering sound while watching birds perched on trees out of their reach. It can mean that your cat is excited or anxious to get a taste of its prey.
It's also believed to be a hunting strategy. The sound seems to mimic a bird chirp which could draw the feathered food in closer.
Weird Waking Hours
You may have noticed that your cat doesn't stick to your sleep schedule. While it's often thought that they are nocturnal animals, it's more accurate to refer to cats as crepuscular creatures. This is because their preferred waking hours are dusk and dawn.
Since these are periods of low light, cats will be able to hunt of out sight of potential predators. Even if your housebound cat isn't under threat, the instinct remains to be up when the light is low. This also explains why your feline will dedicate most of the day to catnapping.
Don't ignore the tell-tail signs your cat is trying to communicate with you with the swish of its tail. An upright tail with a curve on the end means your cat is happy and relaxed. A curvier tail or a tail wrapped around your legs is your feline's way of welcoming you home. Your cat is in predator mode if you see it gently swaying its tail from side to side.
Whipping its tail up and down at short intervals usually means your kitty is annoyed. A frightened cat will puff up its tail, along with the rest of its body, in an effort to appear more threatening.
While it's not socially acceptable for humans to go around licking people, cats do it all the time. It's a perfectly natural behavior that has many functions. Cats groom themselves and one another by licking as their tounges have tiny hooks that remove excess fur and dirt.
When you get a lick from your feline, it means you're in need of a good grooming session. It suggests that your cat cares about your well-being and wants to keep you clean and healthy! It's also a way to mark their territory and warn other cats that you're not up for grabs.
Felines love a good sun session. Cats are built to thrive in hot climates and need to keep a toasty temperature at all times to feel content. While it may seem strange to see your furry friend lying in the sun for hours, it's an easy way to recharge their batteries and get some much-needed warmth and energy back into their bodies.
When your cat drifts off into sleep, its body temperature naturally decreases. This is also why cats prefer to sleep in the sunlight to make up for any lost body heat. Don't worry, cats can handle the heat.
Wiggle and Pounce
Felines are ferocious hunters. They silently stalk their prey and when the moment is right, they pounce! You may have noticed that your cat does a little wiggle right before the jump. It certainly provides some comedic relief in this predatory practice, but it also serves an important function.
It's thought that the wiggle helps to position their legs so they're ready to lunge. The movement also warms up the cat's muscles to protect it from a potential hunting injury. Who said you can't look cute and hunt at the same time?
Have trouble finding your cat? Look up! You'll probably find it perched up high atop your cupboard or shelf. The higher up the cat is, the better vantage point it'll have. Cats feel most comfortable when they can survey their environment and it's best to do so from the highest point in the room.
The need to have a bird's-eye view comes from their natural instinct to keep an eye out for prey and predators that could be crawling on the ground. Nowadays, it's a good way to spot when their food bowl is about to be topped up.
When all paws are tucked neatly under its belly, a cat's loaf position has officially commenced. Besides looking adorable, felines love to lie in the loaf position for a few reasons. By keeping its paws underneath its body, your cat prevents unnecessary heat loss through its extremities. The loaf position also keeps your cat's vital organs safe and sound since it entails lying on its stomach.
While it's a comfortable resting pose, it's an easy position to pounce out of should the need arise.
Squeezing Through Holes
Ever wonder how cats manage to squeeze through small tunnels and holes without a care in the world? It's all in the whiskers!
They aren't there for decoration, they help felines navigate through the obstacle course that is your home. The width of a pair of whiskers generally equals the width of the cat's body. Cats will rely on these hyper-sensitive strands to determine if they'll fit through a hole. As long as the whiskers fit, there's no crevice that a cat can't conquer!
Like humans, felines have a tendency to bite their nails. Since their nails are made up of layers, the oldest layer needs to be removed every so often to allow the cat's claws to perform at their best. It also helps to remove any excess dirt and bacteria collected underneath the nails. Biting and pulling out their nails is a normal part of the grooming process.
It's only worth taking note of if the behavior becomes excessive. It could be indicative that your cat is under severe stress or is under-stimulated.
Paying attention to how your kitty's ears are twitching around can tell you a great deal about what it's feeling or thinking. A huge factor in cats' predatory status is their keen sense of hearing. Not only are they able to pick up sounds across far distances, but they use their exceptionally flexible muscles to twitch and turn their ears to find the exact location of their prey.
If your cat's ears get twitchy when you're around, it can be a sign of affection. It could mean that it wants to know where you are. Twitchy ears can also signal a potential ear infection or flea infestation.
A soft nibble from your kitty should not be taken as an aggressive act! Sure, it can hurt a little but it's their way of showing you love. It's learned behavior from kitten-hood when mother cats would groom their babies with licks and nibbles. It's also how cats play with one another, so if you get a little nibble, it may mean that it sees you as a companion to play with.
It can also be an effective way to get your attention if your focus has been elsewhere. Cats often bite their owners and then lead them to their food bowls. Literally biting the hand that feeds it!
We’ve all been there, we’re walking our dog a bit too close to a cat when suddenly the cat arches its back and lets out a hiss. This sound is created when a cat takes an extended exhalation while opening its mouth and exposing its teeth.
Hissing is a cat’s way of saying “back off!”Since cats usually want to avoid confrontation, hissing is used as a warning sign before an attack or as a defensive behavior against a perceived threat. Don’t say they didn't warn you!
Say It, Don’t Spray It
It's the nightmare of every cat owner — your favorite clothing item has been sprayed with a notoriously strong-smelling liquid. Spraying is different from regular urination, however. When a cat sprays, it backs up onto a vertical surface in a standing position and releases fluid out in the open instead of squatting in a hidden location like a litterbox.
Both female and male felines spray, and it's usually a sign they feel threatened, territorial, or stressed because of a change in their environment. Cats spray to send out a message, almost like a “pee”-mail!
Cats can contort themselves into all sorts of strange kitty yoga-like positions while grooming. In fact, it's estimated that adult cats spend about half their day just grooming themselves! One of the most common reasons for the nonstop grooming sessions is temperature regulation — as they lick, saliva evaporates on their fur to cool them down.
It also redistributes natural oils in their skin and hair to seal in heat and keep moisture out. Plus, grooming stimulates blood flow and helps cats to relax. Though it may seem a bit excessive, it’s purr-fectly normal feline behavior!
While it’s no secret that many cats HATE water, some cat owners find that their furry friends sometimes don’t even want to DRINK water! Avoiding the water dish can be attributed to biology. Cats evolved from desert-dwelling animals that got their water needs from their prey.
Kitties are also very sensitive to the shape, material, and temperature of the water being presented to them, and generally do not like still or standing water. They are even biologically wired to avoid drinking near their food or where they use the bathroom! Talk about picky drinkers!
It seems that almost every neighborhood has an area where many cats like to congregate. But why do cats, generally considered solitary animals, like to live in cat colonies? The answer is a bit complex — feral felines will form colonies based on available food resources and shelter. Colony members are mostly made up of female cats called “queens” and kittens.
Though they may live together and even groom and nurse one another, they still hunt on their own and do not form interdependent hierarchies the same way dogs do. It seems that these independent animals will... sometimes tolerate group living.
Mother Knows Best
Though cats may have a reputation as being aloof or cold, they actually make doting and caring mothers. Not only do they spend hours taking care of and grooming their kittens, but they also give them some much-needed hunting lessons.
Mother cats begin their gory lessons at just a few weeks old. Kittens learn how to locate and hunt prey, first with dead prey and later with live specimens! She also teaches her kittens what to eat, how to bury their waste, and how to correctly socialize. If you thought your parents were tough, imagine making mama cat angry!
Though our pet cats are considerably smaller than us, there are some instances when it seems that these tiny felines end up calling the shots. So why are some cats so bossy or dominant? It turns out that most bossy behavior is the product of poor socialization, territorial behavior, or sometimes male-on-male aggression.
This dominance can be displayed as stealing toys, rubbing or spraying their scent or urinating, jealousy, attacking other cats, or demanding food or attention. Thankfully, these behaviors can be corrected by setting healthy boundaries or speaking to a cat behaviorist and well.. showing 'em whose boss!
Not in a Grrrrr-eat Mood
While cats are certainly very vocal animals, there is one sound we wouldn't typically associate with a feline — growling. It turns out that like dogs, cats can sometimes growl or even snarl. Cat growls are considered “warning” sounds that indicate they are feeling displeased by something and may even be followed by a hiss.
This behavior is often displayed when a cat is eating something that it does not want to share, feeling territorial, or wanting to signal dominance. Cats can also growl if they feel scared, angry, or just not feeling well.
Take a Bite
Almost every cat owner has the scars to show just how quickly a petting session can go from “aww” to “ow!” Though it may seem like your cat is having fun, it can also be feeling overstimulated.
Excessive petting or attention can stimulate the cat to the point where it becomes hard for them to regulate their behavior. Though they may try to tell you to stop using their body language, owners often misinterpret it, resulting in bites. To avoid any bloodshed, pay attention to your cat’s body language and take small breaks in between playtime.
Cat Fights Meoooow!
Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of two (or even more) cats duking it out? Those howls, hisses, and other threatening sounds could wake even the deepest sleeper! Being extremely territorial animals, cats will fiercely defend their turf, whether that territory is in your home or neighborhood.
Some fighting is caused by particularly aggressive cats or cats feeling stressed. While cats will use body language like hissing or marking to make their presence known, sometimes interactions between these solitary creatures result in these physical fur-ocious fights!
Though dogs are typically known to pant as a way to regulate their body temperature and cool down, cats can pant as well. Though cats can sweat small amounts through the pads on their paws, they sometimes need to release body heat through panting.
Panting can also be a sign of overheating or another medical emergency so it's important to always keep an eye on your pet and seek medical help if necessary.
Creepy Cat Calls
From hissing to high-pitched meows, cats can exhibit a wide array of interesting sounds. But one sound is probably the most disturbing as it can sound eerily like a baby crying. Known as caterwauling, this sound sounds like a whining howl or yowl that wavers in volume level.
Though cats may make this noise for attention or due to illness, this bizarre noise is usually used in courtship rituals. Female cats in heat may caterwaul to get male attention, while unneutered male cats may make the sound when they sense a female is in heat.
Cat paws are undeniably cute. But while they're adorable, they sometimes have a rather unique odor — a smell many compare to corn chips! But what causes the phenomenon known jokingly as “Fritos feet?”
Both dog and cat paws contain glands that release pheromones, sweat, and different scents. An overgrowth of bacteria and yeast can cause an infection that can result in a strong corn-chips-like smell. While some may find the scent endearing, a strong scent can also be a sign that your pet needs to go to the vet.
Most cat owners are used to being watched by their tiny overlords (oops, we mean pet cats!). But it turns out that this constant monitoring is actually a learning exercise. Cats are fast learners and can quickly memorize our patterns — for example, learning where the snacks are kept or even how to open cabinets.
Studies have shown that cats learn from watching other cats and sometimes humans. There are even examples of cats using their litter box while their owner is also using the bathroom! Though they may look innocent, cats are constantly memorizing our patterns and behaviors.
Don’t Be Rude!
While dogs are often called “man’s best friend”, the same can’t always be said about cats. Though cats make amazing companions and can be very loving pets, they do have a reputation for being unfriendly. Their aloofness, however, may be tied to their evolutionary biology.
Some experts attribute their coldness to the fact that they were domesticated later than dogs and so they have held onto their wild traits for longer than dogs. Though they are naturally solitary animals, cats do crave attention and social interaction — just on their own terms!
Nose to Nose
Many cat owners love when they get a little ‘boop’ on their nose by their pet cat. But why do cats enjoy touching nose to nose? Many experts believe that, for cats, touching noses is the equivalent of humans shaking hands — a standard cat greeting.
This nose-touching behavior begins with their mother. From learning who a cat is to where they’ve been, to even serving as a way for dominant cats to pass scents onto more submissive ones, his gentle touch is used to convey a variety of messages and glean all sorts of information.
It's the bane of every cat owner, you place a neat bowl of water for your whiskered friend only to come back and find the area around the bowl dripping wet. But why do cats love to dip their paws in the water and splash it around?
One reason may be that their highly-sensitive whiskers may make placing their face in the water bowl feel painful or uncomfortable. Another theory is that cats prefer moving versus stagnant water. Some cat experts think the reason for this behavior is that splashing water around is just plain fun!
Nothing Butt the Truth
It's an unfortunate reality of being a cat owner — though you may be offering love and affection, you’re suddenly faced with your cat’s rear end. But why do some cats just love showing us their bottoms? It turns out that a cat’s bottom can be a treasure trove of important information!
Cats often smell one another’s bodies (including their bottoms) in order to gain information about everything from the other cat’s diet to their mood. If your cat is showing you this less-than-pleasant area, it's actually because they trust and love you. Bottoms up!
Following You to the Bathroom
Though the kitchen might be a popular hangout place for your cat, many felines are fascinated by their owner’s bathroom. From sleeping in sinks to causing trouble with the toilet, these cats can't get enough of the commode.
Many cat behaviorists think this bathroom obsession comes from them feeling vulnerable without you (just try doing your business alone, without being watched — impossible with cats!). The bathroom is also full of interesting smells and cool smooth surfaces to lay on — plus they know they’ll be the focus of your attention. You've got yourself a new bathroom buddy!
Standing on Hind Legs
It may seem a bit strange to come across a cat standing on its hind legs, in what looks like a human-like position. Though cats typically move around on all fours, they may get into this position for several reasons.
One of the most common reasons is to make themselves look larger or more intimidating in the face of a threat. In non-stressful situations, they may “stand up” to get your attention or a better look at some yummy treats. They may also “stand” when playing or feeling curious. Though short-lasting, it is interesting to see!
Fuzzy Alarm Clocks
It's 5 a.m. and you’re in deep sleep when something suddenly pounces on your chest — it’s your cat and he’s full of energy. The most common reason for the rude wake-up call? They’re hungry, or rather know that if they wake the sleepy human, they’ll get food.
Other reasons include not using up their energy during the day or not having a strict daily routine. As hard as it may be, try to ignore this furry little alarm clock in order not to reinforce this undesired behavior or implement a stricter feeding/behavioral routine.
Taking Food Away From the Bowl
Many owners have watched curiously as their cat takes a chunk of wet food or some dry food and disappears, only to reappear and repeat the ritual over and over.
So why do some cats prefer not to eat from the bowl? Experts believe that this act is a way of protecting their valuable cache of food from other cats or predators, or not drawing attention to themselves (in the wild cats are hunters but can also be prey). Not known to be social eaters, cats prefer to eat in safer or less-stressful environments.
You're walking across the house, minding your own business when out of nowhere your cat sinks its teeth into your ankle. But what is behind this painful attack? Cat experts believe that moving feet trigger a cat's innate hunting instincts and make our toes seem like bite-sized morsels of prey.
It's also a way to get attention (even if we're left bleeding!) when they want food or want to play. You may also want to rethink wearing fuzzy slippers — because they look even more like prey, they’re known to encourage pouncing behavior even more!
Many owners have been on the receiving end of one particularly painful cat behavior — the “bunny kick”. Bunny kicks happen when a cat grabs hold of something and quickly kicks its hind legs at the same time. This four-legged hold can leave you with deep scratches thanks to the cat’s strong leg muscles.
Many experts believe this behavior is protective and also a hunting maneuver to pin down prey. Some ways to prevent bunny kicks are by limiting any sort of aggressive play or giving your cat a stuffed toy to do it on (instead of your arm!).
Lock Your Items Up
It is a familiar sight for many pet owners, you move the sofa and suddenly a huge array of items appear — hair ties, rubber bands, cat toys… But why do cats love to steal things and stash them away?
Many experts believe that many of these klepto kitties are simply bored. Stealing and hiding are instinctual behavior tied to hunting, and it's a great way to play and even get attention. Experts suggest increasing the amount of play or environmental enrichment. If they're stealing food items, they may need to be fed more frequently throughout the day.
Some cats simply love to sink their teeth into the strangest items they can find. A favorite? Electrical cords and wires. Not only is it inconvenient and expensive to replace these damaged items, but there is also the risk of fire or electrocution.
But why do cats insist on chewing this shocking snack? Cats are naturally curious and love to chew on things — a dangerous combination for your electronics! This is especially true for kittens and their growing teeth. Keep the kitties at bay and give them some string to play with instead.
Every holiday season, social media is full of funny videos of cats climbing or playing with Christmas trees. But what’s behind these hilarious holiday antics? Cats are naturally drawn to the smell of trees and love to scratch the tree’s bark.
Add in shiny ornaments, blinking lights, and shimmering tinsel and it’s sensory overload for many felines. But just because they want to play doesn't mean they should — cats can electrocute themselves if they chew the electrical cords, and can break ornaments. The tree itself is a danger with toxic natural oils and sharp pine needles. Sorry kitty, you'll need to stay away from Santa!
As far as many cats are concerned, all homes should have an “open door policy”. Some cats just cannot stand a closed door, not even for a second! Many experts blame the naturally curious nature of cats — they want to know what's going on behind the door.
Others think the cats may equate closed doors with feeling trapped. Some experts think that cats just want to be part of the party or be where the action is (even if it’s just you brushing your teeth!). Who knew cats suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out) too?
Running After Using the Litter Box
Many cat owners are surprised to see their furry friends run around after doing their business in their litter box. It turns out that using the bathroom may give your cat such a sense of relief that it actually reinvigorates them, leaving them with a burst of energy!
Experts explain that when cats go number two, they're left feeling lighter and more energetic. Some even suggest that because predators are drawn to the scents of a cat’s bathroom business, cats would naturally want to be as far away from their smelly situation as possible.
Don't Pick Me Up
Though there are of course exceptions to this rule, it is a common trait of many cats to resist being held or picked up. Experts believe that this squirmy or even aggressive reaction to being in your arms stems from having not been socialized properly as kittens.
Being carried or held is not part of a cat’s normal interaction, and they may find the action threatening. Let your "catwalk" beside you instead.
Leaves nibbled, planters knocked over, and dirt scattered are often the result of a mischievous feline left to its own devices in a garden. Not only do many cats enjoy the taste of many plants, but they also enjoy playing with the leaves.
Cats are natural diggers and can sometimes take things to the next (and a bit grosser) level by using planters as litter boxes! While they may see their garden fun as getting in touch with their inner green paw, gardeners may not feel the same way.
While many of us associate balloons with a fun party, your cat may feel differently… very differently. In fact, some cats suffer from a phobia of balloons known as globophobia. Many cats see this round party staple as a threat, in a similar shape and size as a flying predator like a bird of prey.
Balloons also emit static electricity that, while we can sense it, can cause panic or sensory overload in a cat. The strange noises balloons make and the strong smell just add to the reasons why cats would be terrified of balloons. Top tip: Do not get balloons for your cat's birthday party!
Hunting, Even When They’re Not Hungry
It's a gruesome reality — no matter how much you feed your cat, there's still the possibility that you’ll come home to find the remnants of or even a whole animal that your cat hunted. But why do cats have such an insatiable desire to hunt?
Hunting causes the “happy hormone”, endorphin, to surge through their body and is not connected to hunger. Cats, being independent hunters (unlike dogs that hunt in packs), are highly opportunistic and will take any opportunity to hunt… even if they're not hungry.
Litter for Lunch?
With all of the dry food and snacks that most pet cats receive, it’s surprising that cats would turn to their litter box when it comes to looking for a midnight snack.
Many veterinary experts believe that this behavior stems from a medical condition called anemia — when the body doesn't create enough red blood cells, or the cells don't function as well. Wanting litter for lunch may also be a sign of pica — the desire to eat non-food items. Pica is caused by mineral deficiencies or sometimes even boredom. This rather...Uhm, unappetizing behavior is especially common in kittens.
Watching a cat effortlessly scale a high wall makes us wonder how cats can jump to such great heights. It turns out that cats can easily jump six times their height thanks to their impressive anatomy. Starting in a crouching position, cats use their strong back leg muscles to launch themselves.
Before going for the big leap, they expertly estimate distances and the force needed to make a jump. Their flexible spine helps make for a smooth landing while their tail helps them balance. Who knew we had such amazing athletes living with us?
It's not uncommon for cat playtime to quickly devolve into a boxing match. Unlike slaps in the human world, cat slaps can actually be a positive thing.
Some cats slap to initiate playtime. These slaps are typically done with the cat’s nails safely retracted. Some slaps, however, are used to show dominance or at the start of a fight. These slaps are typically in conjunction with other signs of fearful or aggressive behavior such as hissing or growling.
Curator of Crinkly Stuff
What would opening presents be without your pet cat rushing to play with the shiny wrapping paper or bows? It's no secret that cats love things that crinkle or make noise. Some experts believe that crinkly sounds like paper or plastic bags remind these natural hunters of the sounds that small animal prey make, tapping into their hunting and pouncing instincts.
The crinkly sound can also remind them of the leaves on the ground of their natural habitat. However, we still like to think that cats just love to wrap gifts!
Down in the Dirt
Though cats rightfully earn their reputation for being meticulous groomers and clean animals, they do have a dirty secret — they just love rolling around in the dirt. Experts explain that cats indulge in this dirty behavior to cool off as the dirt is typically cooler.
Rolling in dirt also helps mask their scent from potential prey or even predators. As they roll, cats are also spreading their scent and marking their territory. There's also the possibility that it's just fun to roll around and take a dirt bath once in a while!
Some cat owners are surprised to find that their feline companion enjoys sucking on blankets or fabric. Experts believe that this baby-like behavior can be the result of a kitten that was separated from its mother too early.
Cats “nursing” clothing may be displaying the deep trust they have in you or can be a self-soothing behavior if your pet is feeling stressed. It's best to always have a blanket on standby, that is if you don't want every sweater you own to be drenched in cat saliva.
Who doesn’t get a bit worried when the rain clouds come rolling in? Often referred to as thunderstorm phobia, many cats are greatly affected by these storms. Cats have strong senses and may feel static electricity and changes in barometric pressure during a storm, not to mention the loud sounds of thunder or howling winds.
Experts recommend bringing your cat inside and letting your cat hide if they want to. Plus, having a cuddle buddy during a storm is one of the many perks of having a furry friend.
All Night Long
Some cats seem to sleep all day and play all night. While this behavior is normal, it can be disruptive to everyone else who is trying to get a good night’s sleep.
If your cat is too active at night, make sure they have interactive toys to play with during the day. Rotate their toys to keep them new and exciting. You can also offer your cat a small meal before bedtime to help make them sleepy.
Squirming on the Floor
Does your cat roll around and squirm on the floor as you watch in amazement? Is it under the influence of catnip, or is something else going on?
When your cat rolls over and squirms it typically signals that your cat feels safe and maybe wants some attention from you. They may be feeling very playful and your cat may also be marking the area with their scent this way, claiming your space as its own.
Cover It Up!
Everyone has heard of finicky cats. And some cats make clear their gustatory preferences by covering up the food bowl.
If your cat is covering its food after eating some of it, it may be an instinctive behavior as wild felines cache their food to keep it safe from others. Your kitten or cat may scratch around its food bowl after eating or even use shredded paper to cover it up.
Is your cat playing E.T. and trying to phone home? If it is interrupting your time on the phone, at the keyboard, or when reading, your cat is jealous of you giving attention to these objects rather than to your fur baby.
The solution is to give your cat more one-on-one time as well as interactive toys to keep it stimulated.
Cats can be so squeaky clean and graceful that when they fart, we often tend to laugh at such unexpected behavior from our fastidious felines.
Though sometimes comedic, cutting cheese is a behavior that you may need to have some concern about if it becomes a chronic problem. Cats can have flatulence for a variety of reasons, from anxiety to allergies. Yes, it's normal for your furry felines to fart but if they seem to be passing gas more than usual you might want to check with your local veterinarian.
Cats love lounging on countertops, shelves, and other second-story territories. The higher the perch, the better. That poses a hygiene and safety issue for cats who stroll across the stovetop. But you can't stop this natural inclination.
Pet cats, though no longer wild, inherit the instinct to seek high ground. They're hunters, sniffing out and stalking that tasty butter dish but also prey. Finding the highest ground in your house offers a nifty lookout, far from the dog-sniffing and kid-poking range.
We all like to tuck our hands and feet under the covers when we are cold. Cats are not much different, they just tuck paws and tails–and sometimes noses–under the “cover” of their own bodies. Cats definitely prefer warmer weather, so the average wintertime household may not be comfortably warm for our kitties.
Luckily, thanks to their lithe and flexible bodies, they can tuck all their extremities under them, leaving them looking a bit like a traditional American main dish.
When in Heat
Cats in heat display very clear behavioral signs that include but are not limited to rolling around, rubbing against anything and everything, restlessness, excessive vocalization, and demanding affection.
It can be an extremely tiring and uncomfortable time for your female cat. If estrus is hard on your cat, having her spayed is the best option. Not only will it keep your cat more comfortable but it will also extend her natural lifespan.
Cats like to stretch largely for the same reasons people do: It feels good, and it increases blood flow to the muscles.
Think about how stiff your body is when you just wake up. Now think of the fact that cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. That's right. They're not moving for LONG amounts of time. When cats are sitting still or sleeping, their blood pressure drops, and stretching can reverse that.
Drinking a Lot of Water
Have you noticed your cat drinking more water than usual? If so, it may not be a cause for concern. Many cats simply enjoy drinking water or, like many pets, they eat or drink mainly when you are around so it’s more noticeable.
However, dry cat food might mean they need to drink more water to make up for the lack of hydration within their food. If you’re still concerned and wonder if it's a bit excessive, trust your instincts and take them to the vet.
Most of the time, begging isn’t a cause for concern. Begging usually comes with the territory and they can be quite relentless! If you set boundaries, stick to a feeding schedule, and ignore the begging, you can successfully reduce or even stop the begging.
It’s hard to believe but it’s possible! You should note, however, if the begging has reached a concerning level. While an increased appetite is common in older cats, households with multiple cats, and active cats, it could also be a symptom of a medical issue.
Not to be confused with meowing, howling has a much deeper pitch. Some cats howl more than others, and if yours doesn't usually make this sound, it might be a sign that your fluffy kid needs to visit a veterinarian. Excessive howling can often be a good indicator that something is not right in the health department.
This can often be considered a cry of pain, and it is important to schedule an appointment with the vet right away to find the source of the pain and trouble before it gets problematic.
Suckling on Blankets
Some kittens and even adult cats like to bite and suckle on blankets. This behavior is used as a self-soothing strategy in cats and has the same function as you see in some children who suck on their thumbs.
When your pet feels distressed or anxious, they might start suckling on a blanket to help them calm down and feel better.
Do you find yourself reaching your hand out to stroke your cat, only for them to run away? Well, you're not alone! Your cat may be feeling stressed, which is why it may suddenly start to run away from you when you approach.
Cats can be stressed by a great number of things, such as changes in the household, new or moved furniture, or a new cat in the neighborhood.
Don't Touch Me!
Some cats despise being held and maybe you've noticed that specific cats are much less clingy than others. The number one reason that cats may refuse to be held is a lack of socialization.
Cats, like dogs, require intentional socialization activities when they are young in order to develop trust and become acclimated to the presence of humans. If yours isn't a fan of being held, there's a good chance it's because it wasn't properly socialized as a kitten.
When sick, some cats are usually more withdrawn and may like to hide, although this does depend on the personality of the individual cat. Some cats become more clingy or demand more attention, while others just become cranky.
But as a general rule, cats that are sick will have lower energy levels. So, if you notice a change in behavior like they suddenly are hiding away more and sleeping for longer periods of time, it could be cause for concern.