Cats will forever be the ruler of the house, regardless if you have a dog or not. They are both fun and vicious, loveable and mess makers, cute and so, so moody. If you could know what your cat was thinking, would that be helpful? Why is your cat doing that? What is she trying to say? These wonderfully weird cat behaviors will make you fall in love with your furry housemate all over again. Here are 20 cat behaviors explained once and for all.
1. Scratching furniture
A cat will scratch your furniture to mark its territory and to stretch the muscles. A scratching post will help redirect this behavior. Go for one that is big enough for your cat while also merging well with your home aesthetic.
When a cat kneads or “makes biscuits” with its paws, it’s a sign that they are content and relaxed. It’s a behavior that kittens learn when nursing from their mother in order to stimulate her milk flow so it’s a throwback to that comforting time.
3. Sitting in boxes
This is a popular behavior amongst cats of all ages, their love of boxes is widely known. It’s a combination of feeling safe and secure in an enclosed space and the fact that they like to hide and observe their environment #IfItFitsISits
4. Chattering and chirping
If a cat chatters its teeth or makes a clicking noise it’s usually because they’re excited about something they’re seeing outside, like a bird or squirrel. It’s an instinctual behavior aka that is when their natural hunting skills kick in. They also do this at the sight of a new toy.
5. Bringing gifts
When a cat brings you a mouse or bird – dead or not – it’s gross, it causes a lot of headaches and sometimes they leave you to hunt that thing and get it out of the house. But this is their way of showing affection or to get you to learn how to hunt. They consider you a part of their family so they spare no expense.
6. Licking and grooming
Cats are fastidious animals and spend 30-50% of their time grooming themselves. The main purpose for this is so they can keep the fur clean and get rid of loose hairs, mats, tangles and to some extent, even parasites.
Cats purr when they’re happy and content, meaning every time you’re petting her or when she feels happy. They may also purr when they’re stressed or in pain as a way to self-soothe or to catch your attention so if your cat is purring more than it should, make sure she’s not signaling for help.
8. Kicking with hind legs
When a cat is playing or wrestling, they may kick with their hind legs as a way to defend themselves or gain the upper hand. She will also do this if she’s feeling defensive or is in a full fighting mood.
Cats stare to communicate with other cats or to get your attention. They will also stare at birds or other prey as they plan their attack. Cats will sometimes stare into space or at a blank wall for long periods of time. It’s thought to be a way to entertain themselves or focus their attention on something that humans can’t see. If your cat stares at you for what feels like forever that’s her way of signaling you have a strong bond.
Hissing is a sign that a cat is feeling threatened, mistreated, provoked, unsafe, uncomfortable or scared. It’s a way to warn potential predators or other animals to stay away. Best way to calm a hissing cat is by simply giving her space, just step back and let her be.
When a cat head-butts you or rubs its head against your leg, it’s a sign of affection and bonding. Cats have scent glands on their cheeks, chin and top of their head and they use this behavior to mark their territory and show affection.
Cats sometimes experience a sudden burst of energy and run around the house at high speed, known as the “zoomies.” It’s thought to be a way to release pent-up energy and is common in younger cats as they have way more energy to burn.
13. Bouncing off the walls
Well, it’s all about their natural instinct to play and hunt. When cats are feeling playful or energetic, they may start running and jumping around the room, leaping from furniture to furniture, and even bouncing off the walls in excitement. Just like getting the “zoomies”, this is more frequent in younger cats.
14. Squinted or half-closed eyes
Both are a sign of affection and trust. It means your cat feels safe when she’s around you. So if you’re grooming, petting, kissing or just playing with your cat she might suddenly close both her eyes to enjoy the moment. Or she could be tired out and about to sleep.
Cats sometimes grind their teeth or make a chattering sound known as bruxing. This is more of a health issue, in most cases being triggered by dental or gastrointestinal disorders. This will see your cat moving its jaw from one side to another or up and down.
16. Licking plastic bags
Some cats have a weird obsession with licking plastic bags. It’s thought to be a combination of the texture and smell of the plastic, and it’s not harmful unless the cat ingests small pieces.
Staying on the same subject, some cats have a compulsion to eat non-food items, such as plastic, paper, or clothing. This behavior is known as pica and can be dangerous if the cat ingests something harmful. Possible causes include being weaned too young, genetics, boredom, separation anxiety, compulsive disorder, stress or a bad, incomplete diet. Most cats grow out of it by 1-2 years of age but for some it’s a lifelong activity.
18. Knocking things off surfaces
Cats will sometimes knock things off surfaces like tables or shelves. It’s thought to be a way to get their owner’s attention or simply for entertainment. It’s an annoying and sometimes expensive hobby and if you’ve got the short end of the stick she will love to do it way more often than usual.
19. Following their owners to the bathroom
Many cats have a strange habit of following their owners to the bathroom. They do this because they feel a sense of security and want to keep an eye on their owner while they’re vulnerable.
20. Licking and nibbling their owner’s hair
Some cats have a weird habit of licking and nibbling their owner’s hair. It’s both a form of grooming and bonding while also getting your attention which she hopes might translate to extra cuddles and snacks.
Some cats will wrap their paws around their owner’s neck or arm and hug them. It’s a sign of affection and trust and it’s so darn cute!
22. Drinking from strange places
Cats are known for their love of fresh water, but they sometimes prefer to drink from strange places like the faucet or toilet bowl. This signals their preference for running water and may be related to their natural instincts to hunt.
23. The “elevator butt” pose
This is a behavior commonly seen in cats when they are feeling playful or excited. When a cat is in this state, she may arch its back, raise its behind and lift its tail, creating a posture that resembles an elevator going up and down. It may also be a sign of aggression or arousal in some cats
Cats will often touch noses with other cats or their owners as a sign of affection and greeting. It’s their way of saying “hello.”
Cats are real weirdos and we love them for that. These are just some of the weird cat behaviors that make these furballs a never ending source of joy and entertainment. However, if your cat is obsessively displaying one of these behaviors or a different one you may want to check with your vet, just to be on the same side. We hope you have enjoyed these cat behaviors explained in simple terms and hopefully they’ll help next time your cat does one of these.
Want even more cats? Why not check out these list of weird cat names? There are a few quirky ones in there…
Why is my cat biting me?
Cats are labeled as the “cranky” pet but in reality there’s always a reason for their actions. She might feel uneasy, stressed or even sick.
Why is my cat weird at night?
A lot of people are surprised when they see their cats waking up in the middle of the night to eat or to play. That’s because cats are crepuscular, their inner clock tells them to wake up to do stuff.
Why is my cat always sleeping?
Cats usually sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. This is their way of saving energy to play with you or to wreak havoc around the house.