Five Weird Cat Behaviors Explained
Cats do their own thing – everyone knows that. But most cats do some of these ‘things’ below and often there’s a plausible explanation.
You Kneaded Me
Kneading is when your cat presses his paws, often extending and retracting his claws, against you. This is a biological behavior that kittens use while suckling to stimulate milk flow. Since eating in the safety and warmth of their mother’s presence would usually have been a happy time in a kitten’s life, the kneading motion usually indicates a content cat.
The 5-second Rule?
We’ve all heard variations of the 5-second rule, which suggests it’s OK to eat food dropped on the floor it its picked up within 5 seconds. (For the record, this rule is a myth and germs from the floor can transfer instantly). Cats aren’t bothered with the 5-second rule because some cats will only eat their kibble off the floor!
Has your cat ever reached his paw into his food dish and pulled out some kibble, only to eat it off the floor? The likely reason for this behavior is that cats don’t like their whiskers to touch the sides of their bowl when they eat. A wider, shallower bowl may eliminate this behavior, but if it’s become a habit, your cat may eat off the floor for life.
Any Water is the Cat’s Water
Does your cat prefer to drink from the sink, the toilet or your water glass, rather than her own bowl? The good news is: it’s healthy for cats to consume water, no matter the source. The bad news is: if your cat drank first from the toilet and then your glass, you may want to get a fresh glass of water for yourself!
Working on their Night Moves
Every cat owner has been awoken in the middle of the night by a feline hello. Whether the cat is tearing around the living room like a herd of elephants, or meowing in your ear, cats like to prowl at night. Unfortunately this is another instinctive behavior for your cat, and not one you can likely correct. Historically, cats did prowl at night and sleep hidden away during daylight. Unless you’re on permanent night shift, the schedules of cats and humans are hopelessly at odds.
One approach that might work is ensuring your kitties have plenty of stimulating play in the evening. Basically, your have to tire them out before bed in order to have a more peaceful night. Try catnip toys or interactive activities like the “Plume Crazy” feather wand from Petlinks.
Cats are also known to “head butt” their pet parents on a regular basis. This is a greeting thought to stem from the way cats greet each other and show affection – by rubbing faces. It’s also likely your cat is marking you with the scent glands on her face. She’s declaring to the rest of the feline world that you are her property!
The Truly Unique
While most cats will display some of the behaviors listed at left, there are also many cat behaviors that are unique to only a handful of felines. Do your cats do something you’ve never heard of?
One of our cats never laps water out of a bowl like a normal feline. She dips her paw in the bowl and licks off the water.
~ Denis M.
My cat LOVES to be vacuumed! We have central vac and when Marley hears us bring out the hose, she appears from nowhere and flops in front of the brush, waiting to be vacuumed like it’s her personal spa treatment.
~ Leslie K.
When I walk upstairs, one of my cats will race past me, beating me to the landing, then “collapse” onto her side, hoping that I’ll rub her belly. Of course, I always do!
~ Aaron B.
My cat Cid communicates with me very clearly. If she wants to bring something odd to my attention, she’ll sit in front of it and look at me, then look at it, then look back at me. Usually, it’s an object that is out of place. She’s a very neat cat!
My cat prefers bananas over all other foods. Peeling a banana introduces him to the smell, then he goes nuts. He licks away at it (almost in a trance) until whatever portion we have left for him is gone.
~ Aaron J.
My two young cats, Sleeman and Muskoka, follow the lead of their ‘big sister,’ my Labrador Retriever. All three run to the door to greet us when we arrive home, then plop right onto their back for belly rubs.