Cats are wonderful companions, but sometimes their behavior leaves us a little confused. The way they communicate and interact socially is different than dogs and is often misunderstood. Yet these quirky behaviors make us love them so much more.
To help you understand your furry friend better, here are some of those mysterious behaviors explained. As you will see, these strange behaviors are quite normal for cats.
Chattering at birds – the clacking sound your cat emits when watching birds fly by is thought to be pent up frustration due to their inability to go outside. Some believe the rapid jaw movement is your cat preparing its muscles for the act of killing prey.
Head bumps - when you cat bumps you with its head their saying "Hello, thanks for being here". They also share pheromones from their face while rubbing against you. Cat behaviorists call this "bunting".
Bringing you gifts – there are several theories as to why a cat does this. Some believe as a kitten, their mother may have brought them dead prey as food. Your kitty may be thanking you for feeding them or may just be sharing a good hunt.
Chewing on plastic or other materials – chewing on milk jug rings, wool blankets, plastic and carpeting may be a sign of a condition known as pica. Pica can develop from anxiety or gastrointestinal disorders. Similar to a persons’ nervous habits like biting their nails or twisting their hair, this is how some cats cope with their anxiety. Chewing on these types of items can cause problems with the cat’s gums and GI tract. This is one behavior that needs a vet consultation.
Kneading – the gentle massage you get when your kitty rhythmically presses their paws against you. Kittens start after birth when nursing by using their paws to stimulate milk flow from their mother. Some continue as they grow to express contentment, relieve anxiety and to mark you with their scent.
Love of boxes – the need to crawl in any open box no matter if it’s empty or not. Cats feel safer and more secure in smaller spaces. If they were in the wild, cats would seek out a small den so they are not exposed to predators. In your home, they mimic this behavior when they want to be left alone.
Failure to cover up their poop – leaving their waste uncovered could indicate more than one issue. It could be a sign of a urinary tract infection as well as an injured paw. Cats tend to avoid the litter box when in pain. See a vet if you think one of these could be the reason. If not a medical reason, your cat may simply not like the litter you are using or it may not be clean enough for them. Another reason could be the box is too small for them to turn around in. Adding additional litter boxes may help with some of these issues.
Night crying – we all know the nights we want to sleep and the cat starts meowing keeping us up. Cats are active night creatures. They like to hunt any insects or rodents in your home. Their loud yowling may be from frustration from missing or even elation if they succeeded. Providing toys and food puzzles during the day will help keep them entertained and less likely to feel the need to hunt at night.
These are just a few of the unusual behaviors cats express. There are many more that you have probably seen yourself. So when you are feeling unnerved by the cat staring at you, remember they are just speaking to you in one of their many unique ways.