Weird Cat Behaviours and What They Mean
Updated: Mar 31
Number one - Chattering.
Chattering is something you may or may not have heard your cat do before. They emit fast and intense teeth chattering and this usually happens when they spot a prey animal outside while they’re sat at the window. Cat behaviourists have speculated that this happens due to the frustration of not being able to get outside to hunt that prey. It also may mean that they’re excited and a little bit aggravated.
Others say that this strange jaw movement may be your kitty’s natural instinct that allows their muscles to prepare for the act of killing prey. Either way, it’s just because they see something potentially delicious and fun hunting play things and this behavior is completely normal for your feline.
Number Two - Rubbing
If you’ve got a cat, chances are you know about this already. When your cat comes over and rubs up against your leg while you’re trying to watch tv, sure they might want your attention and one of your finest back scratches, but they’re also bunting. Bunting is where cats release pheromones from their heads, around the cheeks and chin region. It’s how they show ownership of you. Probably not in a “Muhahah, you’re mine now human” way, but more in a “Hey any cat that can smell this, this is my human and they’re taken, back off”. They’re showing pride that you are excellent and their lives are the ones that you bless, nobody else's.
Number Three - Sharing the feast
There’s a couple of reasons that may be behind this. The first is that your cat is bringing you dead, or mostly dead animals, which we percieve as gross and distressing, because you’re a member of that cats group, and they’re just sharing their successful hunts with you, like you share your successful Tesco/Asda/Walmart (other stores are available) hunt success with your cat. Or, they could love the attention they get when you freak out over the dead animal and want more attention.
It is gross though, but cat’s are natural predators so a hunter’s gonna hunt. However, you can reduce the amount of dead wildlife in your life by giving your cat a collar with a bell on. Cat’s hunt their prey by jumping on them in one swift go, so by giving them a little bell that rings when they move it will alert the prey that something’s coming and they’ll run or fly off.
Number Three - Eating Things that isn’t food
Does your furry little friend enjoy chewing on non-edible items such as wools, cloth, inedible plants, plastic, or metal? This could be a sign of a rare condition in cats called pica (Humans get this too!). Often the cause of this is unknown; however, some proposed reasons include mineral deficiencies, anemia, hyperthyroidism, genetics, boredom, and stress. If your cat is showing symptoms of pica, it is time to have a full examination by a veterinarian in order to rule out any underlying problems.
There could be a quick solution for it so it's best to check. Treatment may include dietary adjustments, placing bitterant sprays on the chewed objects so they become less appealing, providing multiple small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals, and finally providing stimulation through games, social interaction, and alternative chews.
Number 5 - Tummy pressing
For the most part, cat’s are independant. They’d rather continue their nap on your bed than run to the door when you come home. But every now and then you’ll be sat watching TV and they’ll come over, rub against your leg, jump up on you and start pressing their paws into you. When your cat’s kneading you like this, almost like they’re giving you a massage, it’s actually a really cute behaviour that goes back to their earliest days of life. Just after birth, when they were trying to feed, they’d gently knead they mum in order to encourage better milk production. When your adult cat does this to you it’s either because they’re content and want to show they’re happy or they’re trying to rid themselves of stress and this habit is one they have to calm down. Either way, you remind your cat of their mum, and that’s pretty cute.
Number 6 - The Legendary “If I Fits, I Sits”
You love your cat, you want them to be comfortable and to have a great life. This is why you buy them nice food, buy them nice toys and buy them a really comfortable looking bed for them to lay on. And your cat loves these, they’re the best thing in the world. Until you get a parcel delivered. Then that box is no longer yours. Cat’s ability to fit themselves “comfortably” into tight spaces never ceases to amaze, or entertain us for that matter.
There are plenty of comfy places they could rest instead, like say that cat bed you purchased them. So why do they choose to curl up in boxes, bathroom sinks, small baskets, or even a new glass vase.
Cats do this because like infants and toddlers, small spaces make your cat feel safe and secure. If they were out in the wild, they would not want to be unprotected in an open area because this would make them more susceptible to predators. Felines also have a natural instinct to ambush. By hiding in small tiny spaces they are able to watch and observe their surroundings from a distance.
Number 7 - Cat eyes
This is more like a few numbers all crammed into one section. Firstly, the cat staredown. We recommend not looking your cat directly in the eyes - they see this as an act of aggression in preparation for a fight. Although, if your cat is staring at you it may be that they need your attention and can’t vocalise it - it may be that they’re on high alert about someone or a situation, maybe there’s some prey outside they want help with ambushing.
Next, the kitty blinks. Have you ever noticed you’ll look at your cat and they’ll slowly blink at you? Behaviourists call this act “kitty kisses” and it’s their way of telling you that they like you and that they trust in you. It’s an act of affection. In fact you can even do it back to them, and they’ll slowly blink back.
So sometimes you’ll get stared at, other times you’ll get blinked at. Other times you couldn’t get him to look at you if your life depended on it. Just like humans, cats appreciate alone time. When he needs some quiet solitude, give him his space. This will strengthen his respect for you and don’t worry- he will seek you out when it’s cuddle time for some of those sweet, sweet tummy kneads!
Number 8 - Avoiding the kitty litter.
Urinating or defecating outside the litter box, known as inappropriate elimination, is the most common behavioral complaint of cat owners. Understanding the underlying causes of this condition—and how to treat them appropriately—can help ease the frustration and rebuild the bond between cat lovers and their feline friends.
Inappropriate elimination can be caused by medical or behavioral issues. Medical causes commonly include:
· Bladder and urinary tract conditions, such as cystitis, infection, bladder stones or urethral obstruction (inappropriate urination)
· Colitis, constipation or anal sac disease (inappropriate defecation)
· Pain or discomfort, including arthritis or other conditions affecting the nerves, muscles or joints
Behavioral causes commonly include:
· Stress or anxiety due to other pets or changes in the household (moving, the birth of a child, visitors, etc.)
· Box, litter, location and maintenance preferences
The first step in finding a cause for inappropriate elimination is to see a veterinarian. While many cat owners believe their feline friends are “misbehaving” when they urinate or defecate outside the litter box, more often than not, the cat is simply trying to avoid a painful trip to the litter box. For more information about inappropriate elimination, you can read more here.
Number 9 - Midnight Zoomies
You’ve just got into bed after a long day at work. You stretch out in your bed and let out a yawn, finally it’s bed time, and everything’s quiet. That is until your cute little fur ball turns into a manic speed machine fueled by chaos and only has one speed - fast. Why? Why bed time?
For the most part, cats will spend the afternoon laying in the sun catching up on sleep from the previous night’s zoomies. They build up an enormous amount of energy and this needs to be released all in one go right this second.
This also coincides with their natural instincts to hunt during nocturnal hours to catch sleeping prey. To combat this, exercise them during the day as much as you can. If you need to flick that little cotton mouse fishing rod toy at them for half an hour then do it. They’ll have no energy left to sprint around at night. Another option is to feed them right before bed - this way it might stop that instinct to hunt tasty things at bed time hours. If your excessively vocal cat is a senior, this could signify a serious, yet treatable condition. We recommend that you book an appointment with your vet if this is the case.
Number 10 - Alert ears
If you notice that your feline’s ears are twitching back and forth- it’s time to slowly back up. This is one way that they express anxiety or agitation. However, if their ears are just slightly pointed upright, this means that they are alert and simply listening intently to their surroundings.
Number 11 - Rolling Around
Rolling around on their back leaves them in a vulnerable position, so if your cat is doing this in front of you- take it as a compliment! They feel safe around you and you have earned their trust. A roll on the floor means that they are trying to engage you in a little play time. Go in for a tummy scratch!
Number 12 - that’s a nice laptop there, it’d be a shame if someone laid on it!
Magazines, laptops, books, clothes you’ve laid out, you name it- your cat loves to lay on it at the exact time that you’re using it. Your kitty knows if he plops himself down on whatever you’re paying attention to- chances are, he will get some affection. He is also leaving his scent on your belongings, as a way to claim his territory that you are indeed his.
Number 13 - Testing gravity, repeatedly.
For no apparent reason, your cat randomly starts batting things off of the table, and calmly watches it fall to floor. This can be a rather frustrating antic as a cat owner- but your kitty is not just trying to aggravate you, we promise. You know what they say about cats and curiosity, well it is as simple as that- he is just curious and potentially bored! Although this is entertaining for him, you may want to try stimulating him with some new toys if you’d like to curb this naughty habit.