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Why Does My Cat Do That: Odd Cat Behaviors

Updated on February 25, 2016
angela_michelle profile image

Having been a cat and dog lover her entire life, she has made special efforts to learn as much as she can about the animals she cares for.

Joined: 6 years agoFollowers: 939Articles: 191
My cat Polly.
My cat Polly. | Source

Everyone knows, either by instinct or experience, that if a cat has a fluffy tail and an arched back to stay away! If you don't, I can guarantee you will learn this on your first encounter with a cat in this position. Aside from the obvious postures, there are a lot of other expressions that a cat makes that are not as obvious. Cats communicate in many different ways that may be dismissed as weird cat behavior. Although due to the oddity of these creatures, not all answers will ever be known. For instance, why does my cat stare at blank walls for hours on end? Why does my cat chase "flies" that really aren't there? Why does my husband's cat only like me when he's hungry or when my husbands away on business? Truth is, I don't know. I know men better than I know cats, and that's not saying a lot! Well, here are some answers I do know of these lovable, temperamental creatures.

My Cat Polly


Self Petting

My cats are notorious for self petting. Instead of just standing still and letting me pet their silky manes, they run frantically back and forth under my hand, against my leg, or any other object so that way they are being petted. They will even head butt me if I am not petting them as frantically as they feel fit. Why would they do this?

Okay, I don't know, but I do know that if they rub against you with their cheek, they actually are marking you as their property. There are glands on the side of their mouth that leaves a scent. Essentially, if they are rubbing with the side of their face, they are saying, "You are my human.

If a cat self rubs with their whole body, they might be wanting to signify how important you are, by rubbing you with both of their scent glands. They actually have another scent gland on their tail. So if your cat is the kind that wraps around your entire body, he is making sure that other cats know that you are his property and not theirs!

Expressive Eyes

My cats seem to have a haughty air about them. If you look at him, he appears to be saying, "Yes, I know I'm better than you." Although, I am not one hundred percent sure my cat is not truly narcissistic, I do know that they actually do say more than that with their eyes.

Cats will often blink a couple quick blinks when they enter a room. If they do this, it is actually their way of saying a friendly "hi." Have you ever looked at your cat, and the cat does a very slow blink, it almost looks like he or she is tired? This slow meaningful gesture is their way of trying to be affectionate saying, "I like you."

Supposedly, you can actually talk back to your cat with your eyes. I have not yet tried it, as I always forget about it when I'm at home, but I've heard that cats become very responsive if you try to mimic their little eye language.

My Cat Mr. Nibbles


Cats Speak Through Their Ears

Ears pointing forward:

Cats will point their ears forward when they find something interesting. If they are curious what is happening or just like what they see, their ears will naturally point forward.

Ears pointing backward:

I have to giggle at my husband's cat when my daughter carries him around. His ears will be pointing backward, but he puts up with it. Sometimes I swear his eyes are looking at me saying, "Please put this embarrassing charade to an end." But I pretend not to notice. Cats are full of pride, they need to be humbled. I am fully aware that his ears are telling me he is annoyed. Cats will also do this if they are angry, so beware to a cat in this position.

An Accidental Bath


Acting Like Its Nursing or Kneading

My husband's cat loves to knead on him (he never does to anyone else). When my husband is home, he's on his lap, stretching out his paws just as a kitten would do during nursing. This is a very good sign, it means that the cat is truly happy. The more content your cat is, the more apt it will knead. My cat is more of an emotional creature and rarely does this unless she is very calm.

Licking and Soft Bites


Although my emotional cat rarely kneads she will lick you. If she crawls in bed with you after she thinks you should be up, she will spend several minutes licking you with her rough tongue until you either have found a way to make your covers cat proof or finally get out of bed. This is another form of affection. Both my cats will groom each other as they cuddle in their bed together. It's sweet.


My other cat, on the other hand, does not lick as often, but he will nibble on us. His name is actually Mr. Nibbles. Every morning when I go into the bathroom, even though Mr. Nibbles is my husband's cat, he will nibble my toes just as a way to say, "good morning." Rarely will he do this to anyone but me and my husband, although I have seen him do it to my daughter when she is not carrying him around.

Our Cat Tweeg


Showing Its Belly

This is probably the ultimate compliment from any cat. If they show their belly to you, not only are they wanting a soft scratch on their belly, but they are saying, "I trust you". In the wild, a cat will protect its stomach from any possible danger. It only reveals this vulnerable spot when it feels secure.

Talking Tails

Flicking or swishing tail:

This usually means they are annoyed, although if only the tip of the tail is flicking back and forth, it means they are somewhat playful and happy. If their tail is standing straight up, that means they are feeling very confident. Mr. Nibbles sometimes does this if my husband comes home from a business trip, it is also a sign of happiness.

Curling of the tail like a fish hook:

This is also another sign they are happy.

Tail Straight Down:

If the tail is straight down, beware! The cat wants to be left alone. My husband's cat runs away from me with his tail down if I ever sneeze or cough in his presence. I seriously think he is saying, "Don't disgrace me with your germs." He thinks a lot of himself.

Cat in the Cupboard



We often associate purring with contentedness. This is not necessarily true.

Yes, it often does mean that. In fact, my husband's cat who is generally laid back purrs much more and louder than my cat. My cat, on the other hand, is quite emotional and I believe she is rarely ever truly relaxed and content. Although on some occasions, she will purr a very soft quiet purr.

Other reasons a cat might purr is if they are ill. If a none vocal cat all the sudden is purring continuously and acting sluggish you may want to take him or her to the vet. Purring usually means extremes of feelings. They will purr if they are afraid, sick, or just plain happy!

Now, maybe I have been just lucky enough to get all the strange cats in the world in my lifetime, but I truly believe that cats are just odd creatures. They seem to have a superiority complex. They often are emotional. They choose a favorite human for no reason whatsoever $6, and often choose the person who is allergic to them, since that person appears to be the least threatening person in the room. I will never pretend to fully understand cats, but here are some aspects of catspeak that I do know.

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© 2010 Angela Michelle


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    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 5 months ago from United States

      If he is rubbing the side of his mouth then he is showing ownership of you.

    • angie 5 months ago

      Why does my cat when I pet him he puts his nose up against my leg?

    • Angelique Gettle 7 months ago

      EngineerReagan's response was great. More macho men should have a cat. They will get attached. I pictured the hide and seek game he mentioned. My cat does that too. Cat's are the best. But I love all animals.

    • HopeS. 8 months ago

      Sometimes my cat goes "brrt" when she runs and stuff;it's not an illness or anything, but it's common. I don't know what it is.

    • lopakatita2 8 months ago

      I have a 4 year old boy cat tabby short hair cat and all of a sudden he does not move I pick him up and he just lays down where you put him. I took him to the vet was charged $1000 for x-rays, blood test emergency walk in cost and colon cleanse. Results the vet can not find anything wrong with my cat internally and physically. Took him home and he still just lays down and don't move to eat and drink water so I bring to him. He gets up to poop and pee but he lays down instantly and it takes him forever to get to the litter pan. CAN SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSAND THIS?

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 13 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Angela. This describes both of my cats in so many levels and explains things. I've been curious on cat talk and cat language. Do you know why my cat Wiley loves to climb walls and my closet doors, or bang on them or caterwaul at night? Cute cat pics.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 16 months ago from United States

      I think you should let him do it, because really it only signals other cats. They also do that when they are pleased.

    • jayme 17 months ago

      I have a question. I know when your cat rubs on something its marking it saying I own this. but my cat rubs on EVERY corner or doorframe he can find. he's been rubbing on the edge of the big whicker basket that I have set up with a pillow in it & a blanket for a bed for my Chihuahua. he does it while she's laying there. I can't help but wonder if he's doing it to try to be the boss of the house. usually he'll rub against he edges of the wall under the counter where her basket is but its been on the basket lately. should I continue to chase him away when he does it or let him do it? I only ask cuz my Chihuahua does get a tad possessive over her bed. thanks!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 20 months ago from United States

      LOL, I have no idea. :) I think she likes your attention and wants you to admire her!

    • Sue 22 months ago

      every night our cat makes us follow her from room to room. She leads the way but isn't happy until we have been with her in every downstairs room. Sometimes then she will lead us into the kitchen and eat! Is this a territorial thing?

    • doni crouch 2 years ago

      My cat was observed talking back and forth with another cat who appeared on the porch while my cat was inside the patio door. Do you think he was warning the other cat.

    • Johnny 2 years ago

      I dont know why people have this silly idea that you can only be a cat or a dog person. They are both charming animals that for some reason find it easy to get along with human beings. Personally I've owned both cats and dogs and I love them both.

    • Apollo cat 2 years ago

      He grawls at my feet with his mouse toy in his mouth if I try to grab he hisses. Than drops it and what's for me to throw it chasing it down and bringing it back grawling the entire time. So strange

    • IJR112 profile image

      IJR112 2 years ago

      Cats are the best! I love how zany they can be. Good hub here. Cheers!

    • Vvitta profile image

      Kalai 2 years ago from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

      love this article. My cat does all these things and I love him to bits. The first photo of the cat looks almost like mine. Cute. Real cute.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 2 years ago from United States

      I would say, your cats are claiming ownership over the dogs. LOL. My cats do not mark my dogs, they aren't worthy of ownership I guess!

    • Rebecca Furtado profile image

      Rebecca Furtado 2 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      My cats mark the dogs. Are they claiming ownership? Love this hub.

    • Cristina 2 years ago

      My cat speaks weird language:

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 2 years ago from United States

      Honestly, I have no idea. I would call your vet.

    • Christina Moore 2 years ago

      I actually have a question. . My female cat chases anyone very aggressive away that comes near me and my son is mainly the target... anyone no why she is acting this way??? HELP!!!!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 2 years ago from United States

      Haha... cats are so silly sometimes!

    • Susana 2 years ago

      I believe my cat has been lying to me. I have caught him pretending not to like and eat a food and then eating it, when I'm not looking. Today he pretended to be scared of the kitten jumping on him and went hiding, then when I peeked my head out from the bathroom, I caught him relaxing on my bed with his paws hanging over, watching the kitten play below him.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my cat pretends that she is invisible when she is at the top cupboard which she is not supposed to be.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 3 years ago from United States

      Haha, my husband has found himself to be the same. It makes me giggle.

    • engineereagan 3 years ago

      I have to say, I was one of those men that hated cats and considered it a useless animal. This was until a year ago my wife seen a kitten at petsmart, and apparently they made a connection. So I didn't like cats, but I like being married to my wife and I caved lol. My cat has apparently chosen me now, she loves for me to carry Bret around on my shoulder, climbs on the back of the recliner to get her morning rubbings as I call it, we actually play hide and seek around the corner of the hallway. She'll slowly peek around like she is stalking her prey, then when I get close boom she jumps out scares me then find and hide for me to do the same to her. Haha I couldn't imagine my life without her now. Looking at me yes I get teased being 6'3" 230lbs weight lifter with my cat hahaha I do not care, because she is awesome!

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Great cat pics, btw!

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Cats are subtle. You he to be a true animal lover to love cats. Thank you for the insight you provide into cat behavior. Voted up!

    • lisaareid 3 years ago

      love both my babies cat and dog. I really enjoy this hub page and can totally relate to some of the habits you talk about. I get up to go to the bathroom at least once per night. my cat is a total nocturnal mouser. as soon as I get up she runs in and rubs her entire body against my leg as if to mark me so no mice will get near me if there is ever one around. I am so glad she does that - I am terrified of mice. also have a left leg that gets really sore some days. she always seems to know and gets on my leg and starts kneeding away in just the right spot. I have no idea how she figures that one out, but love her for it. :o)

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This is a wonderful hub. I have dogs, but my mom has a cat so when I visit, hers not only rolls over and exposes its belly but it does rub it's cheeks and nose against my face. I am happy to know that he likes me. :) Thanks for posting!

    • BENNY8877 profile image

      Benny 3 years ago from Canada

      I love it. Cats get such a bad rap, especially from males- most of my friends make fun of me because I own a cat (I'm male).

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you. I can see why a dog's yawn might mean that.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Angela, This was an interesting. Animals can be strange at time. I've heard if a dog yawns it means he is being friendly or submissive. Also not to pet a strange dog on the head because to him it is an aggressive move. Like I said, animals are strange. I pinned this one.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 4 years ago from United States

      The eye thing actually works with one of my cats, but I have never been able to get a response from the other one. Who knows? But the cat it does not work with, is much more emotional, and less in tune with us humans.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very enjoyable hub, with lovely pictures! I recognize many of the behaviors that you've described because my three cats do the same things. It was interesting to read that you've heard that we can "talk back" to our cats with our eyes and they will respond. I found that this worked with one of my previous cats. I used to slowly close my eyes at him, and he would close his eyes back at me. Thank you for all the useful information.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 4 years ago from United States

      My personal favorite cat picture is the last one. LOL... I can't believe she allowed my daughter to do that!

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 4 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      I don't know which I loved best about this hub-- the text or the photos! Thanks for the chuckles. Cats really are odd creatures! ;)

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 5 years ago from United States

      I'm sorry you lost your home, I'm glad that you have company though. :) We also just lost a cat.

    • dejahoo profile image

      dejahoo 5 years ago from Georgetown, TX

      Great article. I like cats and recently lost one that was 18 years old. She lived outside all her life but her name fit "sweetie" and lived up to her name. Her sister "stinky" had a totally different personality from birth. Now, I just have a dog and was encouraged to give her away when I lost my home but saw the short clip "God and dog" and decided that I was not about to abandon her just because of inconvenience. Thanks again. I'm still trying to figure her out but I'll keep trying.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 5 years ago from United States

      Cats are so hilarious!!! Mine does the same thing!

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 6 years ago from Chicago IL

      I loved reading this article! It's all so true. My cat likes to lick my nose, it's the funniest thing!!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Pamela, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I think it would have been adorable to watch two cats run linked at the tail. It kind of makes me think of the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp! "We are Siamese if you please. We are Siamese if YOU don't please!"

      i think my cat had a hard time after my dog died when I was in college. When my parents got a new puppy, I think she was ticked off. She's finally starting to come around, it's been eight years.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Bayoulady!!! LOL, I'm glad to hear that you discovered the cat is not out to trip you. Sadly, despite how cute cats are, they are not as smart as people give them credit. :) Just don't let my husband know I said that.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I enjoyed this very much. I learned a lot. And I didn't know that cats have a scent gland on their tail. That is interesting. Two of my favorite feral cats, two brothers, used to walk side by side with their tails wound around each other when I arrived each evening to feed them. They would also be continuously touching forehead to forehead and temple to temple. I see now that they must have been marking each other.

      They loved each other a lot. One got run over. The other is doing okay now, but it took awhile.

      Thanks for a great hub.

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      I live next door to my mother and her cat Miss Blue thinks she belongs to me ,too. She is usually waiting close to the door when I go every morning to drink coffee with Mama as if to say, "Here let me show you the way." She weaves in and out of my legs. I needed to read this! Instead of trying to trip me, I see that she is marking me!

      You have a new fan....I just took clicked follow!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Awwww, that's really sweet. I had a cat that used to be like that. My one cat used to be like that, but only towards a select few. When we bought our second cat, he's more independent now. But he likes to snuggle with our other cat often when he sleeps.

    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 6 years ago from kentucky

      very nice hub with some cute and usueful info on cats. My cat Baylin is what we call an attention whore lol he loves pretty much anyone and everyone. i oftan wake up to him sleeping beside me after my boyfriend leavs for work.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks Dallas!!! I appreciate you stopping by. Good luck on your trying to herd cats. LOL

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Mentalist, that's kind of funny. My daughter treats my cats like baby dolls, and my husband, well, let's just say he has fun with the cats. Oddly enough they adore him, and not big fan of me.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      KFlippin, all I know is cats are territorial and creatures of habits, and well odd. So I don't really have a good answer for you.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Cats R US.. I have tried to herd my cats. To no avail. Perhaps I may try your suggestions to understand them. Another great hub.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Haha,with myself and three brothers the cats in our house were treated basicaly like a dog and turned out a little ferral...

    • KFlippin profile image

      KFlippin 6 years ago from Amazon

      Interesting! Now I'm going to try and analyze my cats, in all seriousness :). Any ideas why one of my cats hides in the house every day, picks new weird spots every few days? And literally refuses to give them up whether I think he should stay sleeping in a sink, for example, all day or not!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      David, My husband is always calling their behavior catsonalities as well. It cracks me up. They really are smarter than we give them credit for. :)

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      Nice. The varieties in cat behavior, the distinct personalities (catsonalities) say a lot about how smart, aware and evolved they really are.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much. And I am so glad to see there are so many cat lovers out there. :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I adore cats and this was a very enjoyable hub.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks Daisyjay, my husband is somewhat obsessed with our cats. LOL> We have lots of pictures of them. You'll have to tell me if you notice anything. I've seen them do it before, but I have not yet gotten a chance to do it back yet. As we speak my cat is talking to me as she cleans my arm.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Valerie, yes, cats are such weird animals. Things for the kudos. Personally I get irritated by the head butting thing. LOL>

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Samsons, I agree with you with the exception of the litter box. I really wish that there was an easier way than having a litter box. LOL>

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

      Interesting hub. I will have to see if my cats blink next time I see them. Super cute pictures too.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle 6 years ago from United States

      Suziecat, I agree with you one hundred percent. I've grown up with cats and am quite attached. They bring for much humor in our lives. :)

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Great hub article. My cat, Fluffy, does the self petting thing, and also the head butting thing. I recognized my own three darlings in this hub. Many thinks. Voting you up, useful, and funny. (:v

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

      great hub - have a dog now, but before I had two cats, extremely clean animals...

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Cats really are incredible - I have a few of those little rascals around myself. Great Hub.

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