Why Does My Cat Do That: Odd Cat Behaviors
Everyone knows, either by instinct or experience, that if a cat's tail is fluffed and its back is arched to stay away! One encounter with a cat in this position would quickly teach you why we need to listen to the cat's body language.
Aside from the obvious postures, there are a lot of other expressions that a cat makes that are not as obvious and often dismissed as weird cat behavior. Due to the oddity of these creatures, we will never have all the answers. 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 husband is away on business? The truth is, I don't know. I know men better than I know cats, and that's not saying a lot! Fortunately, we do have answers to some of these odd behaviors about these lovable, temperamental creatures.
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 across any other object. 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 are marking you as their property. There are glands on the side of their mouth that leave 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 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!
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 indeed narcissistic, I do know that they do say more than that with their eyes.
Cats will often blink a couple of quick blinks when they enter a room. If they do this, it is their way of saying a friendly "hi." Have you ever looked at your cat, and the cat does a prolonged blink, it almost looks like he or she is tired? This slow, meaningful gesture is their way of affectionately saying, "I like you."
Supposedly, you can 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 mimic their little eye language.
Cats Speak through Their Ears
Ears Pointing Forward
Cats will point their ears forward when they find something interesting. If they are curious about 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 of a cat in this position.
"Nursing" and 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, which is an excellent sign, it means that the cat is pleased. The more content your cat is, the apter 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, which 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 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 my husband and me, although I have seen him do it to my daughter when she is not carrying him around.
Showing Its Belly
Showing its belly is probably the ultimate compliment from any cat. If they show their belly to you, not only do they want 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.
Flicking or Swishing Tail
Flicking or swishing of the tail 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
Curling of the tail in the shape of a fish hook 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.
We often associate purring with contentedness, which is not necessarily true.
Yes, it often does mean that — my husband's laid-back cat 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 it 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 genuinely 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 and usually 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 understand cats fully, but here are some aspects of "catspeak" that I do know.
My CatsClick thumbnail to view full-size
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Whenever I try to approach, or even simply pass by, my cat she avoids me. Then she comes near me and wants me to pet her when I’m laying down or sitting. What does it mean?
She probably feels intimidated when you are standing since you are so much bigger than her. Either that or it is actually you moving that intimidates her. She wants to come to you on her terms, not yours.Helpful 6
Why does my cat hug walls?
This question made me laugh as I pictured my own cat playful and running around the house. Then all the sudden it would stop and hug the corner of the wall in the hallway to the living room. Although I do not know if we could ever truly know the motives of a cat, I believe it is so they can keep an eye around both corners. This would not only protect them from an attack but also make them more alert for their own attack. Cats are so weird!Helpful 4
We have a litter of three kittens and we just move them into a bigger room. Two of the kittens are very playful now, but one just sits there the entire time till I come in there then he's playful. I'm concerned because back in the old room he would always be hyper, and now he won't eat any food. Is there something majorly wrong?
If you are at all concerned, you need to talk to the veterinarian. In the meantime, give the little kitten extra love. Encourage it to eat food, even if it means bringing it to its old room or giving it wet cat food.Helpful 3
Why does my cat stay in when I am out and go out when I am in?
It is possible that it feels it needs its own territory.Helpful 3
My cat will be completely normal just sitting and then out of nowhere will start chasing things around the room. When I look there is nothing there. Why is this?
Cats need a certain amount of "hunting" time per day. If they do not get this in their natural environment, then they will play "make-believe." They do this for practice, even if they do not need to because you feed them, plus they need to expend a certain amount of energy, otherwise they will get depressed.Helpful 2
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz