Why Does My Cat Do That? Explaining Common Feline Behavior

Cute cat in a boxIf you’ve ever had the pleasure of streaming funny cat videos, or scanning the latest on sites like cheezburger, you know well the power of feline behavior. Some experts think the reasons why funny cat videos are so amusing to us lie in the fact that cats are either unaware of the camera, or just don’t care (does this sound like a cat you know?). However, just because there is so much online coverage of funny feline antics, it doesn’t necessarily mean people understand why cats have certain quirks.

Entertaining? Oh, yes. Illuminating? Maybe… Let’s delve into the age-old question, “ why does my cat do that!?”

Feline Behavior

Since our natural circadian rhythms differ drastically, it’s downright astonishing that the relationship between humans and cats evolved to the point where we unabashedly adore our feline friends. Previously kept near human settlements for rodent control, cats now lead the pack as the number one kept pet in America, and their fierce independence, ability to amuse,  and purring affection secures a place in our homes.

Kittens develop an acceptance for – or an aversion to – certain stimuli or handling in the first seven weeks of life. Exposure to other animals, unrelated cats, or children lead to a cat’s overall culture, and feline behavior stems from those normal (or not so normal) experiences.

What Does It Mean?

  • “Kneading” Paws – This sweet feline behavior is connected to your cat’s memory of nursing from his or her mother. Known as milk-treading, your cat does this when he or she feels happy, satisfied, or wants to find a cozy spot to curl up in (read: your lap).
  • The 4-Paw Hug/Attack or Battle On Your Ankles – Your cat is a natural hunter and this becomes obvious during play (even if you aren’t aware that you’re “playing”). While getting your blood drawn by razor-sharp claws or fangs may not be your idea of fun, your cat most likely means no harm.
  • Chirping – One of our favorite quirks, cat chirping typically occurs when a cat locks in on prey. It’s a natural reflex and your cat absolutely must do it at the window when a bird is just on the other side.
  • Loud Meow-ling – Cat owners are affected by a pet cat’s nocturnal drive to hunt and prowl, and it’s not uncommon to hear repetitive “let me outside now” meows around midnight.
  • Elevator Butt – Sure, not every cat enjoys being scratched or rubbed along the spine, but many cats absolutely adore it. If your cat raises his or her butt in the air, you’ve probably just hit that sweet spot (usually at the base of the tail).  
  • Snoozing On Your Stuff – From your laundry basket to your laptop (and lap), your cat feels safe and secure when close to you, and your stuff.
  • Protect The Belly – Really, there are few places as soft and comfy as a cat’s tummy, and a cat will typically go to great lengths to protect that furry spot. However, if a cat shows you his or her belly, it’s a sign that you are trusted.
  • The Flehmen Response – Has your cat ever smelled something funky and, to show his or her distaste or confusion, raises the front lip into a pseudo-snarl? Lots of animals share this natural reflex, and even though it sure can look odd, it’s perfectly normal (and, let’s just say it: it’s funny and super cute!).

Getting To The Bottom Of Feline Behavior

There are countless quirks unique to our feline friends, and the above list is really just a tip of the iceberg. Cats keep us guessing – and laughing – everyday, and with the millions of hits on Youtube, we know we’re not alone. If you have any questions about our list of favorite feline behaviors, we hope you’ll contact us.