Ever since the time of ancient Egypt, cats have confused humans. Understanding our feline friends is high on our priority list. (Check out our article on kitty communication.) Continuing with the theme of gaining a better understanding of our pets, we're going to explain 10 weird cat behaviors, which should increase our fluency in “cat.”
Why Do Cats Like Baskets and Boxes?
Recently, I was sitting at our kitchen island pecking away at my laptop, and something caught my eye. I spotted my kitty, Sydney, in the dog toy basket.
That's right, I said "dog toy basket." Without cat toys. She's never sat in this basket before, but it's common knowledge cats like to sit in baskets or empty boxes for no reason. Most pet supply companies (including Small Pet Select) know how much our customers LOVE our boxes and encourage capturing the love and sharing it with us. As this unique activity definitely falls into the unusual cat behavior category, I had to do some major research as to why cats do this.
Evidently, the reasoning is two-fold and based on instinct. Cats seek out confined spaces like backpacks, suitcases, and bags as they simulate confined spaces in the wild. In the wild, a cat seeking out a confined space isn't a weird behavior. In fact, these areas allow the animals to hide from predators and stalk prey.
How does this translate to domestic kitty life? Cats like boxes because they are cryptic animals; they like to hide," Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told Business Insider." And a box gives them a place of safety and security."
While inside a box, nothing can surprise kitty. Anything that wants to approach them must come directly into their field of vision. In short, they watch the world in secret. And while they're watching, if they see something interesting (in Syd's case FOOD), they quickly hop out of their basket to retrieve it. In short, humans learned to be stalkers from cats. It's not our fault we emulate their crazy behavior.
Why Do Cats Like to Sit on Things?
While that was Syddie's first foray into basket sitting, our other cat LOVES to sit ON things, which is another weird cat behavior. In fact, the higher the object, the better. After we get the mail and put it on the kitchen island mentioned above, Golden immediately sits on top of it waiting for dinner. If I did a little online shopping and stacked those boxes, guess who's on top of those? Or my closed laptop/iPad? You guessed it.
It's widely accepted that cats perceive themselves as royalty, hence the makeshift thrones, but really, what's the thought process that causes them to sit on things? Just like everything else about cats, there's not a simple answer. Unbelievably, there are three purposes to this weird cat behavior.
- Because it smells like you. Like many creatures, a cats' sense of smell guides them. If something smells like you, they like to be near it because it makes them feel safe and happy. According to I Heart Cats, cats' sense of smell is 40 times stronger than that of a human being, but not as strong as their canine friends'. For more on that, check out our article about a dog's sense of smell.
- The thing is warm. This explains why my laptop is a popular sitting spot. I thought Golden was trying to annoy me by getting her fur to stick to my screen. It's really because cats like to maintain their internal body temperature of 102F degrees/39C and sitting somewhere warm makes it easy to stay toasty.
- It's a turf war! Cats like to sit on your stuff because they want to mark their territory with pheromones. Well, preferably pheromones and not pee (yes, this is a thing). When they hang out on your stuff, they transfer their pheromones, located on their adorable faces and paws, to that thing, it becomes "theirs."
Why Do Cats Like to Rub on Things?
We partially addressed this unique feline behavior, however, rubbing on things isn't just about saying "MINE." It's also about showing affection. We've all heard the saying "cats have staff," but if your cat rubs up against you, she's showing love for her staff too!
Why Do Cats Like to Bonk Their Head Against Your Leg?
Did you know bunnies are not the only head bonkers of the world? Cats do it too! Related to your cat showing affection by rubbing against you, head rubbing is a behavior cats learn as kittens with their mother, according to Dr. Jill E. Sackman, senior medical director for BluePearl Veterinary Partners' Michigan Region. It's a loving gesture that's also a greeting, she says. We give four paws up for this weird cat behavior.
Why Do Cats Stare at You?
Again, there's nothing straightforward in the explanation about this kitty quirk. This is another two-part explanation. Maybe we need a flow chart:
If you learn one thing from this article, it is there's nothing simple about any cat behavior.
Why Do Cats Knead or "Make Biscuits?"
If your cat is like Sydney, they love to hang out in the kitchen. You might think it's to learn how to perfect their bread-baking, but you're wrong. When your feline kneads on you, it means it reminds them of their Mommy. Kittens push on their mothers' mammary glands to encourage milk production. If your cat continues this behavior as an adult, they're sharing their contentedness with you, or they're anxious and need some love, but either way, they need their pawrent.
Why Do Cats Howl and do the Kitty 500 When We're Trying to Sleep?
Being the excellent pawrents we are, when kitty sleeps about 15 hours per day, we let them catnap. Conversely, our sleep gets interrupted by howling. While this perplexing cat behavior seems rude, your cat is full of energy after being in repose. Additionally, in the wild, cats hunt at night, so this behavior is instinctual. Other than investing in earplugs, an alternative is to play with your cat before you go to sleep or leave toys out to keep your fun-loving feline occupied.
Why Do Cats Knock Things Onto the Floor?
Oftentimes, your cat randomly bats things off of the table and calmly watches it fall to the floor. This can be rather frustrating, but kitty is not exacting revenge on your possessions.
Cats are curious, so after they wonder, "What happens if I do this?," they find out! Additionally, your fave feline may be trying to get your attention if they're bored. Not to worry, we have boredom remedies… check out our toy line.
Why Do Cats Bring "Gifts?"
You just shopped for kitty, so why can't they return the favor? Depending on the "gift," you may be completely grossed out. However, in cat-speak, this is huge as they're acknowledging you're a member of their tribe. They're also thanking you for taking care of them. To make the "gifts" more palatable to humans and increase the chances they'll bring you a toy instead, consider putting a breakaway collar with a bell on kitty.
Why Do Cats Roll on the Floor?
I often find Golden flopped…
Isn’t she cute? While it may look like they’re trying to reinforce their cuteness, a cat showing their tummy is submissive behavior. By laying in this position, they’re showing they trust you while in a vulnerable state outside of their confined space (see behavior #1). Your fun-loving feline may also want to you to play with them, so go grab some kitty toys!
Do you feel more fluent in "cat" now? Does your pet exhibit other weird cat behaviors? We'd love to hear all about it, so please share posts on our socials or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.