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10 Odd Cat Behaviors Explained

funny cat behaving oddly

Cats are curious animals. While they make great companions, a lot of what our feline friends get up to can seem outright bizarre at times. Often though, there’s a good explanation for why cats behave the way they do.

Learning why cats act the way they do can help us have a better and more understanding relationship with our furry companions. So, here are ten strange cat behaviors explained.

Rolling

cat rolling around on its back

Does your cat like to roll on its back and show you its belly? Then congrats, your cat is showing you the ultimate display of trust and companionship. A cat’s underside is its most vulnerable area, so for a cat to leave it exposed means it must feel safe and secure around you.

Unfortunately, people often mistake this behavior as an invitation for belly rubs, something very few cats enjoy. Instead, a little scratch behind the ear or a simple acknowledgment is often a better way to show your cat some affection back.

Kneading

Why do adult cats like to knead things with their paws, especially when it comes to their owners?

Many cats start kneading as kittens to induce milk from their mothers during the nursing phase and continue to imitate this action throughout their lives. One explanation is that this has a self-soothing effect for cats, but it’s also theorized that kneading is a sign of love and comfort.

So, if your cat starts kneading on you, take it as a compliment! Just be sure to safely trim their claws down to avoid any accidental injury.

Sitting on your Laptop

cat sitting on laptop

You’re trying to get some work done on your laptop when suddenly your cat, who has ignored you all day, decides it suddenly needs to be the center of attention and places itself between you and your work. What gives?

Cats are sly and clever creatures, and they can tell when your attention is drawn to something, and they know that sitting on that thing is a sure-fire way to get attention themselves.

Slow Blinking

As a general rule, cats don’t much care for direct eye contact, especially from strangers, as they often interpret staring as a sign of aggression. However, now and then, you might notice your feline friend giving you a slow blink.

Sometimes referred to as “kitty kisses,” slow blinks are a cat’s way of showing trust and friendship. So next time you notice a cat blinking at you, try giving them a slow blink back; they might appreciate it.

Running Around Late at Night

Every cat owner knows what it’s like to be woken up at 2 am to the sound of their cat barrelling down the hallway or howling out a not-so-melodic tune. Cat’s are somewhat nocturnal by nature. As a result, they often spend much of the day lounging around before their instincts to hunt kick in during the late hours.

While it’s perfectly natural for your kitty to be active late at night, it can wreak havoc on your sleep. Playing with your cat during the day to release energy and providing toys and food puzzles can be a great way to help prevent your cat from keeping you up.

Rubbing

You probably know that cats rub against items like furniture to mark their scent. What you might not know is that when a cat rubs against you, it’s not just a sign of affection. They’re also marking you the exact same way.

When your cat rubs its head on you, it’s actually doing something called “bunting,” which releases pheromones from its head. So, to put it one way, your cat is saying, “This is mine.”

Yes, that’s right, our cats claim ownership over us and everything we own, but we should probably take it as a compliment.

Bringing you ‘Gifts’

cat with bird in its mouth

Bringing home dead animals might be one of the grosser things our feline companions do, but they’re not doing it to get in our bad books. There are a few theories as to why a cat does this, but it’s generally considered their way of acknowledging their owners as part of their group.

Basically, your cat is trying to feed you the same way you feed them.

Not only is this behavior quite gross, however, but it can wreak havoc on the local wildlife. Though you might know your kitty as Mr or Mrs “Fluffles,” your cat is a predator, and probably an invasive one at that. If you have an outdoor cat, consider putting a little bell on their collar, this will help warn animals of the cat’s presence and put an end to the cat’s gift-giving.

Napping in Tight Spaces

Ever buy your kitten an expensive new bed, only to discover that they much prefer the box that it came in?

It’s a well-known fact that cats love to try to fit into the tightest spaces and are huge fans of boxes and dresser drawers, even though they seem uncomfortable. This odd behavior is a survival instinct from their wilder days, where cats sleep in tight, hidden places to avoid predators.

Knocking Things off the Side

cat knocking chess piecesover

We’ve all seen those videos online of cats standing on tables or countertops, noticing objects beside them, and deciding to swipe the thing onto the floor swiftly. While many conclude that cats are just mean-spirited, there’s unlikely any malicious intent here.

More likely, the cat sees this as a bit of harmless fun. After all, more often than not, the cat has no conception of the object’s purpose and certainly not any value.

Chattering

You may have noticed your cat occasionally making a fast teeth-chattering noise, probably while looking through a window at a bird. Behaviouralists believe that this teeth chatter results from a kind of excited aggravation caused by your cat spotting a prey it can’t get at.

This movement may also be your cat’s natural way of preparing its jaw muscles for hunting. Either way, it’s perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Getting Help

Online information can never replicate in-person advice from an expert. So if your cat is acting in a worrying manner, or is causing your sleepless night or distress, then it’s probably best to seek out guidance from a vet.