Odd Cat Behaviors Explained
If you have ever looked at your cat in awe and wondered what was going through their head, you certainly are not alone. Cats are peculiar creatures, and some of their bizarre behaviors are downright mystifying. Even the most experienced cat owners have a hard time understanding why their feline friends do certain things. From running across your bed in the middle of the night to giving you head butts, many seemingly strange behaviors are completely normal in the cat world. Our team is here at Country Club Veterinary Clinic to help you understand your cat’s usual behavior and determine whether or not it is normal. Here are some of the most common bizarre cat behaviors and the reasons behind them.
Hiding in Tiny Spaces
Cats may think they are mighty predators, but they are also prey animals. Small spaces make them feel safe and secure. Plus, they love high perches where they can keep a close eye on their surroundings. Create a small, hidden space for your cat is up high, and you will be meeting a few of their instinctual needs.
Kneading Soft Objects
Cats often knead laps, blankets, and other soft surfaces when preparing to settle in for nice, long naps. This behavior is learned while nursing during kittenhood. For many cats, it persists through adulthood as a self-soothing behavior. Cats have scent glands in their front paws, too, and the kneading motion deposits pheromones on people and surfaces, marking them as the cat’s property.
Curling The Lip
Cats make some pretty unusual faces. If you have ever spotted your cat with a curled upper lip, this look is known as the flehmen response. It usually happens when cats are exposed to unusual smells, especially those left behind by other cats. Opening the mouth or curling the upper lip allows the scent to reach the vomeronasal organ, which is located on the roof of the mouth. Your furry friend may look silly, but this behavior allows them to better understand new scents and interpret messages left behind by other felines.
Chirping at Birds
Cats make an adorable chirping or chattering sound when looking at prey animals - like birds - that they cannot reach. This noise is thought to be a sign of frustration.
You may have heard that cats are nocturnal, but that isn’t entirely true. They are actually crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn. That is when their typical prey - critters like mice - are out and about. While your cat may not need to hunt down much more than their food bowl, that extra burst of energy at night comes from their natural prey drive.
Headbutting, known as “bunting” in the feline world, is a sign of love and affection. Because cats have scent glands in their faces, this behavior also marks the people and things they bunt as their own. Bunting is a sign of respect, love, and trust, and it’s one of the greatest honors you can get from your feline family member.
Purring in Odd Situations
It’s a common misconception that cats only purr when they are happy and content. Unfortunately, they may also do it when frightened or in pain. Purring is a self-soothing mechanism that cats employ in a wide range of situations. The patients here at Country Club Veterinary Clinic often purr, even when we know they are not pleased to see a vet.
Cats are curious creatures, but most of their seemingly odd behaviors are completely normal. If you are ever concerned about your cat’s behaviors, though, we are here to help. Contact the Country Club Veterinary Clinic team, and we’ll gladly help you determine if your cat needs medical attention.