Cat behaviors hold endless fascination. Though different cats have personalities that differ greatly, there are certain behaviors that tend to be common to all. Although many of their behaviors may seem strange or wacky to us, they are commonplace to other cats and make the utmost of sense! Conversely, you can be sure that many of our human behaviors appear strange to the feline population. In our ongoing quest to understand the mysteries of the cat, let’s take a gander at some of those cat behaviors that we find a bit odd.
Head Butts. When a cat bumps his head against you or rubs his cheek against you, it is his way of showing affection. The reasoning behind this is that they are releasing their pheromones onto you. This means that they are, in fact, accepting you as part of their family. As they will only spread pheromones onto people or objects that they claim as belonging to them, this is how they show their love. Further, facial rubbing is a means of self-soothing. Since the head, cheeks, and neck are their preferred spots to be petted, this is often an invitation to go right ahead and pet away! It will strengthen both of your bonds to each other.
Needing to knead. Sometimes referred to as “making biscuits,” kneading is the activity where they push out then pull in their front paws, often alternating between the right and left paws. This is the behavior of a relaxed kitty. She is content and happy. She will do this on a pillow or on your stomach or any nice, soft surface where she can push in and pull out her alternating paws.
The reason for this behavior is thought to date back to kittenhood when the baby moves her paws against her mom’s belly to access her milk. Since this nursing behavior is so pacifying, it is thought that the behavior is retained for other situations later. It translates to the need for affection, social interaction, comfort and safety. You can be sure that when you see her do this, she is not only comfortable but happy as well.
Chitter Chatter. Do you recall seeing Kitty up in the window intently watching a bird or a bug? Have you noticed the chirping sounds she makes, almost unconsciously, while she is watching? This chattering sound is one of at least twelve vocalizations that have been identified as unique language intonations common to all felines. Though the chattering is involuntary while observing the movements of her prey, it is thought to perhaps represent the cat’s jaw action that occurs after she has finally captured her prey.
Zoom Around the Room. Here, we have the kitty version of “Rock Around the Clock”! Though it might seem random, the cat racing around like a lunatic is actually doing this in response to any of a number of different prompts.
The Zoomies can occur spontaneously after lack of activity or they can come in response to too much stimulation. The Zoomies are nothing to worry about. Generally, they can be looked at as Kitty “blowing off steam.” But best for you to stand back and laugh until she has had enough. If you try to interact with her during these periods, she could become overstimulated and lash out at you with biting teeth or sharp claws. For this reason, you should always have wand toys instead of hands when you engage with her. Also, throw some treats she can chase and “kill,” as she zooms around the room looking for her newest prey.
Cats Butts Out Front! Here is an example of how cats use body language to communicate with each other. When a cat shows you his butt, it is typically a sign of affection. When friendly cats rub up against each other in cat society, they start with the head, then their body, then their tails. In this manner, they exchange their odors, or hormones, from scent glands located not only in their head, cheeks and chin, but in their ears and tails as well. This is similar to the head butt, but occurs on the opposite end of the feline. Either way, it is a great sign of affection. When it involves you, you are now marked as their property. But you knew all along that you belong to your cat, and not vice versa!
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