Although cats can be confusing creatures, there is apparently method to their madness. Many feline quirks can in fact be explained, so instead of shaking our heads at their oddball behavior, we should spend time understanding what they’re trying to communicate. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of this list. Read it and you’ll reach a deeper awareness of what your moggies are trying to tell you.
Rather than instigating a brawl, when cats perform headbutts they do so with the best of intentions. There is even science behind their actions: the animals are transferring their smell onto you and leaving their feline fragrance on your forehead – or whichever body part they are rubbing against! Interestingly, there’s actually a name for this rather odd phenomenon. It’s called bunting.
On the other hand, cats are notoriously needy, and this tactic could simply be a handy way of getting your full and undivided attention. Another possibility is that they are trying to telepathically communicate with us, but we’re just too slow to have cottoned on just yet.
9. Dashing randomly around your home
Cats have bursts of activity when they suddenly dart around, just like humans do when they head to the gym and clamber onto the treadmill. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this spontaneous outpouring of energy, other than, well, they’re just a little dotty.
Domesticated pets have no need to hunt, so their restlessness needs an outlet somehow, even if that results in them wildly barrelling about the house. Energetically chasing a toy mouse helps cats let off some steam – and lets any real rodents in the area off the hook.
8. Splaying their legs wide
Cats can strike suggestive poses, but it’s best to not analyze this too much. No offence, but they probably don’t fancy you. They’re not practicing yoga, and they’re not showing off. Nope, they’re trying to tell you something else entirely.
The real reason for them performing the splits is somewhat more convoluted. Using their body language, the moggies are deliberately exposing their vulnerability and therefore communicating their subservience. More mundanely, the animals apparently find the legs-akimbo position pretty comfy.
7. Sticking their butt in your face
No sooner do you think you’ve really bonded with your cat, than it goes and crosses a line by shoving its puckered butt right in your face. But before you jump to conclusions, this isn’t your pet not respecting your boundaries. In fact, the reason behind the moggie-moon is quite the opposite.
You see, rather than giving you the bum’s rush, cats actually want to deepen their relationship with you. If they were an anthropoid rather than an animal, they might shake your hand. Instead, they introduce themselves via their backside.
6. Jiggling their backside before pouncing
When cats spot their prey, they start to vibrate. This isn’t because they’re on silent mode and are suppressing a miaow. Nor is it down to a sudden drop in body temperature or because they’re petrified of the impending conflict. In fact, the animals start to shudder because they’re balancing themselves on all paws and preparing to attack.
Aside from the telltale shake, another key indicator that cats are poised to strike is that they also flick their tails. This practice applies to both playing and preying. Depending on where you are in the pecking order, this can be either terrifying or terrific fun.
5. Kneading you
Kneading is nice – for a while at least. It’s all fun and games until they begin to claw at you or your sofa (or your curtains or clothes.) But this cat trait has its origins in some of the animal’s earliest moments. When newborn kittens are nursing, they use their paws to knead at their mom’s belly. This helps release more milk.
So as adults, perhaps they are revisiting one of their very first memories. If you don’t fancy being cathandled like dough, just wear thick layers to avoid scratches. Alternatively, trim those talons. The cat’s, not yours.
4. Lounging on your belongings
Whether they’ve picked a convenient moment or not, cats love to be the center of your universe and have you all to themselves. This can take the form of lowering themselves onto that snug pile of clean laundry, or lounging directly on your computer. Both have the added bonus of emanating warmth and coziness.
This behavior shows how clever cats are. Having figured out the items that seem particularly interesting to you, like a book or newspaper, the dastardly creatures then go and target them. Just be thankful they haven’t peed on your personal belongings. Yet.
3. Blanking the food you give them, then snacking on other stuff
Cats are grazers, so thanks to their snacking habit, they often aren’t hungry. The message here is to not waste that side of salmon on your fluffy companion – he or she will probably reject your gourmet gift. Regardless, cats will normally revisit their meal during the day or night, so don’t clear it away.
Most of the time, household cats play with their prey. They don’t generally set out to kill a mouse in order to devour it for dinner. Cats are cruel, then, but they are also very cute. It really is a matter of perspective.
2. Burying their business
Enshrining their poop in the earth is in cats’ genes; for their ancestors, it was a good way to throw predators, quite literally, off the scent. Additionally, it ensured that they were not ostracized from the cat community, as they were not leaving any offensive smells around.
In certain situations, though, cats don’t bury their feces. And this could be for any number of reasons: they might be mad at you, or envious. Or they might want to assert their dominance. To make matters worse, if cats observe their owners flushing their own number twos down the toilet, the animals could interpret this as confirmation of their feline superiority.
1. Constantly visiting the land of nod
Little did you know that when kittens sleep, instead of switching off they are actually being quite productive. You see, when cats sleep their bodies release large amounts of developmental hormones. These help them to grow into big, strong cats.
When cats reach adulthood, though, maybe they just turn bone idle. Laziness is obviously one of the main stereotypes regarding cats. And according to Dr. Joanne Righetti, who specializes in pet behaviors, cats can spend 75 percent of their entire existence in the land of nod. Yet adult cats are most active while their owners are asleep, so who’s the lazybones here?