Cat Behavior Explained
Cats are amazing creatures.
Sometimes we think we completely understand them, then other times we can’t seem to figure them out.
Good news, you’re not alone.
Let’s talk about some of the top 10 weird cat behaviors that cats do, and the different things they mean. (Or maybe mean, I mean…it’s an educated guess in all honesty).
1. Cat Rolling Over
This one is one that got me for the longest time. Why do cats roll over on their backs?
Phoebe loves to rub up against me then flop down on her back and present her belly.
The most common reason that cats present their bellies is not because they want you to pet them.
However, they do show their tummies as a way to say they feel safe around you.
They also are saying that they would like some attention from you. Since they can’t really ask for attention, a lot of time blocking your pathway is an easy way for them to get the attention they are seeking.
Another possibility is that they are marking their scent on you and claiming you as their own. So if your cat doesn’t want your attention, they just are letting the rest of the world know that you are theirs.
2. Showing You Their Butt
Don’t you love when you are just relaxing in bed and your cutie cat climbs up on top of your chest? Only to be interrupted but them sticking their bottoms in your face?
Shockingly, what feels like a slap in the face to you, is actually a major compliment your cat is trying to give you.
Cats will raise their tails to other cats to show them they are feeling securing and offering friendship. In a lot of cats, friendship starts with presenting and sniffing bottoms.
When your cat does this to you, it is like giving a hug and kiss. You can pet them or scratch them as a way to tell them thank you rather than sniffing their bottoms.
3. Why Do Cats Cover Their Poop? Why do they not?
You see a cat going to the litter box, and then you hear them digging around in there afterwards. They covered their business with litter!
Why do they do that? And why is it that some cats just like to leave it all hanging out for the world to smell?!
Cats usually learn their litter box etiquette from their mothers, and domestic cats have long been encouraged to cover their excrement.
It is important to call out that sometimes cats will try and cover their litter, and then you look over and see that they didn’t cover it? Why do cats do that?
Depending on the type of litter box, some cats may not feel the need to. We have a LitterRobot, and I have noticed some of our cats will not cover their business after they go.
They do however come back in a few minutes and make sure it is gone. And then sometimes they will cover it up later if it hasn’t cycled yet.
Sometimes cats will also try and cover up their poo and do so unsuccessfully. This is often and issue with seeing their mothers cover the litter. Phoebe will try and try for minutes on end…only to create a little litter mound next to the poop.
But not all cats are like that. In most cats, when they leave their poop unburied, they do so as a way to claim territory. Typically cats cover their poo as a way to hide their scents from predators and keep them safe in the wild. But if they want others to know they are alpha, they may not always cover it.
4. Why Do Cats Cover Their Food?
So we know why cats like to cover their poop? But why would they be covering up their food bowls?
Saving it for later maybe? That’s always what I assumed .
Often times cats will bury their foods for the same reason they cover their poop. They want to cover their scents and food away from other animals.
This is extremely common in rescue cats, and multiple cat households.
5. Cats Eating and Chewing Plastic
I came across this behavior by accident as was stumped for months
I remember I came home from the grocery store, took off my plastic cool whip wrapper and placed it on the counter. In muttering around the kitchen it got knocked onto the floor and Phoebe found it.
You would think I gave her the best cat toy in the world. But why the plastic?
Kittens may chew on anything while teething and may have developed a fondness for the texture of plastic they will carry into adulthood.
Also, the bag might just taste good to the cat.
In other cases, cats make like the sound the plastic makes when they chew on it.
It is important to call out that plastic can be a chocking hazard. So if you notice your cat starting to try and eat the plastic, discourage that behavior and replace it with a suitable toy.
If they only chew on it until it is gross and disgusting, let your cat enjoy their magical toy every once in a while. Don’t make it a habit though.
6. Why do Cats Eat Grass?
We let Phoebe go out supervised in our yard. She likes to smell the fresh air, walk around and then sunbath in the grass.
But this is not before she gets a chance to chew on some grass first. Cats actually get trace nutritional value from grass and other green plants.
In the wild, they would get these nutrients by eating the intestinal contents of their prey.
If your cat is having a hard time digesting their food, sometimes they will chew on grass to help ease their tummy ache.
There is no where near a direct correlation, but I like to joke it is the Tums of the cat world.
7. Why Do Cats Wink?
Are you ever staring at your cat and sometimes feel like they are winking at you?
Chances are they are not actually winking.
They could be slow blinking at you. A slow cat-eye blink is a wonderful compliment. It is a non-threat signal that cats use with each other as well as humans they are comfortable with.
I like to call them “I Love You” eyes. You can send the same signal to your cat, slowly shutting and then opening your eyes. Chances are, your cat will return the cat-kiss eye blink.
Ever hear your cat chattering while watching the birds flying around the yard?
Cats will often chatter when they see animals that they would want to “hunt”. Wobbles likes to do it when she sees birds and squirrels running around the yard.
That chattering sound comes from their excitement at seeing potential prey combined with the frustration of not being able to get at them.
Cats love to make noises, chattering is just one of them.
9. Interrupting Your While Working
I always joke that the cats want to start doing some work when they start walking over my keyboard, or lay on my lap when I am typing.
If your cat is interrupting your time on the phone, at the keyboard, or when reading, it’s jealous of you giving attention to these objects rather than to itself.
There has been some success by giving cats their own “object” for them to sit on so they feel like part of the part. (I have opened a book next to my laptop and my cats will lay on the book instead of the keyboard).
If you have been consumed with work or your phone lately, this is your cat’s way of telling you that they need more attention. Trying using some interactive cat toys to help your cat play and release some of their energy.
Worse case, you end up like me. Someone who is extremely good at typing while a cat is sleeping on my lap. Which honestly, is my current situation and why this post is taking longer than it should to write.
10. Why do cats head butt you?
Last but certainly not least is when your cat head butts you randomly while you are petting or scratching them.
The technical term is bunting and refers to the way a cat presses and rubs its head against objects.
Cats rub their bodies against another cat, a human, or even a trusted family dog. This is done to mark you with their scent and claim you as their own.
They will sometimes even pushing their heads into your to get their scent on your face.
While these are 10 common cat behavior that we have starting to scratch the surface on, there are so many odd things that cats do.
Did I miss something your cat does everyday that you can’t explain? Make sure you add it into the comments so I can do multiple parts.