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Revealing The Surprising Reasons Behind Your Cat’s Odd Behaviors

Revealing The Surprising Reasons Behind Your Cat’s Odd Behaviors

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Have you ever seen your cat doing weird things, not knowing why?

Of course, you have, but today you’re about to find out the meaning behind every single strange cat behavior.

Kat Miller, Ph.D., director of anti-cruelty and behavior research at the ASPCA and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, brings us the truth behind 11 strange cat behaviors.

#1 Pawing At Their Litter

the cat digs food out of the bowl

Cats are known to dig holes to hide their urine and feces, or to cover up their “mess”. As Dr. Miller says:

“Whether or not your cat decides to dig a hole to hide their urine and feces before or after they go will depend on the cat, but this behavior is generally a mark of their territory.”

So, the reason your cat is pawing at its litter may be to mark its territory or to cover up the smell, since cats are known to be clean creatures.

#2 Making Biscuits (Kneading)

the cat is trying to jump off the pillow

Kneading is an adorable behavior that derives from kittenhood. Dr. Miller says:

“Kittens knead on their mom’s belly to encourage milk production. When cats grow up, it’s often performed when they’re relaxed or cozy.”

This behavior is also called “making biscuits”  because they look like they’re kneading dough. Cats will usually knead a soft blanket, or even your skin and clothes. 

If you see your cat kneading, it means that it’s happy and relaxed, but cats may also knead in order to calm themselves down when they’re upset or scared.

#3 Sleeping In Boxes

the cat stretches in the box

When I bought my kitties new beds, they immediately jumped into the boxes where the beds were packed and completely ignored the comfy beds. I know many cat parents have witnessed their cats getting into boxes, but why is that so?

Cats are predators in nature; however, they’re also potential prey to some bigger animals. So, despite living in a secure environment, their instinct will tell them to choose a box instead of a bed. 

Cats will often feel much safer in a tiny box, and plus, they can see what’s happening from a distance. Besides a sense of security, sleeping in a box also helps them retain heat.

#4 Sleeping In A Tight Ball

a yellow cat curled up sleeping on a pillow

There are different sleeping cat positions, and each of them has certain meanings. One of the cutest positions is definitely a cat sleeping in a tight ball, and here’s why. Dr. Miller explains:

“They either push into small spaces to have some security with solid walls around part of their body, so they can’t be snuck up on, or they roll into a tight ball.”

This sleeping position allows cats to retain heat easily and to feel safer. However, if your kitty curls up in a ball on your lap, it simply means that it’s happy to be with you.

#5 Sitting On Your Computer

the kitten is sleeping on the laptop

Whenever I take my laptop or sit in front of my computer to work, my cats pop up right next to me, and there are several reasons for that behavior. 

Cats usually sit on the computer, especially during the colder months, to keep them warm. However, when they jump on your laptop and sit in on the keyboard, there’s only one explanation – they want your attention and nothing else. Dr. Miller says:

“It’s hard to ignore a cat when she’s sitting on the keyboard, and she’ll quickly learn that by sitting there, Mom is more likely to give her attention.”

#6 Exposing Their Belly

a colorful cat sleeps on the couch with its hind paws raised

You’ll rarely see a cat laying with its belly up. However, if your cat does that, then you’re the lucky one, and here’s why. The belly is a vulnerable area to cats, so whenever they’re sleeping they’ll hide it to protect their vital organs.

This is very common for stray and wild cats, but due to natural instincts, our house cats may also hide their belly whenever they don’t feel safe.

If your kitty exposes its belly around you, you can relax, as that means your cat trusts you and feels safe near you. Cats who expose their belly to you usually expect you to give them a tummy rub, but still, be careful!

#7 Rubbing Their Heads Against Everything

a cat resting its head on a man's knee

Did you know that cats have scent glands in several places? One of them is on their face, which serves them to leave their scent or “mark” humans or items as their own. Dr. Miller says:

“It’s also a sign of calm for your cat to feel that she’s at home with the group. Sharing her scent by rubbing her face on things is like wearing a Jersey. It’s like decorating the house with her scent.”

#8 Raising Their Haunches

a white cat curls around a man's legs

If you wonder why your cat raises its haunch anytime you try to pet her, the reason is probably due to a reflex action. Cats adore backside rubbing, so their upfront reaction may be compared to a dog pumping its leg when its belly is scratched. Dr. Miller says:

“Perhaps it tickles or feels good because it’s a place that’s hard for them to reach themselves.” 

#9 Getting The Zoomies

the cat made a mess with the toilet paper

Cat zoomies are simply sudden bursts of energy your cat needs to let out. Usually, it happens right after your cat has had a long nap.

All cats have zoomies, both kittens and adults. Zoomies are frenetic, rapid activity periods that are perfectly normal, and every cat can get them. 

#10 Switching Their Tail Back And Forth

a yellow cat on alert from another cat

If you see a cat switching its tail back and forth, you better watch out, as this is usually a warning behavior. Cats do that when they’re angry, nervous, and irritated. Dr. Miller explains:

“For cats, this primarily happens when they are agitated, and they’re warning someone to stop doing something. It could also happen when your cat is extremely interested in something, but that often manifests itself more as a twitching of the tail than a wagging.”

If you ignore the cat’s warning and try to touch it anyway, it’s crucial to know that you might get hurt.

#11 Lying In The Sink Or Bathtub

the cat is sitting in the sink

Considering that not every cat likes to bathe, it’s very unusual to see a cat lying in the sink or bathtub. So, why do they do that?

During the hot months, cats are usually looking for a cooler place to chill, and is there a better place than a sink or bathtub? For some cats, there isn’t. Dr. Miller also added:

“I don’t have evidence to back it up, but my suspicion is that there is an earthy smell that comes from the drain pipes that can attract pipes. Of course, cats can also learn that water comes from the faucet, and they like to drink from the dripping faucet.”


I hope that you enjoyed reading this article and that now, some strange cat behaviors are less strange.

Which behavior explanation did you like the most, and which one surprised you the most? Is there any other cat behavior that you find strange? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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