Edgar Allen Poe once wrote, “I wish that my writing was as mysterious as a cat.”  (OK, the Poe Museum––yes, that’s a thing––claims he did not, in fact, write those words, but this introduction would surely have been easier if he had.) Poe aside, cat behavior often seems downright mysterious. While their quirky antics don’t always make sense to their owners, our team at Southwest Vet explains some of the weirdest things your cat does.  

#1: Why does my cat knead?

No, your cat isn’t trying to tell you that you’re getting a little soft, and it might be time for some crunches––let’s be real, that has certainly crossed every cat owner’s mind at some point. The rhythmic paw pressing, sometimes referred to as “making biscuits” because the action mimics kneading dough, is an instinctive behavior first used by kittens to stimulate milk flow from their mother’s mammary glands. Adult cats continue to find comfort from kneading, and also use the behavior to mark their territory. 

#2: Why does my cat rub their face on everything?

When your cat rubs their face on you, your furniture, or other pets, they are doing more than saying hello. Also referred to as “bunting,” your cat is claiming ownership, by releasing pheromones from their facial glands. Marking you––or your couch––with their scent tells other cats they were here, similar to a dog marking with urine. Don’t worry, however, because bunting can also be used for bonding and comfort, so take your cat’s next nice headbutt as a compliment. 

#3: Why does my cat bring me gifts?

We all love unexpected gifts, but not the small, furry, feathered kind. In the wild, mothers bring back prey to their kittens, to teach them how to hunt, and to ensure their survival. Your cat may be following these familial sharing instincts. If you receive such a gift from your cat, remember, it’s the thought that counts. 

#4: Why does my cat chatter?

You have probably seen your cat sitting at the window, staring out intently, when suddenly they open their mouth, and make a strange chattering sound. This rapid jaw movement is instinctual, and signals excitement––and some frustration––when your cat observes prey. To get a clearer picture, think how you would feel if you saw your favorite dessert inside a glass case that you couldn’t open. Your mouth might also start to chatter––or drool. 

#5: Why does my cat hop into boxes?

Have you ever seen a young child receive a gift, and show more interest in the box than the present inside? While that may make you question why you spent so much money on that “must have” toy, your cat is probably lurking in the shadows, waiting for their turn to enjoy the cardboard palace. Cats are natural predators, and boxes provide the perfect hiding place for safely stalking prey. Enclosed spaces also provide security and comfort, and can reduce your cat’s stress levels. Give that Amazon box a second life, and your cat will thank you, and possibly execute a sneak attack on unsuspecting passersby. 

#6: Why does my cat cover their poop?

Your cat’s biggest predator may be the Roomba, but that doesn’t stop them from acting on their natural survival instincts. In the wild, cats cover their waste to avoid revealing their location to predators, and as a way to show submission to other dominant cats. Wild, dominant cats often leave their excrement uncovered as a way of claiming an area. If your cat suddenly stops burying their poop, a visit to our clinic may be in order, to rule out any medical problems. 

#7: Why does my cat meow so much?

Meowing is your cat’s way of communicating, and they do so for many reasons. 

  • Greeting — Some cats “talk” more than others, and may greet you with a hello meow when you return home. 
  • Attention — We often assume cats don’t need as much attention as dogs, but cats are social animals, and can get bored and lonely, too. Your cat may meow to initiate play, or to ask for petting. If your cat spends a lot of time alone during the day, ensure they can look out a window, and have engaging toys to play with, and a climbing tower with varying heights. 
  • Illness — Excessive meowing can indicate a medical condition, such as an overactive thyroid, or kidney disease. If you notice your cat meowing more than usual, schedule an appointment with our veterinarian, to rule out an underlying health issue. 

Jack Kerouac once said, “The only people for me are the mad ones. …” This one’s legit open up a copy of On the Road––and we’re pretty sure he’d say the same about cats. Your weirdly wonderful cat’s wellbeing is our top priority. If you have questions about your cat’s behavior, contact our team at Southwest Vet to schedule an appointment.