Cats are harder to understand than perhaps any other domesticated animal. Even if you consider yourself a “cat person,” there’s still a good chance that you don’t really know what your kitty is thinking most of the time. Of course, some habits that cats have are more bizarre than others, and you may find yourself trying to figure out whether your furry friend is trying to tell you something. Here is a look at six odd cat behaviors and some insight into what they mean.
1. Rubbing Up Against Everything
Whether your cat is rubbing up against your leg or head-butting every piece of furniture in sight, you may wonder what’s going on. On the one hand, this action can be interpreted as a sign of affection, but it also helps your cat mark her territory. Extremely possessive animals, cats love to spread their scent around, and they have glands that release specific oils from their heads and their sides. If you spend a lot of time around a certain cat, you can be sure that she has claimed you as her own by rubbing up against you.
2. Kneading You With Their Claws
Your cat may find your “squishy” areas and knead into them with his paws (claws out). Not meant to be painful for you, the cat is simply repeating a motion that he learned when he was a kitten. Young cats knead their mother when nursing to try to stimulate milk production. As they get older, kitties knead their human caretakers as a way of reinforcing their connection with you. You can usually read this as a sign that your cat is content and feels safe being around you.
3. Making Chattering Noises
You may have heard the bizarre sounds your cat starts to make when she sees a bird. This “chattering” noise is part of your kitty’s natural hunting instinct and stems from the motion of biting down on a bird several times to kill it. The noise is also your cat’s attempt to imitate the sound of a bird as she tries to lure her prey into a false sense of security. Sometimes cats get frustrated by the fact that they can’t get to prey they would like to hunt, so they will chatter at the window even if the bird is out of reach.
4. Cleaning After Being Touched
Have you ever been offended when your cat immediately starts bathing himself right after you finish petting him? It’s not exactly that your cat thinks you smell bad, but he’s convinced that he smells better. Remember that cats are very scent-oriented, so it can be disturbing for a cat to feel like his smell has been replaced by yours. For this reason, cats will usually lick themselves all over after you are finished petting.
5. Leaving Poop Uncovered
Most of the time, your litter-box-trained kitty will bury her feces, but you may occasionally come home to find cat poop on the floor–often when Fluffy seems like she is mad at you. The instinct of covering up droppings relates to the concept of acting subordinate to the more powerful cats in a group, so your kitty may be trying to claim some dominance over you by leaving her poop uncovered.
6. Bringing You Dead Animals
Almost all owners of outdoor cats know the “pleasure” of coming to the door and finding Mr. Whiskers holding a dead bird in his mouth. There are a few different theories about why cats might bring home their kills. One idea is that the cat is sharing his catch as a sign of affection. Another thought is that the cat has decided you are a terribly incompetent hunter and wants to make sure you have something to eat. Your kitty also might be trying to teach you how to kill your own food by following his example.