A Closer Look At The Curious Behaviors Of Cats

By Liezel L May 23, 2022

If you haven’t been paying that much attention to cats, you might think that they’re all the same — feisty, independent, and sometimes snobbish. Believe us; cats are just like humans. They also have distinctive traits and qualities. Some of those are passed down to them by their ancestors, and others are gained from their environments. Cat behavior isn’t that easy to understand, though. Sometimes, they can leave us scratching our heads for days on end. They can’t talk either. So it’s up to us humans to decipher their actions and behaviors. If you’re stuck in a pickle trying to understand what is up with your kitty friend, don’t worry any longer. Here are some baffling cat behaviors and their explanations. 

The Box Addiction

It doesn’t matter if you’ve bought your cat the best and comfiest (not to mention the most expensive) cat bed on the market. If there’s a box lying around, you can be sure that they’d prefer that over the cat bed. 

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This might be because they feel secure in boxes. In the wild, cats would often seek shelter in caves or holes in the ground. There, they feel more secure. And while your cat might not feel threatened in your home, they might feel a little more comfortable when crammed into a small space. 

So Much Sleeping

One thing cats are known for is sleeping so much. You can find them snoozing in the corner of the house any time of the day like they haven’t gotten rest in days. As it turns out, there’s a good reason for this.

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For kittens, it’s because, during their sleep, their bodies release the growth hormones they need to grow. Adults sleep a lot because they’re conserving energy for the next activity or hunt. And, like us, they also take a nap when they’re bored with nothing to do.

Love For Feet

There’s nothing like a good foot rub after a long tiring day of doing errands or simply walking around the city. Those feet of ours also need some love. But it’s not fun if it’s your cat doing it with their nails and teeth. 

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If your cat seems to be developing an obsession with your feet, don’t worry. They’re not developing a foot fetish. They’re just being playful and might just be practicing their jumps and attacks. If you don’t want your foot to become their toy, interest them with a squeaky toy instead. 

Always Landing On All Fours

No matter how high they fall, cats seem to have this super ability to always land on all fours. Rarely do you see a feline not being able to do this. Apparently, it’s because they have additional vertebrae in their spine. This allows them to be supple enough to contort their bodies upright whenever they land.

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Cats don’t learn this; it’s just an inborn ability. And while they might be clumsy as small kittens, they perfect this ability when they’re six to seven weeks old. With that skill, a great sense of balance, and light bodies and bones, they can beat even the best gymnast.

Grass Eating Habits

Before humans helped out cats in curing whatever ails them, they had their own ways of solving bodily pains. After all, they had to find their own ways in the wild, right? As it seems, one of those ways was eating grass. 

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Much like dogs, cats eat grass to self-purge if they have tummy aches or other digestive problems. Most grass species also have folic acid that cats need in their diets. Don’t worry if your cat is munching on grass. Just make sure it’s clean and free of any chemicals.

Pushing Stuff Off Tables And Shelves

There you are and your kitty, peacefully minding your own businesses in the house, when suddenly, you hear a crash. And then another, then another. You run to see what’s happening only to find that the culprit is your kitty, who looks like they have nothing better to do. 

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Some scientists think this is due to their hunting instinct. Much like how they play with rats, it’s in their nature to play with their prey to improve their hunting skills. Knocking over things from shelves and tables is another form of that.


More often than not, people think that hissing is a sign of aggression, but that’s not the truth. Hissing is more of a defensive gesture. It’s almost always done by a cat that feels threatened, antagonized, or uncomfortable in a situation.

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When a cat is hissing, it’s saying, “I’m upset,” “I’m scared,” or “I feel threatened.” So, when your cat is hissing, give them space. Let them feel secure, even if that means that they go and hide. Give your cats time to calm down. When they’re calm, that’s when you can coax them out with food or treats.

Pooing Outside The Litter Box

Nobody wants to roll out of bed and step right on cat poo. That is just not the right way to start the day. But, when you own a cat, it might be an unavoidable situation even if you’ve trained them to do their business in their litter box. 

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This little issue might be a sign of a bigger problem. The cat might not like the litter you use, the litterbox itself, or they may even feel uncomfortable doing their business in that part of the house. If the problem persists even after you adjust the litterbox, it might be time to see a vet.

Wrapping Their Fluffy Tails Around You

Cats communicate with us through a variety of methods, like different ways of meowing and body language. They also rely on touch to help us understand their message. One example is when they wrap their bushy fluffy tails around you. 

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Most people say that cats aren’t as affectionate as dogs, but they are. They just show it differently. One of those ways is the tail-wrapping action. This allows them to coat you with their scent, which is a big compliment coming from a cat.

Sniffing Your Face

There are times when, no matter what you do, your cat seems to do everything to avoid your touch at all costs. And then, there are moments when they’re the ones getting too up close and personal, pushing their face in yours and sniffing like there’s no tomorrow. 

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When they do this, they’re essentially looking for your essence. Your face is a great spot to get a whiff of your unique natural scent. When they’re sniffing it, it’s like they’re making sure that you are, in fact, you, not a clone or a doppelganger.

Kneading You Like You’re Dough

One of the more adorable cat behaviors we see out there is when they’re just peacefully kneading their human or whatever soft surface they’re on. They always look so calm and at peace when they’re doing it. It turns out, this behavior isn’t because they’re practicing to become a baker. 

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It’s more of an impulse that they got when they were kittens. Newborn kittens would usually press or knead their mother’s teats to stimulate her body to make more milk. Adult cats have adapted this motion when they identify the comfort their mother has provided with a soft surface.

The Crazy Screaming At Night

Cats aren’t known to sing. In fact, we haven’t even heard of a singing cat before. There are times, though, when it seems like our furry felines are trying their hand at opera singing when they start randomly screaming in the middle of the night. 

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Being an audience to one of these can seriously make you reconsider your life choices. Don’t worry. Those screaming sounds they make are attempts at hunting or lamenting that there’s nothing to hunt. If you don’t want to be serenaded with this every night, play with your cat and tire it out before bedtime.

The Bum Show

Cats are just so soft and fluffy that it’s almost impossible to resist trying to cuddle them whenever they allow you to. Instead of just peacefully resting in your arms, however, some cats would keep on escaping your loving grasp only to present you its fluffy bum. 

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Lifting their tails and shoving their fluffy butts in your face might not seem like the nicest gesture. In fact, it seems a little rude, but it’s actually how your cats show you their faith and devotion. So consider the bum show as a little compliment.

Dead Gifts

People love gifts, especially if they’re from our pets. It makes us feel that they understand how much we love them and they love us back. It’s precious! How do you feel about a dead mouse, a dead lizard, or a dead bird, though?

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If your cat brings you a dead thing as a gift, consider yourself pretty lucky. They’ve most likely adopted you as an honorary cat. It’s also possible that they’re trying to take care of you by hunting for you. They could also be just thanking you.

Chilling Like They Own The Place

A lot of us can agree that cats are basically royalty. They’re so graceful and they always act like they own the place. They have even perfected the most relaxing and regal pose, where they just flop themselves on anything soft with their chubby bellies exposed to the air. 

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When they sit like this, they definitely look like the boss of the house. This position only means that they’re very comfortable where they are. Exposing their bellies means they’re vulnerable and by exposing it to you, it means they trust you. If they do this often, it means they’re having a blast with you.

Fluttering Ears

When your cat’s ears start fluttering, it might look cute, but it can actually mean many different things. For instance, when your cat’s ears start flicking to and fro, it might indicate that they’re feeling nervous or a little disturbed. Take this as a sign to be cautious near them.

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If their ears are pointed backward or are flat against their head, it can mean that they’re irritated or scared. They could be warning you about the danger they’re sensing or that they’re annoyed about something. If their ears are pointed straight forward, that means you have a happy and content cat. 

Clamping Down On You Like You’re A Snack

Cats are naturally born as predators. Mother Nature has gifted them with a remarkable set of claws and some pretty sharp teeth, so they have to put them to good use. Unfortunately, it’s not much good if they choose to use it on you. 

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There are several reasons they do this. One of those might be because they’re trying to tell you that they’re angry or stressed. It can also be because they’re afraid and defensive. Other times, it can also be because they’re just playing around. 

Scratchy Scratchy

We all have heard the stories of people coming home to find that their couches, clothes, or other things are ripped to shreds by their precious kitty. It’s not fun to discover after a long day at work, but your cat might just be doing what feels natural. 

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One: it removes dead skin cells from their claws. Two: it marks the area with their scent. Three: they’re just stretching. If you don’t want your possessions to be the victim of these scratching sessions, get your kitty a scratch toy or a scratching post for them to tear up.

Bopping And Rubbing Their Head To Yours

Having a cat rub their face on your head or give you a gentle head bop might just be one of the most satisfying things in life. Not only is it so cute, but it holds a deeper meaning for the relationship between you two. There’s even a name for this behavior — “bunting.”

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If your cat decides to gently head butt with you, they’re not being mean. It’s just their way of greeting you. They do it this way because that’s how they show others that they’re comfortable with them. If they’re rubbing their head on you, they’re rubbing pheromones on you that mark you as “safe.” 

The Back Arch

Do you notice that sometimes, when you scratch your dogs, they start to thump their feet in excitement? It means that you’re scratching just the spot and they absolutely love it. It’s the same with cats and their back arches. 

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When a cat stretches and raises its back end, it usually means that you’ve found just the sweet spot on its back, and it loves your rub. If you get a cat to do this, it’s a huge compliment. You’ve just earned a place in their good graces, and they’ll remember that. 

Standing Alert

It can be quite unnerving when you see a cat peacefully standing on its hind legs like it was meant to do that right from the start. It just looks so unnatural! And when they do it, they don’t exactly look like the creatures we love. 

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Thankfully, this action does have a decent explanation. In the wild, when cats had to face a threat and were backed up to a corner, they would try to stand on their hind legs to appear bigger and hopefully scare their opponent away. Now, unless they were doing this for food at your house, you better back away first.

The Zoomies

After going to the litter box and doing their business, have you ever seen your cats suddenly zoom around the house like a mad kitty being chased by a pack of wild dogs? If you have, you’ve witnessed something researchers call “the zoomies.”

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While it may seem like your cat has finally lost its mind, there’s actually a pretty good reason for it. Like us humans, they don’t want to stick around with their poop for too long. Zoomies put distance between themselves and their droppings so they can get away from predators who might be tracking their scent.

Tail At Half-Mast

If you see your cat dropping its tail, you might want to be cautious around them. Dropping their tail is a sign that they’re not sure of what is happening around them and aren’t too comfortable, so they’re on the defensive and getting ready for whatever is to come.

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This doesn’t apply to every cat and every situation, though. Sometimes, your cat might just be preparing to jump. There are also breeds like Persians that lower their tails when they’re playing. Watch out for more signs to be entirely sure.

Tap Drinking

Doesn’t it amaze you when you come home one day to find that your innocent little kitten has suddenly learned to turn on the tap on their own? Of course, it’s not fun if that happens to flood your house, but it demonstrates how intelligent they are. 

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One of the reasons your cat might be desperate to open your tap is because of its weak thirst reflex. Some cats also don’t want the stagnant water you put in their bowls. That’s because, in the wild, drinking flowing water was preferable to them drinking still water. So maybe it’s a trait they inherited from their wild ancestors.

Kitty Yoga

After hours and hours of sitting in front of your computer, stretching feels like the best thing in the world. It also has many health benefits, like promoting good mobility and joint health. No wonder cats love doing it so much, and no wonder they’re still so graceful no matter how old they are.

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With so much of their day spent sleeping, it’s no wonder that they stretch a lot, too. This helps get their circulation going after long periods of rest, raises their blood pressure, and makes sure that their muscles are ready for movement again. Also, they do it because it just feels oh so good.

Afraid Of Water

Many people believe cats are afraid of water, and we don’t blame them for that. Some cats would commit murder just to get away from water. However, some cats absolutely love water. Just take a look at tigers and the wild fishing cats in Asia that spend long hours in the water.

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For domesticated cats, you can often find them pawing at water as if testing it out. This doesn’t mean that they’re afraid. They might just be playing and having some fun. Some fancy felines also prefer to drink water from fresh sources. Pawing at water might be their way of aerating the water and assessing its freshness.

Ninja Kitties

It’s not fun when you wake up in the middle of the night to pee or get a drink of water and then suddenly see a shadow scuttling across your living room. When it’s all dark and quiet, it’s sure to give anyone a heart attack! That’s what some cats do, though.

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Some cats love sneaking around the house like they’re about to rob it in the middle of the night. The scary part is that they move like air, so you won’t even see them coming. Apparently, it’s in their genes to be sneaky and stealthy animals.

Nail-biting Habits

A lot of people bite their nails. For those that do it, it’s because they’re stressed out or anxious about something. For instance, some students bite their nails when waiting for test results. Some employees do it in interviews. Cats also do it but not always for the same reasons.

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Cats can also bite their nails when nervous, but they could also just be bored. Like licking, they could be grooming themselves. If you notice your cat excessively nibbling on their nails, it’s time to take them to the vet because it might be because of a parasite or infection.

Napping On Your Chest

Napping on someone’s chest or having someone nap on your chest can be one of the best and most comforting feelings in the world. It requires a lot of trust and a strong connection between people for this to happen. It’s the same thing with cats. 

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If cats trust you, they’ll feel safe being near you. The rhythm of your breathing and familiar smell can lull them into a peaceful sleep. Your chest also gives off warmth which cats enjoy. They feel safe in that warmth; that’s why they enjoy napping on you.

Swish Swashing Tails

Dogs often wag their tails when they’re happy or excited about something. When we see it, we become happy too because our pooch is happy. It means something very different for cats, though. A swishing tail indicates that your kitty might not be in the best mood.

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The best thing to do in that scenario is to leave your cat. Give them space and let them let out their cattiness on anything but you. Once their tail is twitching and jumping, that’s when you know they’re good. That just means they’re excited about something.

The Purring Magic

If you own a cat, you know that purring is the ultimate sign that your cat is happy with you. You’re doing something right, and you’re serving them properly. It’s honestly satisfying to get that purr especially when they just arch their tiny bodies and purr nonstop.

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Aside from signaling you that you’re doing a great job and they appreciate it, cats also purr to calm themselves down when they’re stressed or anxious. Much like how it calms us, that steady purring and soft vibration can also calm them down. 

Chewing On Everything And Anything

If you’re a pet owner, you’d have to be prepared to lose a few socks, some shoes, and maybe even a sweater. Cats or dogs will get to those things and rip them to shreds. Researchers believe that this is because of pica, a condition where cats or dogs chew on non-food items.

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While they’re not entirely sure of what causes it, some theories include caloric issues or stress and worry. It might be your cat’s way of relieving its stress. If your cat starts gnawing on non-food items too often, it’s a good idea to take them to a vet. If unchecked, it can harm their digestive system.

Rollin’ Around The Rosy

When your cat starts rolling around on the floor for no reason you can see and looking like a fluffy log, you might think they’ve gone a little cuckoo. They roll around on their backs for different reasons than we humans do.  

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By rolling on the ground, your cat can be scratching an itch they can’t reach, or they could be marking their territory by spreading their scent all over the surface. When you see them doing this, allow yourself to feel a little flattered. Remember, they only expose their bellies this way when they feel fully at ease.

Chirping Noises

During the summer and spring seasons, birds are out and about enjoying the sun and the warm weather. In those times, you might notice your cat staring at them with this kind of longing in their eyes while chattering their teeth, making a noise that sounds like a small motor. 

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One explanation researchers have for this sound is that cats make it because they’re irritated they can’t get to those birds or their prey. Others say it’s a way for kitties to warm up their muscles before finally hunting their prey.

Bouncing Around The House

Most of the time, cats can seem like lazy creatures. After all, most of the time, all they do is sleep, right? That’s why it’s often a surprise when your cat suddenly goes zooming around the house like an invisible pack of hellhounds is after it.

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Don’t worry, though. Cats are just furry balls of energy. Like dogs, when that energy isn’t released, they can get pent up. And if your cat doesn’t have enough space or activities to keep it busy, you’ll find it bouncing around your house like a loose cannonball.

Lounging On Just About Everything

Almost every cat owner out there can vouch that if your cat wants your attention, it will do just about everything without caring if you’re in the middle of something important or not. This includes lounging on your laptop, sitting on your book, or sprawling across your desk.

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Cats do this for the simple fact that they want your attention. It’s like they’re telling you, “You’re being boring. Stop it.” Being the drama queens and kings they are, their way of doing that is by literally getting in the way. A simple cuddle or a little bit of playtime would easily solve this.

The Cold Shoulder

If you think cats have a bit of a snobbish attitude, you’re completely right. Unlike most dogs, cats have this sense of self-importance and, of course, pride. They know that they’re royalty. So while they recognize their names and understand the commands you might be giving them, they won’t always respond or obey. 

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Cats operate on their own terms, not yours. They’ll give you attention and affection when they want it, not the other way around. They know they’re the boss of the house, and cat owners just have to accept that fact. 

The Night Patrol

There are moments when your cat might seem like they want absolutely nothing to do with you. And then, there are moments when they can’t seem to get enough of you. Take the times they follow you around like a bodyguard when you go pee in the middle of the night, for instance. 

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They don’t always do it, but when they do, researchers say that it’s because they might be feeling vulnerable. It can also be because they’re curious. Other people think it’s just their way of gobbling up some more attention than usual.

Burying Their Poo

Cats seem like naturally clean creatures. Aside from the occasional cat pee here and there, cats groom themselves to a tee. They’re even tidy enough to bury their business. In the wild, cats would hide their waste with dirt. But why?

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It’s another natural instinct that their ancestors have passed on to them. In the wild, cats would bury their poo to mask their scent from predators. If you notice your cat not doing it, there might be a problem. They could be sick, they might be feeling anxious, or they might not really like their litter box.

Wall Of Shame

When people are frustrated, some will bury their heads in their hands, others scream, while a few silently turn to the wall and press their heads against it, hoping it just all goes away. As it turns out, cats also do that last one, too.

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People aren’t really sure why cats also do this. Maybe it’s something they picked up from us humans. If you notice your cat accompanying this habit with sounds they don’t usually make, it’s better to take them to the vet. It can be poisoning, nerve damage, or something you don’t want on your cat.

Loving Catnip

Catnip doesn’t look all that special, but cats love that stuff. It’s basically their happy pill. While some cats don’t get affected by it, many felines go so bonkers when they get near that plant. It doesn’t just affect domesticated cats as well. It affects big cats like lions and tigers, too.

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That’s because catnip has a chemical called Nepetalactone which stimulates the sensors in cats’ noses. This gives them a trip and makes them feel extreme joy. During the ten minutes they’re on that trip, you’ll see the derpiest version of your cat.

Hear Me Roar

Cats have mastered making us humans do things the way they want to be done. They have different ways of doing this, whether that’s purring, rubbing, standing on their hind legs and creeping us out. And, if all else fails, meowing like there’s no tomorrow. 

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Cats would often scream your ear out when they’re hungry, want to be let out, or are stuck somewhere. They can also resort to this if they’re feeling lonely or unwell. So if they still keep screaming even after you’ve done everything you can to make them stop, it’s time to bring them to the vet.

Curling Into A Cute Little Fluffy Ball

One of the most peaceful moments of a cat owner’s day is when they’re all curled up into this adorable ball of soft fur on your bed, on the sofa, or in their cat house. It’s almost a sin to wake them up from this position because it’s like waking up an angel.

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The reason for this position is because it helps keep them warm. More than that, it also shields their stomach and innards, which helps keep them safe when they’re vulnerable in their sleep. Even when they’re comfortable with you around, they might still do this because old habits die hard.

Soft Meowing

Much like dogs and us humans, cats use their vocal cords to communicate. For cats, it’s loud meowing. That’s why it’s worthwhile for you to pay attention to the specific meows your cat releases to better know how to respond to them. 

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When you hear those soft little meows, your cat would usually say “hello” to you or ask for a bit of affection. If your cat approaches you with this meow, rub its back or head and you’ll be rewarded with some kitty love. 

Flagpole Tail

If you’ve been watching wildlife shows or have come across some wildlife pictures of lemurs, you might notice that the creatures often walk with their tails pointing to the sky. Cats also do that, which also makes them seem more model-like. 

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What’s up with their flagpole tail? If you see your cat walking towards you with that kind of tail, it just means that it has been looking forward to seeing you and genuinely likes your presence. So be honored and please your cat with a few cuddles or treats.