Cat Behavior | Strange Cat Behavior Explained

Strange Cat Behavior Explained -  cat staring at a laptopWhy is my cat doing this bizarre thing? It is kind of a universal question. No matter how much you love your feline friend, at some point or another, their behaviour will start to completely baffle you. Every cat has its own strange idiosyncrasies, but there is a lot of weird behaviour that forms a universal but bizarre common language between cats. These behaviours might seem strange to us, but the majority have a solid footing in the biological history or primitive urges of a cat. Some weird things that cats get up to are just quirks from the process of domesticating.

The weird things that your cat does can give us a greater understanding of how they tick. Behaviour like kneading, or obsessing over closed doors, or meowing at nothing and everything, can let us learn more about the way that your cat communicates with you. Many of these strange behaviours are a cat’s way of telling you something. They seem to think that you understand this incomprehensible language perfectly.

Cats Bite to Send a Message

One weird thing that most cats will do at one time or another is biting their owners. This often comes without any aggression or warning and is shrugged off by the cat afterwards. You might wonder, why even with a great diet your cat prefers the taste of human sweat? It is particularly common in kittens, but in fully grown cats it can become quite painful! This behaviour is the result of a language barrier, their intentions get lost in translation. Cats biting their owners during play, or even when they’re getting a fuss, might seem annoying or mean spirited but it’s really quite innocent.

Strange Cat Behavior Explained - Cat biting a hand

These little bites are just a small message. If it comes part way through playing, it’s a way to let you know that they are no longer enjoying it! It’s a harsh reaction. However, to your cat, it’s the quickest and easiest way of telling you how they are feeling. This also applies to when you’re giving them a fuss. They give you a small bite to let you know that despite being visibly ecstatic for the last ten minutes, they’ve had a change of heart and no longer want to be fussed.

Sometimes it is not specifically a warning, it can just be because of overstimulation. They are enjoying getting fussed, but they have too much going on. In these occasions, a cat can randomly bite just to regain composure. It’s a strange behavioural quirk, but nothing to be concerned about. This is called petting-induced overstimulation. As the cute name suggests, it is literally overstimulation as a result of petting. The overloading of the senses causes them to stop enjoying it. Sometimes for cats, your affection can become too much of a good thing.

Love Bites and Meowing

Cats aren’t always doing weird things just to warn you. It can be another form of communication. Sometimes a cat will bite you as a sign of affection. Kittens play with each other in a different way to adult cats. Kittens will bite each other as a way of communicating. The bite could mean they want some attention, want to play, or just showing some appreciation.

It’s hard to understand the meaning of every interaction between kittens, but we do know some of this behaviour carries over into adulthood. Cats bond with humans while they are young. Since they don’t unlearn this behaviour with age like with other kittens, they will often retain this habit of communicating positive emotions with bites. A cat will often bite their owner to show affection.

Strange Cat Behavior Explained - kitten lying on her back with a tongue out

You can tell the difference between an aggressive cat bite and an affectionate one by watching your cat. As long as the cat isn’t growling or hissing, it is more likely that they are simply excited by whatever is going on. Cats view play or excitement in the same way that they view hunting. Playing when they are kittens is actually geared to training cats how to hunt, so biting is a natural escalation of this. If they’re doing it in a playful manner, the bite is a holdover from their more primal ancestors that would end a play session by catching their play.

This is one of the weird things that cat do as a result of their background as predatory animals. Their bodies are naturally attuned to finishing playing by catching their prey, in our play they don’t get this release. Domesticating them may have made them house-ready, but they still have the instincts of a wild animal.

Why Does a Cat Meow at Weird Things?

The way that a cat uses its verbal communication can be strange. Cats will meow at the weirdest things. They do this for a variety of reasons, often cat owners will know what they are getting after. After a little while, it can seem like you know what your cat is saying just from the tone of their meow. However, sometimes it can seem like the cat is meowing for nothing at all. Researchers have also found that the way a cat will meow is particularly geared towards communicating with humans, it also changes as your cat ages.

Kittens meow to their mother to communicate certain needs. Normally, cats would grow out of this noise in adulthood and begin communicating only through growling, hissing, or purring. Cats only actually meow in adulthood as a result of human intervention. Meowing is a form of contact that is reserved for dealing with actual people. If you know your cat is hungry from the way they are meowing, then this is a sign that this communication is working!

Strange Cat Behavior Explained - cat meowing

Cats use meows of different tones and lengths to attempt to communicate different things to their owners. They learn how to do this as a form of trial and error. They find a pitch that lets them get what they want and try to repeat it in future when they want that particular thing. A cat will tune its meows to what it thinks the owner can respond too. In a way, a cat’s meow is them attempting to actually communicate to you in a way that you understand. Cats are not naturally verbal animals. Unlike other pets, they only use this form of communication as a result of having to live among humans. This can make some of their meows incomprehensible.

Cats Hate Closed Doors

Cats can often meow just as a cry for attention. Despite the popular conception that they are solitary animals, cats do like company. They will meow in an attempt to get your attention if they want someone to interact with them. They also meow when they are looking for a mate. Older cats occasionally meow just from sheer confusion. Like people, their cognitive functions tend to deteriorate as they age. This can lead to them meowing for no perceivable reason. They are doing it out of confusion. These are some possible reasons for your cat to talk to itself for no particular reason.

Another example of cat language that isn’t immediately obvious is their treatment of closed doors. A common joke about cats is that they immediately want to be let back inside once they’ve gone out. There’s a reason for this, it is standard cat behaviour. A possible answer to this weird thing is simply that they don’t like doors. They don’t see any need to have a door shut. Your cat would probably prefer things if every door was open to them, giving them complete freedom of where they want to go and what they want to do. Often going inside and outside of a door repeatedly, annoying the owner in the process, is because the cat doesn’t see any need for the door to be closed.

Strange Cat Behavior Explained - Cat meowing in front of a closed door

The cat would prefer the freedom and control to roam wherever it wants. It isn’t being indecisive about going outside or wanting to be let into a room. It just resents that it should have to make that decision in the first place. This meowing is its subtle way of letting you know that it disagrees with you closing any doors.

Kneading and A Desire to Be in Small Boxes

Cats will knead just about any surface. Blankets, beds, sofas, your legs and face, these are all acceptable places for most cats to knead. This trait is another carry over from their time as kittens. They would knead their mother to create a flow of milk ready for feeding. This behaviour continues into adulthood as the cat begins to associate it with happiness. When kneading a person, they are showing affection. It marks the cat’s contentment at that moment. It is also a way for a cat to mark an object with her or his scent from sweat glands. This lets them mark whatever surface they knead, like a blanket or bed. It’s an expression of affection and a claim to territorial rights.

Strange Cat Behavior Explained - Cat in a small box

Cats love to hide in small spaces. A lot of cats just try to squeeze themselves into the smallest space or container that they can physically find. This weird obsession can seem to owners like a fixation in discomfort but it has its roots in their evolutionary past. They seek out these spaces because they are looking for comfort, they want the confinement. Cats find small spaces because they fit them exactly, this gives them a sense of security and therefore comfort. Even within a safe home, a small impenetrable space can bring cats joy.

These are some of the weird things that cats have a tendency to do. There are more examples of this, there’s a great number of bizarre cat behaviours that are specific to individual cats or not quite as universal. Like most of the examples given here, the roots of those behaviours are likely in their childhood and through a desire to communicate with owners. These weird behaviours are drawn from their past. This can remind us how wild these animals really are.

What are the weirdest things your cat does?

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