Cats do all sorts of weird things, leaving their owners completely confused about their antics. Most of the time, your cat is simply being a cat, but they can occasionally be displaying signs of an underlying problem, such as inappropriate elimination or excessive hunger, that requires treatment. To help you determine if your cat is simply being normal, our Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital team explains some of the most common odd feline behaviors.
Question: Why does my cat “boop” their head against mine?
Answer: Head boops are magical actions performed by kitties who dearly love their owners, and you should treasure every one. This action, known as bunting, demonstrates affection and devotion, and is a sign of great trust. Additionally, your cat has multiple scent glands located around their head, including on their ears, cheeks, and chin, and these glands release a marking pheromone. When they rub their face against you, your cat will use the marking pheromone to claim you as their human. Feel honored to be considered your cat’s property, as not all cats are so demonstrative about their emotions.
Q: Why does my cat knead my lap right before a nap?
A: As you settle in for a lazy afternoon of watching TV, your cat curls up on your lap and proceeds to push and pull with their front paws. Hopefully, they keep their claws sheathed, or this kneading behavior can be painful. As your kitty “makes biscuits,” you wonder why they feel the urge to knead before settling down. This action mimics their nursing behavior, and is a calming, soothing activity left over from kittenhood. Cats also have scent glands in their paws that help mark your lap, blanket, or other soft space as their own cozy resting spot.
Q: Why does my cat dart around the house as if they are possessed?
A: When your feline friend gets a case of the zoomies, they dart around your home like their tail is on fire, or they’re suffering from demonic possession. Not to worry—this behavior is completely normal for indoor cats who need to burn off some pent-up energy. If your cat regularly dashes through the house displaying their impressive acrobatic skills, incorporate more routine daily playtime. Ensure your cat receives at least two 10-minute play sessions a day, and provide a variety of food puzzles and interactive toys to keep them busy when you aren’t home.
Q: Why does my cat like to bring me gifts?
A: Hopefully, your indoor-only cat isn’t leaving a dead mouse on your pillow every morning, and instead enjoys bringing you a catnip mouse or other toy. To reward you for being such an excellent owner and companion, your cat may feel the need to show their affection with gifts. Or, they may think you’re a horrible hunter who needs help catching prey, so they may bring you bugs, spiders, and other “prey” to ensure you have food to eat.
Q: Why does my cat purr when I know they’re not relaxed?
A: If your cat falls ill or appears nervous, you may have noticed them purring. Many people believe cats purr only when they’re happy and relaxed, but cats often also purr when painful or stressed. This soothing behavior can help calm them and alleviate their anxiety, in addition to their body healing faster. Studies on the healing benefits of various purring frequencies have shown that a domestic cat’s purr has the same frequency as the purring that best promotes bone growth and healing, relieves pain, heals wounds, and combats difficulty breathing. To determine whether your cat is purring because they are happy, take in their environment and attitude to see why they kicked on their rumbly motor.
Q: Why is my cat more active at night?
A: Cats are not true nocturnal creatures, but crepuscular, meaning they are generally more active at night, and most active around dusk and dawn, when their prey is typically also most active. And, since your cat spends more than half their day sleeping with no real reason to burn energy, they like to perform natural behaviors at night. If you’d like your cat to sleep with a more normal schedule, help tire them out during the day by playing with them often, and ensure they have a light snack before bedtime to avoid that middle-of-the-night wake-up food call.
Ever wish you could understand your cat’s unusual behavior? Ask your Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital team for help. Call our office to schedule an appointment to get to the root of your feline friend’s odd antics to ensure they have no underlying medical issues.