Are You Familiar With This Weird Cat Behavior?

If you have spent a fair amount of time observing and interacting with cats, you must certainly recognize that cats often exhibit weird cat behavior that both amuses you and puzzles you. Endearing and enigmatic, these small carnivores often act in ways that make no sense to us, their two-legged companions.

Some Origins Of Weird Behaviors

Small cat about to get a case of zoomies
It’s called the zoomies

What causes these puzzling behaviors? Often, it has something to do with the evolutionary and instinctive motives behind their actions. In this light, such weird actions make some sense.

Take, for example, the behavior we call “the zoomies.” The cat suddenly sprints across the room for no apparent reason. This weird move actually has roots in their natural instincts. In the wild, as hunters the cat requires sudden sharp bursts of energy to pounce on their prey. Thus this strange behavior echoes a behavior from an earlier time when such moves might have been critical for survival in their natural habitat.

One exception: If you are in an area where fleas are prevalent, check your kitty to make sure the reaction isn’t created by annoying flea bites.

A Sign Of Trust

Orange cat showing lots of tummy
A sign of trust

What about rolling over and showing that alluring tummy? If your cat exhibits this behavior, it indicates he feels safe and trusts you. After all, that tummy is his most vulnerable spot. Perhaps kitty wants attention. I think my Mocha displays that tummy out of trust, but also out of a desire to play. If I stroke that tummy lightly, Mocha purrs and enjoys the feeling, briefly. Then he grabs with all four feet and tries to bite the hand that strokes him…still purring, but now he’s changed the game.

One of my Kodiak cats, known as Loose Cat, had a really unusual reaction to tummy-rubbing. We’d turn him on his back and stroke his tummy, saying, “Dead cat, Lou.” The cat would lie there, perfectly still, with all four feet in the air. Eventually he’d fall asleep in that position. Yes, he lived up to his name.

Does Your Cat Need More Attention Or Stress Relief?

Such behavior as interrupting phone calls, stalking across the computer keyboard, or knocking an object off a shelf, watching as it fell, fall in the category of attention-getting ploys.

Black cat with alopecia (fur loss) from overgrooming
Alopecia from overgrooming

Sometimes a weird behavior can be indicative of a problem that kitty is having. For example, if the cat grooms obsessively, to the point where he’s losing hair or developing skin problems, he most likely exhibits signs of anxiety or discomfort.

When I rescued my cat, Pogo, from the animal shelter, he had a serious overgrooming problem. He’d removed all the fur from his stomach, down his legs, and off his ears. The stress of living in that noisy place made him extremely anxious and unhappy. After he’d been in my home for a while, the hair started growing back as he lost his stressed-out feelings.

Detecting Reasons Behind Behavior

It’s important to try to detect the reason behind your cat’s odd behavior. Is it normal, or is something off? Being aware of the reasons behind weird behavior can allow you to spot immediately when something is wrong. By observing, you can potentially catch a health issue early. If the behavior ranks simply as a catly quirk for your fur baby, recognizing his individual responses nurtures the bond between you and your furry carnivore.

A cat’s weird behavior can tell a story about a wide spectrum of moods and needs. Head-butting means he’s showing affection and marking you as his. Licking you represents another such sign. Sitting on a spot of sun represents an instinctual seeking of comfort and recharging energy.

Lsrge grey tiger cat in small box
Well, part of me fits!

Sitting in a box barely large enough to hold him again stems from a natural instinct to hide in a small space. Sometimes the texture of the box pleases kitty, as it is smooth and cool, and can feel good.

Does your cat like to pounce on shadows? Pogo used to stalk shadows on the bedroom wall when he came to bed with me and noticed them. He’d run at them and grab at them, indicating an expression of his predatory instincts. He probably thought he could protect me by such behavior.

Mocha talks a lot. I understand it may be because he’s partly Siamese. Sometimes he comes out with whole sentences, combining different tones in rapid succession. Reasons for such vocal statements could stem from excitement or might signal distress. Watch your cat on such occasions, and he will probably tell you his reasons.

Does your cat stare at walls for no apparent reason? Such actions may be related to their acute senses. The cat might pick up subtle movements or sounds that we limited humans cannot perceive.

Have you observed kitty drinking from the faucet? Cats prefer running water, rather than still water in a bowl. My Mocha loves his cat water fountain, because the water circulates and constantly runs out the small “streams” at the top. Sometimes he also gets in the bathtub where the faucet leaks slowly all the time. He’ll catch the drops as they descend. I’ve tried leaving water out for him in a bowl, but he ignores it.

Decoding Peculiar Cat Antics: From Head-Butting to Chattering

Tiger cat standing on hind legs, rubbing head against toddler
A super head butt

Why does head butting serve as a gesture of affection? Cats have scent glands on their heads, and rubbing them against us marks us as part of kitty’s territory. Such actions say “You’re mine.”

When your cat chatters at birds through the window, he’s linking directly to his ancestors. The chattering is an expression of the hunting drive — the predator’s instinctual anticipation and frustration at not being able to reach his prey.

Kneading a blanket or pillow at night represents a comforting behavior carried over from kittenhood when they received more milk by kneading their mother’s belly.

What about that intense, silent stare your cat might give you? It usually stems from curiosity. Because cats are inquisitive creatures, that direct gaze could simply mean kitty studies you, trying to understand every change in your behavior. Kitty probably chalks some things up to “weird human behavior.”

When Weird Becomes Worrisome: Recognizing Signs of Distress

It behooves you to learn the difference between your cat’s normal behavior and what could be the signal of a potential problem. Factors that can cause odd behavior range from changes in the household to new pets, or even shifts in the weather. Pay attention to changes in kitty’ usual patterns — has something changed abruptly? If so, why?

Orange cat on vet's exam table

If something seems off, the first step is to offer comfort. A calm environment, regular playtime and a clean living space often help. However, if you feel your cat has a problem, consult your veterinarian. Such a response on your part is vital if you notice persistent, unexplained, odd behavior, especially if paired with physical symptoms.

Remember that timely medical attention can prevent more serious issues and can ensure your cat’s well-being. Get to know your furry companion well. Knowing kitty’s personality and behavioral patterns can help you to distinguish quirks from cries for help. You’ll strengthen your bond and you’ll be able to provide the best care for your sometimes weird but always endearing feline companion.

References I used for this post:'ve-never-heard/

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