by Cheryl Lock
The more time you spend with your cat, the more you’ll probably start to notice—she’s got some weird habits, doesn’t she?
We decided to look at 5 of the most common odd cat behaviors and get to the root of why they do them.
From time to time you may catch your cat doing something a little strange: kneading. This occurs when your kitten rhythmically alternates her paws, pushing in and out, usually against something soft.
While no one is 100% sure why cats take on this behavior, there are a few theories. For starters, baby kittens will knead instinctively when they’re young to help stimulate their mom’s milk production. In this way, some people think cats continue kneading as they get older because the action reminds them of the rewards of nursing.
Other theories for why cats do this include that it’s their way of showing affection, it helps them limber up after a nap or prepare a soft, comfy spot to lay down in, or that it’s an easy way to scent-mark their territory.
For female cats, many also believe that kneading is a way of displaying to male cats that they are ready and able to mate.
Dangling leaves aside (which, let’s be honest, are just fun for your cat to chomp at), some cats chew plants because they find comfort in the act, or as a way to get your attention.
Of course too much of a good thing can be … well … bad. Cats who eat excessive grass or plants usually end up throwing up. No one’s quite sure if cats do this on purpose to help bring up hairballs, or if it’s just a coincidence.
Your cat’s cheeks contain glands that he uses to deposit his own unique scent. By rubbing his furry little cheeks on everything he sees, your cat is actually being quite territorial, marking off what he considers to be “his” in your home.
Cats are natural hunters, which we already know, and so it only makes sense that if you have an outdoor cat she will, from time-to-time, be stalking some prey. And you know how you like to bring your furry best friend home a treat every now and then to let her know how much you love her? Well some experts believe that dead mouse on your doorstep could be her way of telling you just how much she cares about you.
Have this ever happened to you: You approach your kitten in the hallway to say hello, and she immediately throws herself on the ground, rolls onto her back and exposes her tummy to you?
If it's a familiar scenario, be happy. Cats who roll over and expose their stomachs are actually relaxed and comfortable, calm and content. When she does this, your cat is showing you that she loves and trusts you—and probably wouldn’t mind some scratches at the moment, either.