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Why Does My Cat Do That? – Common Questions on Kitty Behavior

Happy CatYou know your pets better than anyone, but even though you love them no matter what, their adorable and often mystifying behaviors may sometimes make you ask “why do you do that”?  Here are some simple answers to common questions on cat behaviors you may witness every day.

Why does my cat purr?

Your cat’s purr may be one of your favorite things about hime or her.  Where that distinctive sound originates is still debated, but cat owners know that unmistakeable trill, which begins when the cat is about a week old. Cats purr when they are content and happy, but also when they are stressed by fear or pain. The frequency of the purr has been linked to stimulated bone growth and healing, and it is also believed that endorphins are released while the sound is produced. So, despite the obvious communicative properties of a good healthy purr, it may actually be contributing to your pet’s overall well-being, as a self-soothing, self-healing, relaxing therapy. You probably already know that a purring cat can have similarly soothing, healing, relaxing powers on you too!

Why does my cat knead me with his paws?

kitten bitingNot all cats knead, but the explanation for why those that do is pretty simple. Kittens knead as a sign of contentment, and the action helps their mothers milk flow while they nurse. As the cat matures, kneading is still a signal of contentment at their situation, and it is also a way to mark territory, as cat’s perspire through the pads on their paws. Getting a kitty massage is usually pretty fun, but some cats can be obsessive with kneading, or the behavior may lead to or be done in conjunction with suckling or chewing, which leads us to…

 

Why does my cat suck or chew my hair/clothes?

Suckling and gentle chewing with or without kneading action is somtimes a habit formed by kittens weaned too early from their mother. Others simply find it comforting like a child sucking his thumb. Some use it as a remedy for stress, anxiety, minute dietary deficiencies or just plain boredom. Use your judgement. Generally these behaviors are harmless, but if your cat is sucking obsessively or causing hot-spots or physical trauma to himself, talk to your vet about curbing the behavior.

What does my cat bite me?

Do you get “love bites”? Also referred to as petting-induced aggression, your cat may be the type to spontaneously nip or chomp you for petting him. This behavior may be perplexing, but it is generally believed to be a simple feline method of acting out or asserting their position in the household. There may also be some neurological stimulus associated with being petted certain spots or for certain lengths of time that affects these cats in particular. You don’t have to fear interaction with your pet, just learn to recognize the very subtle warning signs he presents before reaching the biting point.

Why does my cat eat my house plants?

Cat with PlantThere is no definitive answer as to why cats have a thing for plants, but if you live in a house where only faux foliage is allowed you may be looking for an explanation. Some plant predatory behavior may stem from boredom or curiosity. Leaves that dangle or flutter in the breeze can look like or cat toy with similar action, so they can be pretty exciting to a cat who is easily stimulated. Grass and some other plants act as a laxative and/or purgative that helps with the passage of hairballs. If your cat leaves these lovely little presents around the house, you may want to invest in special food or paste formulas that help to prevent hairball formation. Plant shredding may also be a learned behavior…your cats might have learned that messing with the plants is a way to get your attention.

Why does my cat bring me dead things?

Cat with MouseYou all know that cats are predators and hunting is a natural behavior in every cat. Wild and feral cats teaching their kittens to hunt and feed by bringing them dead prey to eat. As they mature, the mother brings them injured prey until they learn to make the final kill for themselves. Domesticated housecats are supplied with all they need, but while it isn’t necessary to hunt, if the opportunity arises their insticts will likely kick in. If your cat makes a kill, he or she may present you with a gift for one of two reasons: Many people believe that they’re offering dead animals to us as a gift to please us, and they expect praise for their effort. The other theory is that our cats think that we are incompetent hunters, and by bringing us dead or nearly dead prey, they are attempting to teach us how to hunt, as a female cat would teach her kittens. Either way, their intentions are good!

These are just a few of the interesting and endearing things our cats and kittens do. Does your cat fo anything that perplexes you, or does he or she do something unique as a habit and you wonder why? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Happy Cat image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Yumi Kimura
Biting Kitten image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Aravindan Shanmugasundaram
Cat chewing plant image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Yamaguchi Yoshiaki
Cat with mouse image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Lxowle

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