Most cat owners can attest, cats have some pretty strange behaviours.
As a cat veterinarian, people come to us concerned about some of these behaviours all the time.
And while some of these are normal – for cats that is – others can be signs your cat is having health issues.
So today we’ll review some common behaviours which may be shown by cats, and why they do it.
This will help you to know what is normal and what isn’t, as a way to keep close tabs on your cat’s health, and be able to recognize when something might be wrong.
Why Does My Cat Knead?
Does your cat like to rhythmically alternate pushing her paws in and out of something soft – like a pillow, or your stomach?
This behaviour is called kneading.
While we don’t know for certain why they do this, there are a few theories.
Kneading comes naturally to baby kittens, as it helps to stimulate milk production in the mama cat.
Another theory is that this is a cat’s way of showing affection, or getting a nice soft spot ready to lie down in for a nap.
In female cats it might also be a way to display they are ready to mate.
Why Does My Cat Eat Grass?
Cats are carnivores – they need to eat meat to get all of the nutrients they need, and they have high protein needs.
So why do they like to eat grass – especially because they don’t have the enzymes needed to properly break it down, and inevitably end up throwing it up afterwards?
Even though this is the case, there are theories which suggest eating grass is good for your cat.
The juices in grass contain folic acid, which assists in the production of hemoglobin.
Grass may also act as a natural laxative, helping to break down fur in the digestive tract.
A smart idea is to grow a small amount of grass specifically for your cat.
If your cat is an indoor cat it will give them access to this potentially beneficial treat, and if you have an outdoor cat it will give them an alternative to munching on grass which may contain pesticides or other chemicals.
Why Won’t My Cat Shut Up?
It’s the middle of the night.
You’re trying to sleep, when all of a sudden it starts – your cat has decided to serenade you at 4am.
There are a number of reasons which could be the cause of these excessive vocalization, including pain, illness, or hearing loss in senior cats.
High-energy cat breeds can also be prone to excessive meowing.
If your cat isn’t normally one for excessive vocalization, and this behaviour starts out of the blue, call us. It’s important to rule out health issues as the cause before attempting behaviour modification.
We’ll help you with a full veterinary exam, including blood and urine analysis.
Why Does My Cat Love Being Up High?
The top of the refrigerator.
The top of the bookshelf.
The top of the tall dresser.
These are all spots which cats seem to gravitate towards.
In the wild, cats would climb trees to escape predators, and to survey their own prey.
Being up high gives cats a sense of safety and security. It gets them away from other stressors (small children, dogs, other cats), and in multi-cat homes it can indicate status. The cat with the best perch is literally “top cat”.
It’s important to give your cats lots of vertical space to climb, so they stay engaged and healthy.
Why Does My Cat Rub Their Face All Over Everything?
When your cat rubs their face on your couch, your chair, and even you, they are marking their territory.
A cat’s face and cheeks contain glands which deposit their scent on whatever they are rubbing against, marking it as theirs.
If your cat does this to you, feel honoured that they have chosen to mark you as their own.
Why Does My Cat Roll Around?
If your cat regularly rolls on their back, exposing their tummy to you, this is a good sign.
The tummy is a vulnerable spot for cats, and they only expose it to those who they trust.
As many cat owners can attest to though, this doesn’t always mean they want a tummy rub – but maybe try offering a chin scratch or head rub.
Book an Appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Is your cat exhibiting strange behaviours?
Are you worried about a sudden change of behaviour, or actions which don’t seem normal?
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today to bring your cat in for a full work-up.
We can help you determine if these changes are normal, or if there is an underlying health issues which needs to be addressed.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.