Feline Behaviors that People may Find Bizarre but are Logical to Cats

Valentine’s Day has come and gone already this year, but love still is in the air; especially when it to comes to the love we share with our beloved kitties. And according to a recent article by Dr. Karen Becker, it seems that 43 percent of U.S. households are being ruled by at least one cat, which adds up to about 86 million pet cats who are sharing their homes with the human species. As Dr. Becker writes, “That’s a whole lot of kitties”. As far as I am concerned, Dr. Becker’s statement “A whole lot of kitties” is a huge understatement.

Cats drinking

Photo credit: Flickr User: frankieleon

But with all these kitties owning a vast number of human beings, one might surmise that many of these folks probably don’t fully understand their kitties’ behavior and don’t know how to translate it; which results in a “whole lot of kitties” being misunderstood.

So it’s time to try and demystify some feline behavior that so many folks consider “odd”. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I have so often run into who don’t seem to be able to comprehend what they consider to be “odd” behavior; when it fact as far as their kitties are concerned it is purrfectly normal.

As an example, since the majority of cats avoid getting near or into water like the plague, they cannot fathom the reason why their precious kitty could enjoy putting their paw into the water bowl and then licking the water off.

Dr. Becker’s truly understands feline logic! Since cats detest the sensation of something touching their whiskers if they are not trying to measure a distance to see if they can pass through a space, if the size and shape of the bowl isn’t what kitty believes to be the “cat’s meow” since every time she tries to drink, the sides touch her whiskers, doesn’t it make sense that she would prefer to use the “dip and sip” method? This issue could easily be resolved with a wider rimmed bowl!

She could also be worried about presence of another cat or a human servant, and wants to keep her eyes on her territory, so naturally she doesn’t want to lower her head. And some cats even enjoy making the water move with her paw and watching the “waves”. Cats are quite adept at entertaining themselves at times!

And what about those kitties who drop their favorite toy into their water bowl? Now most people think that is totally bizarre. However, from a cat’s purrspective this is natural behavior because the water bowl is a safe place in which to stash their “prey”, and hide it from other predators; or they simply enjoy “fishing”.

Then of course, when darling kitty is behaving lovingly and asking for a petting session and the compliant servant picks her up to oblige her request, therefore stroking her affectionately, when all of a sudden, from seems to be out of the blue, this sweet, docile kitty who has so far been purring contentedly attacks the stroking hand with extended claws or sinks or teeth, and the puzzled guardian may retaliate with a smack.

But if the servant understood the kitty’s message that she was feeling over-stimulated, by her tail swishes and flattened ears; that she also had stopped purring and started vocalizing, just to gently stop stroking her and set her on the floor would have easily prevented getting hurt.

I am sure you have some other “odd” feline behaviors that people have asked you about since they thought that they were “off the charts”! Tell us what these behaviors were and how you handled it. Your suggestions will help be a great help to folks who are new at being owned by a kitty or two- or even three. Share these ideas in a comment.

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Feline Behaviors that People may Find Bizarre but are Logical to Cats — 10 Comments

  1. Abby (Maine Coon) loves affection and does the slow eye blink. If I don’t lavish her wish affection when demanded, she goes through a series of strong head bunts and meows that pitiful meow like she’s being neglected. Shadow (grey tomcat) likes attention but is very particular as to how he’s pet. He has chronic dental disease (even with no teeth except canines) and constantly on Clavamox – it never heals totally due to FIV+. Unlike Abby, he’ll not give me the eye blink, but will respond to mine and jump up on the bed and forcefully nudge his head under my hand for pets. He especially loves scratches on the side of his face (we know…pheromones) and occasionally under the chin, but very short pets.

    Abby loves to jump on the bathroom sink to drink from the tap; shadow loves his dry kibble (yes, he eats it) with a lot of water so it floats around. He drinks the water and eats the kibble (softened in the water).

    Sometimes I come home and find Shadow sleeping on my bathrobe – I understand because it’s got my scent on it. Abby loves to sleep on top of the DVR (for the warmth I assume). Abby loves bouncing and catnip toys; Shadow loves chasing around a paper Dixie cup (small one from the bath). Abby loves to hide in paper bags; Shadow loves empty boxes. Of course it makes sense; both of them are a hoot!

    The one thing they both do is sit by their bowls mostly patiently because I refuse to feed them if they’re carrying on. I just leave the room and let them chase after me. They finally understand ‘sit’ and with the hand signal saying ‘wait’ whilst I prepare their food. That one is amazing…not saying they both don’t complain about it – Abby meows and Shadow squeaks!

  2. My kits do exactly the above 🙂 The Budster goes a step further cruising quickly from outside, in through the flaps, onto the counter, fridge, up to the top of the wall…balancing back and forth the length of the wall, then coming down and snuggling.. Why all the prelude to snuggling? I think he is letting me know that he is still in control, that he has ‘got it’ at his older age of 13 going on 14 human years old.

  3. This is a difficult one for me, Jo, as I was conceived, born and raised “with cat” so cat behavior is as “normal” to me as (rational, intelligent and kind) human behavior! But my Rani, who is 18, likes to bite my clothes, and I am convinced that she does this to draw my attention to the fact that she hasn’t been fed in at least five minutes and that I had better hop to it if I don’t want more of the same! 😉

  4. “Then of course, when darling kitty is behaving lovingly and asking for a petting session and the compliant servant picks her up to oblige her request, therefore stroking her affectionately, when all of a sudden, from seems to be out of the blue, this sweet, docile kitty who has so far been purring contentedly attacks the stroking hand with extended claws or sinks or teeth, and the puzzled guardian may retaliate with a smack.”

    A smack? Not in a million years.
    Why else would I be riddled from head to toe with scars? I am smacked, consistently, when out of line.

    Some cats, especially my ferals, react logically to perceived danger and strike out when they must. Each one of the 75 have their own degree of trust with me, and it is my job to keep it all in my demented brain. Forgetting can be hurtful.

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