This is my take on a video explaining 10 ‘weird’ cat behaviors. The first point is that they are not weird. They are natural feline behaviors under the circumstances and from the cat’s perspective definitely not weird 😉 I address the behaviors in the order they appear in the video.
Cats Don’t Respond to Your Call
There was a study, which was well-publicised, in which it was claimed that domestic cats don’t respond to their owner’s call. The impression that the study gave was that cats had a very weak connection with their owners and were not that interested in being a companion. The video is correct in one way in that the wild cat inheritance of the domestic cat does make him or her self-contained because they are essentially solitary creatures except over 10,000 years they have developed some excellent socialising skills. However, my experience of domestic cats is that they often do come to your call if you give them time. I think domestic cats take a relatively long time to process instructions to come and this may be because they are making up their minds whether to respond or not. It also, of course, depends upon how close the cat caretaker/owner is to their cat and how often they interact with their cat. Obviously the closer the person is the more likely the cat will respond.
Cat Trying to Get Your Attention
Do you believe that when a cat sits on your computer keyboard he or she is trying to get your attention? It does look like that. However, I am not actually completely convinced. I’m not convinced in fact that cats do take deliberate steps to get their owner’s attention. They want to be with their owner sometimes and therefore they approach their owner and sit down or rest next to her. If the owner has been using a computer and it is warm then the cat will select that as a suitable spot to rest and be close to their owner. This is not seeking attention. This is an alternative explanation.
The Cat Crazies
The eighth weird feline behaviour as specified in the video is sometimes described as the ‘cat crazies’. Domestic cats go crazy from time to time running around wildly for no particular reason. In my opinion the video is correct in this instance. Cats have pent-up energy and they need to burn it up. In addition, cats can get bored and break that boredom by running around. I am convinced that if cat owners interacted with their cat a lot more you would not see a sharp reduction in cat crazies. I would argue that the root cause of cat crazies is a lack of proper interaction by their owner and the cat not having enough opportunities to entertain himself (i.e. hunt). It comes down to what is called “enriched environment” which in this instance means plenty of play which is hunting in effect.
The Urge to Eat Non-Food Items
The word “pica” comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird which is inclined to eat anything. Pica, can it seems, get mixed up with wool sucking and wool chewing which is thought to be due to early weaning. Pica may also be associated with OCD: obsessive-compulsive disorder. Another theory is that the cat is looking for something nutritious within the non-nutritious item. Eating grass is not a form of pica as there is a purpose behind this which is the ingestion of folic acid. Folic acid is a substance which aids the body’s production of haemoglobin which in turn is a substance in the red blood cells of the body which contains iron which transports oxygen around the body in the blood. The snow leopard living at high altitude eats lots of vegetation. Note: a lot of people think feline grass eating is to throw up hairballs but I don’t think this is correct.
Bringing Prey Back Home
Normally, the domestic cat is in a state of permanent kitten-hood towards their owner. They are kept that way because the human owner looks after them as a mother would. The human is a surrogate mother. But, the theory is that the domestic cat becomes confused and when she brings back prey she is treating the human owner as her kitten and bringing food back home to the nest. If the prey is alive then this may be the mother training the human how to kill prey. Feral cats and wild cats bring live prey back to the family nest as a stage in training their offspring to kill prey.
The video is correct of course but it does not mention the fact that the cat also receives scent from the human. To recap, during the head-butt the cat is depositing scent onto the human as a bonding exercise which makes the human smell like the cat but also receiving scent from the human. There is therefore a merging of the two entities, the human and the cat through their scent. This is a bonding process. Is a sign of friendship from the cat.
The video refers to cat kisses and shows us cats licking humans. It seems that there are two versions of the cat kiss. One is what you see in the video, namely, cats kissing their human and the other is when the cat touches noses with their human companion. The latter is a form of friendly greeting and the former is allogrooming: the grooming one cat by another. At this point the domestic cat sees you as a cat and is grooming you in an act of friendship. In addition, sometimes cats like to lick you because of the perspiration on your body which is salty.
You’ve seen lots of videos of this: domestic cats looking out of windows at birds and chattering their teeth. It is believed to be the domestic cat practising the spine bite which kills the bird by severing the spinal column at the back of neck. It’s instinctive and the domestic cat is driven to do it because he or she is behind a windowpane and unable to do it properly in killing prey. It is probably born out of frustration. My cat kills larger birds with a throat bite, suffocating the bird. I find this unusual and upsetting.
Knocking Things off Shelves and Tables
The video refers to this as a hunting exercise. I tend to favour the argument that cats do this to entertain themselves. I would argue that it is born out of boredom and the cat learns that if they knock an object off a shelf it falls and bounces on the ground. Essentially what they’re doing is animating an inanimate object and making their world temporarily more exciting. It may be an extension of hunting in that they are creating prey out of something inanimate but behind it is a lack of entertainment I would suggest.
Cats Love Boxes
I agree with the video and that cats like to wedge their way into boxes to ensure that the sides of the box are pressing against their bodies. This creates a sense of security for the cat. I don’t think that this is an act of hiding because the cat is timid and fearful. It is just something that they like to do because it feels good and makes them feel more secure. It may be an indication, by the way, that domestic cats need this sense of security which they don’t always get. There may be underlying default position that the domestic cat often feels insecure because they are living amongst giants, human beings in unnatural surroundings with strange noises etc..