Cats may be the most intriguing domestic animals. It's hard to tell just what they're thinking in those intelligent heads of theirs. Here is some insight into the meaning behind certain cat behaviors.

  1. Why does your cat lick your hair or face?The first thing a kitten knows is its mother licking. Grooming conveys love and caring.
  2. Why does a cat seek the visitor who doesn't like cats? Ignoring a cat is the opposite of aggressive behavior, so the cat sees this as "cat-friendly" and inviting.
  3. Why does your cat head-butt you? The cat is showing affection.
  4. Why does your cat rub against you?Cats have scent glands on their cheeks and are marking you as their territory. Same goes for rubbing on furniture.
  5. Why does a cat sometimes clean its fur after being petted? Either the cat is getting rid of your smell, or he is tasting your scent.
  6. Why do cats suck wool or clothing?Either the cat was weaned too early and the scent of the lanolin reminds him of his mother, or the cat needs more fiber in his diet.
  7. Why does a cat walk slowly and avoid eye contact when passing another cat?Cats are territorial. When a cat doesn't want to a confrontation, it will make a wide, slow path around the other cat, usually avoiding even looking at it.
  8. Why does a cat scratch outside the litterbox? The cat probably had unpleasant experiences getting his feet soggy or dirty - clean the box!
  9. Why does a cat purr?Usually because it is content. Some cats will purr when frightened or in pain.
  10. Why does your cat turn its back on you after a scolding?Your body language when reprimanding a pet includes staring or other aggressive behavior. The cat usually responds in a submissive fashion.
  11. Why does your cat bring you his prey? This is a present. He is trying to teach you how to catch mice. The cat is bringing prey home to where it is safe and he usually eats. The cat is bringing you fresh food.
  12. Why do some cats put their toys in their water or food dish? Cats see their food area as part of their territory, so they put their favorite toys in a "safe" place. Some cats will put away their toys when they're through playing with them.
  13. Why does your cat bite your arm or cheek and hold on briefly? Think of it as the cat way of kissing.
  14. Why do cats roll on their backs? It's a sign of his complete trust in you, or he wants to play. If the cat is in heat, it's a form of foreplay. It's also a part of their social standing.
  15. Why do some cats go crazy over catnip, but others ignore it?The response to catnip is the result of a gene; if the cat doesn't have the gene, it cannot react to catnip.
  16. Why does a cat sometimes "sneer" when smelling something?When a cat discovers an interesting, usually intense odor he wants to smell it more deeply. Called "flehming," it is drawing the odors into the Jacobson's organ, on the roof of its mouth.
  17. Why does a cat hate getting wet?Actually, many cats enjoy water and may enjoy fishing and swimming. But, it has to be on their own terms - not forced.
  18. Why do some cats insist on drinking from a dripping faucet? Cats prefer fresh food and water, and running water is appealing for that reason. Water coming out of a faucet is appealing to their sense of sound and sight. Some cats will put their paw into their water dish and "swirl" it around so they can drink "running" water.
  19. Why does a cat hide when it is sick or dying? Instinct tells a cat to hide where a predator can't find them when in a vulnerable state.
  20. Why does a cat spend so much time grooming?Besides hygiene, grooming helps cats cope with confrontation or embarassment (if a cat falls off a chair, the first thing he does is nonchalantly wash himself, as though he intended to get down in the first place.)
  21. Why do some cats tip over their water dish, or take food out of the dish and eat it off the floor?Most cats do not like bowls if the sides touch their whiskers.
  22. Why is a cat able to land on its feet from a fall?When falling, the cat uses its tail to right itself and swivels its body in mid-air, so that it is facing the ground, and lands with its back arched to absorb the shock.
  23. Why does a cat demand attention when you're on the phone?The cat thinks you are talking to him and is responding to your conversation with him.
  24. Why does a cat scratch the furniture or a scratching post? The cat is marking its territory (cats have scent glands between their paw pads); or, the cat is removing the outer layer of nail.
  25. Why do cats like crinkly sounds?Crinkly sounds remind the cat of the high-pitched noises of rodents, birds, and crickets. The crinkly sound of a piece of paper or a paper bag stimulates the cat's "prey response."
  26. Why do cats chew on plants? The grass might help the cat get rid of fur in its stomach, or that grass provides fiber or vitamins and minerals not found in meat.
  27. Why does a cat suddenly bite or hiss at a person after it's been petted for a while? If a person persists in touching a sensitive area (tail, ears, or belly), the cat might give a gentle nip to as a way of staying "stop."
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