Cats are mysterious creatures that have their own language and ways. Does your kitty ever exhibit whacky behaviour and you think yours is the only crazy cat in town? Have you ever wondered why your cat loves to present you with their butt, why they claw your legs when they are chilling on your lap of why they eat grass? Is something wrong, or are they trying to tell you something? Read on for all the answers!
1. My cat is rolling on the floor
Sometimes, your cat will stop, drop and roll on the floor, while meowing and nuzzling the ground with her head. Is she itchy or merely having a lovely stretch? A cat rolling on the floor says more about her state of mind then you might think. The belly is a cat's most vulnerable spot. By wriggling on the floor, she is showing the world, and most importantly, you, her belly. She is trying to tell you: "Dad, I am happy as can be sitting here on the floor with you, and I hereby grant you permission to pet me!" Note that even though she is showing you her belly, she might not want you to pet her there as most cats don't actually enjoy getting belly rubs.
2. My cat presents his butt when I pet him
This will probably sound familiar. You're just getting into some lovely cuddling with your kitty, when he turns around, whips up his tail and hey presto: a cat bum in full glory. No worries, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you. On the contrary, the show of bum means they trust you completely. Cats communicate through body language. When cats don’t know each other very well, they will sniff each other’s heads and neck. When they are somewhat better acquainted, they will smell each other’s sides. But the best of friends? They sniff bums! That’s where the glands that contain their “signature scent are, the smell that says: “This is me”. The bum sniff is akin to a human hug of a kiss hello. Luckily, you are not expected to sniff your cats bum: an excellent head scratch will suffice!
3. My cat buries his poo
Burying poop is something cats did way back in the day when they were still roaming the wild. The most crucial characteristic of poo is, of course, the smell, something that is easy to pick up by other predators. So they bury it. Which means that when your kitty buries his poo, he may be trying to mask his presence, as other dominant cats may perceive the smell as a threat to their territory. Burying the poop prevents a fight. If he is spoiling for a fight, of asserting dominance over other cats, he may choose not to bury his poop under sand or litter.
4. My cat brings home dead animals
Cats are born hunters. Your feisty feline was domesticated not so long ago and since then always had a role to play as a mouse hunter. These wild skills won’t fade from their DNA any time soon. So your cat may bring home their catch of the day and proudly presents it to you. Gross habit? No, your kitty is trying to teach you something. Mama cats take home (live) prey to their babies to teach them how to hunt. So when your cat presents you with a tasty snack, it means she thinks of you as family. Not too keen on their choice of gifts? Try to satisfy their hunting instincts with loads of play.
5. My cat eats grass. Is she a vegetarian?
Cats are true carnivores and need meat to survive. Still, from time to time, you spot your cat nibbling on blades of grass or leaves. Why? Science has several possible explanations for why cats eat grass. It may contain vital nutrients, such as folic acid and fibre, that help cats to get rid of hairballs, as you often see cats vomit after eating grass. Another theory is that grass is a natural laxative. When a hairball is stuck too deep inside that cat, it needs to exit on the other end, and grass may facilitate that process. So don’t worry when your cat nibbles leaves. Just make sure the plant isn’t toxic.
6. My cat only sits in cardboard boxes and not the basket I bought her
Here you are, trying to spoil your cat with a luxuriously soft basket and he will only sit in the cardboard box that has just delivered your new toaster. Is your cat ungrateful? Not necessarily. Confined spaces, such as (tiny, tiny) boxes, make your cat feel safe. Cats don’t really like sitting unprotected in an open space. A box is an ideal solution: Nobody sees me, but I can keep an eye on everybody.
Cats love to sit perched on high for the same reason. From his vantage point, the cat is not only able to spot prey, but he’ll also see other predators approaching.
7. My cat throws everything on the floor
Tossing things on the floor with a well-aimed tap is one of the biggest cat mysteries and one that scientists haven't figured out yet. Some theories say it is an expression of curiosity. Kitty paws are sensitive, and by touching (or tipping over) something they are learning more about the object. Your cat may also be bored. Maybe he wants to play and is trying to get your attention. And nothing gets attention more quickly than a broken vase.
8. My cat is clawing my sofa/leg/arm/the floor
Back in the day, when your cat was still a kitten, she used her paws to gently knead her mother's breast to stimulate the milk. Some scientists think cats knead soft surfaces later in life because they are as happy as they were when they were drinking with their mum. You could even say that your cat is kneading her surrogate mother when she is going to town on your leg.
Cats also use their paws to discover and claim the world, as they have scent glands in their paws. Kneading is also done to create a cosy spot to sleep that's entirely theirs. Whether it's a surrogate mother or a place to sleep, your kneading cat is a happy kitty!
9. My cat is all over my laptop, sits on my newspaper, swipes at the mobile phone in my hand - all at the same time!
Do you spend a lot of time on your phone, or do you work from home? Your cat just might be getting a wee bit jealous! When he is prancing all over your keyboard and nuzzling your laptop with his head, he is trying to tell you: “Why are you giving this THING all your attention for hours and you still haven’t fed me?!” Your cat may also insert himself on your lap when you are reading the paper, or swipe at the game controller in your hands. These are all attempts to get your attention.
10. My cat sometimes storms around the house like a raging bull
Does your cat ever go nuts and run around the room as if she is hunted by a swarm of bees, meowing loudly? This is normal behaviour for a cat that has too much energy. Some cats do this during the night because that is the moment their hunting instincts kick in. By putting in some extra playtime and provide her with entertainment to keep her busy during the night, such as puzzles, you can make sure she doesn’t wake you up with loud meows.
Clearly, what you thought was a whacky habit, always turns out to be interesting and meaningful. It’s useful to understand your cat and his body language. You won’t be offended by a cat bum in your face and know that a dead mouse in your kitchen is a positive thing. (That’s something to repeat to yourself when the next victim is on your kitchen floor 😉.) When you understand your kitty, you’re better equipped to anticipate his needs, and your bond will get stronger and stronger.