Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior.

Posted by Theresa Blood on

Cats will always show us what they want. We just need to observe their behaviour within its context & respond to those needs. In this blog we take a look at what some of these are...

Why Does My Cat Rub Against My Legs & Furniture?
  • They are greeting you
  • Marking their territory with pheromones
  • Give me some food!
  • Pet me, please!
  • A sign of affection towards you
  • Just being playful
  • I’m trying to tell you something is wrong

Your cat will rub against your legs or furniture to mark its territory & leave a scent. This behaviour can often be followed by clawing the furniture. When your feline rubs up against your leg it’s both saying “hello” whilst inviting their human to scratch their back and to play with them – something they love & get a lot of satisfaction from. If it’s around feeding time, it may also be their way of saying “dinner please!” However, it’s also important to note if your cat is rubbing itself much more than usual against household items or you as it could be a sign that they’re trying to tell you that something’s not quite right.

Why Does My Cat Show Me Its Butt?

If we humans were to do this then it would be considered the height of bad manners, but to a feline this is very courteous behaviour. My cat often turns his behind towards me and I respond my giving him a few strokes along the back...he just wants a little interaction & attention from me.

Communication Using The Ears.
  • Ears forward in the usual neutral position – “I'm pleased to see you and I’m content.”  
  • Ears straight up – “I’m on high alert & listening to whatever that was. Think I’ll go check it out...”
  • Ears turned back – “Beware! I’m not in the best of moods...”
  • Ears turned sideways or back – “I’m feeling anxious...”
Why Does My Cat Slowly Close Its Eyes & Squint?

This means you’ve got a totally chilled cat with no worries on his mind & indicates complete trust in you.

Why Does My Cat Knead?  
  • It’s something they do as kittens
  • They’re making their bed comfy
  • They’re showing contentment
  • They’re marking their patch
  • They’re working out
  • They’re in season

Young kittens instinctively knead whilst nursing because it stimulates mum’s milk production, so it’s no surprise that adult cats associate the action of kneading with comfort and positive feelings. Kneading & purring whilst on their human’s lap is a compliment: it means you cat is feeling relaxed & happy. Cats also use this motion to mark their territory (you included!) using scent glands around their paws & pads. Not only that, kneading’s a good opportunity for a workout on the cat tree to keep them limber. Female cats in season will display this behavior to show they’re friendly to males.

What Does Exposing The Stomach Mean?
  • Total relaxation
  • Indicating they want a tummy rub
  • Expressing unwavering trust in their human 

When your cat rolls over on to his back it’s the ultimate compliment since it shows he feels safe around you & trusts you with his life. Of course, don’t just assume your little ball of fluff is inviting a belly rub – it might be that they’re just enjoying a chill. My cat often lies on his back exposing his tummy in this way. However, I don’t usually rub his stomach because this would startle him in his deeply relaxed state. Context is important.

Back Hunched With Tail & Fur On End
  • Indicates that kitty is feeling threatened
  • Your cat could be frightened or stressed
  • Kitty could be feeling playful

Arching the spine & fur sticking on end can mean your cat is feeling threatened & is trying to make herself seem larger as a result. However, context is everything: arching the spine is a good way to stretch after a nap & can also indicate she’s just ready to play if she looks happy and isn’t showing any signs of aggression.

Why Do Cats Like Hiding In A Bag Or Box?

It’s in a cat’s nature to be protective – they aren’t at the top of the food chain - and an enclosed space provides that little bit of extra security & warmth

Why Does My Cat Bring Birds & Mice Into My Home?
  • It’s your cats’ way of showing they love you
  • Wanting praise
  • Trying to teach you how to hunt
  • Showing you love as part of the family
  • Giving you a message about their preferred diet
  • Offering a Trophy & Showing you respect as the alpha in the pack 

You are your cat’s surrogate family: they care about you and see you as the leader of the pack and are showing respect with their offering. Not only are they exhibiting their appreciation of their human, they’re also after some praise in return for being so clever, “Look! I’ve brought home a trophy!” Furthermore, they want to teach you how hunting is done, just as their mum would have taught them, because they know you’re an inexperienced predator and need help. They may also be giving you a message that they’d like to have some raw meat in their diet...they are natural predators and just doing what comes instinctively after all

Why Does My Cat Purr?  
  • You furry pal is a happy & contented cat
  • Is Self-Medicating
  • Is Calming Down
  • Is Guiding Their Kittens

Everyone knows that purring indicates a happy cat. However, cats also use purring as a form of pain control: it’s self-calming, helps reduce stress, eases breathing & stimulates healing amongst other health benefits. The frequency of purring also helps blind kittens towards their mother’s milk during nursing.

Conclusion.

It’s not always easy to tell why a cat is behaving as it is. A good way to learn is to get to know how your cat normally is through observing her in all her various moods - sad, happy, scared, aggressive and relaxed. Some signs are subtle, but get to know them as they usually are and you’ll know when something is wrong.

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