Do Cats do That?
Amy D. Shojai
We love our cats but don’t always understand their
seemingly bizarre behaviors. Sure, some things our cats do
are unique to them but other
actions are shared by felines the world over. Here are seven weird cat
behaviors, and what they mean.
The first three months I had my cat, her head turned pink from head-bonking
my lipstick. Rubbing behavior, which includes the forehead, cheeks, and
full-body slams, is called bunting, and it transfers the cat’s
signature smell onto objects to mark territory. That means head bonks
are kitty compliments declaring you to be so important, he’s marked
you as his personal property.
You’ve probably seen many cats perform an “elevator butt” pose
with their front-end down and tail flagged high. In some instances, it
is the equivalent of offering to shake hands as felines sniff each other’s
anal areas to say howdy. When your cat jumps into your lap, turns around
and raises its tail, he or she is offering you the not-so-pleasant invitation
to scratch that hard-to-reach itchy spot at the base of the tail. Intact
female cats also do the elevator butt posture to entice male cats to
Many cats come running when owners talk on the phone and they pester
and meow like they want in on the conversation. What gives? Your cat
sees you talking and since there is no one else there, thinks that you
must be talking to them. Also, without realizing it, you may be rewarding
that behavior by stroking the cat while you are sitting and talking on
the phone, which encourages your kitty to come running next time the
Why do cats throw themselves onto the ground at your feet and flip back
and forth? Sure, sometimes it is because a cat is under the influence
of catnip but more often, rolling back and forth places a cat in a vulnerable
position, and is a way for cats to request attention. If you you grant
the kitty’s wish and fuss over it, your cat knows to do this again
the next time he wants your love.
Owners take for granted that all cats naturally choose to cover potty
deposits but this isn’t the case. Some cats — especially
unowned roaming felines — may not cover at all as uncovered feces
can announce who owns the territory. Some indoor cats also want their
potty graffiti seen and admired by the other cats or humans. Though if
mom-cat is fastidious about covering her mess, her kittens will copy-cat
There are many names for this common rhythmic paw-pushing kitty behavior — treading,
making bread, even “pawtycake.” But one thing is clear, the
behavior takes hold when felines are very young, as kittens knead against
mom-cat’s breasts to stimulate milk flow. When adult cats knead,
it generally reflects deep contentment and safety, and yes — love.
Cats typically target soft objects such as fuzzy blankets, pillows, or
a beloved owner’s lap.
Why do some cats immediately seek out their humans the minute they head
into the bathroom? First, a closed door is a challenge and an affront
to a curious cat which is one reason why you’ll see furry paws
reaching under the door or cats racing to join their people in the bathroom.
More importantly, the bathroom gives cats a captive audience as people
glued to the facilities aren’t able to move away.