Cats are mysterious creatures, and when you watch your funny feline’s antics, you likely wonder why on earth they are behaving so strangely. While we may never completely understand our feline companions’ wacky ways, many of their weird behaviors actually have an explanation. To help you better understand your curious cat, our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Wallisville team explains seven odd feline behaviors. 

Odd cat behavior #1: Kneading

When your cat presses their paws against you and massages back and forth (i.e., making biscuits), they are acting on an instinctive behavior they first used as a kitten to stimulate milk flow from their mother’s mammary glands, which encouraged better milk production. Adult cats continue to find comfort in kneading, and also use the behavior to alleviate stress and mark their territory. 

Odd cat behavior #2: Chattering

You have probably seen and heard your cat chattering their teeth while staring intently. A cat typically makes this oddly adorable sound when they see a prey animal beyond their reach, such as a bird outside a window. Your cat is likely performing this behavior because they are excited and slightly aggravated that they cannot hunt. Your cat may also make this sound while watching a TV program or app that shows mice, birds, and other prey.

Odd cat behavior #3: Hiding in boxes and small spaces

Is there anything cuter than an adorable kitty face peering out at you from inside a paper bag, or popping up from the depths of a cardboard box? Cats love small hiding places and somehow manage to cram themselves into the tiniest of spaces. Cats are natural predators, and boxes and other protected spaces are the perfect hiding place to stalk prey safely. These small spaces provide your feline friend with comfort, security, and warmth, reducing their stress levels. So, the next time you want to give your cat a gift, simply give them the box in which the toy came.

Odd cat behavior #4: Headbutting

When your cat forcefully rubs their face on you and other objects, they are butting. Cats have scent glands on their face and rub against you as a way of scent-marking. Basically, your cat is proudly claiming you as their own by releasing pheromones from their facial glands—so consider their headbutts an act of love. 

Odd cat behavior #5: Getting the zoomies 

When your cat has a case of the late-night zoomies, they may race throughout your home like they’re being chased, literally bouncing off the walls, and meowing like their life depends on it. Why does your cat choose such odd hours to release their pent-up energy? Contrary to popular belief, cats are not true nocturnal animals, but rather they are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk when their rodent prey is out and about, which explains the timing of their zoomie escapades. After sleeping most of the day, your cat is ready to stretch their muscles by chasing imaginary prey, no matter that the time is inconvenient for you.

Odd cat behavior #6: Licking people

While your cat’s tongue feels like sandpaper rubbing across your skin, know that your cat’s licking is coming from a place of love. When your cat licks you, they are showing affection and marking you as their own. A cat’s rough tongue is normal—designed with backward-facing hooks that grab their fur for grooming, and causing discomfort when sliding across your sensitive skin. 

Odd cat behavior #7: Drinking from a dripping faucet

If your cat prefers drinking from a dripping faucet rather than from their water bowl, they are doing so because their instincts tell them to gravitate toward running water as opposed to stagnant, still water. Your cat instinctively knows that running water is less likely to be contaminated with bacteria and disease. In addition, water from the tap tends to be cooler and more oxygenated, and therefore tastes better. If your cat is fascinated with drinking from the faucet, consider providing them with a cat drinking fountain. A fountain continuously offers your cat fresh water, which encourages them to drink more and stay healthy and hydrated. Once your cat begins drinking from a fountain, the dripping faucet will become a distant memory. 

Most odd feline antics can be explained, but if your cat’s behavior becomes concerning, contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Wallisville team to rule out an underlying health condition.