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Is Your Cat Trying to Tell You Something? Cat Behavior Explained

Is Your Cat Trying to Tell You Something? Cat Behavior Explained August 23, 2019

What's the one thing your cat would tell you if it could talk?

Unfortunately, cats can't speak. But that doesn't mean they don't communicate to us. If you want to give your cats the best care to ensure they live long and happy lives, you have to understand what they're trying to tell you. Here are common cats behaviors explained...

Why Does My Cat Lick Its Lips?

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Cats lick their lips when they eat, and that's normal. But if you notice your cat licking its lips a lot when it's not eating, it could be a sign of stress or even nausea. Watch out for this warning sign, especially if you'd like to avoid cleaning cat vomit off the carpet.

Why Does My Cat Drool?

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Kittens are going to drool from time to time, but in adult cats, this is another health warning sign. It could be the result of something relatively benign like a toothache, but it could also easily be caused by kidney failure or cancer. Either way, it's worth getting your cat checked out by a vet.

Why Does My Cat Meow So Much?

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All cats meow, and some are noisier than others. But if your cat suddenly starts talking more than normal, it means something is wrong. It often means that the cat is scared, anxious or (very commonly) feels sick in some way.

Why Does My Cat Stare at Me and Blink Slowly?

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If a cat looks you straight in the eye and then slowly blinks (then possibly turns their head to the side), they are telling you that they love you. The slow blink is one of the highest honors a cat can bestow upon a loved one.

Why Does My Cat Get So Restless?

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If your cat keeps getting up and moving around, if they're making more noise than normal, and if they're trying to get extra attention and physical contact from you, it could be that they're simply in heat. This frustration manifests in a lot of different ways, which is completely understandable.

Why Does My Cat Beg?

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Cats are going to beg, obviously, because it's a good way to get what they want. But if your cat suddenly starts begging significantly more than usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong. It could be caused by parasites, or be a symptom of an illness like diabetes or cancer.

Why Does My Cat Flatten Her Ears?

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Cat's ears go down when they're frightened. Part of this is because they're trying to make themselves appear smaller, helping them to hide. If you see your cat's ears drop down suddenly, it's worth checking to make sure they're okay.

Why Did My Cat Stop Eating?

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Cat appetites can vary depending on a long list of factors. But if your cat suddenly stops eating altogether, even for as little as 24 hours at a time, it could be a sign that it's seriously ill. Don't wait to take the cat to the vet to see what could be the matter.

Why Does My Cat Show Me His Belly?

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Most people assume that if a cat shows you its belly, that means it wants to be scratched. That may be what dogs want, but it's the opposite of what cats want. When a cat makes itself vulnerable by exposing its tummy, it's showing you it trusts you not to touch its belly. So it's a direct breach of that trust to do so, which is why you'll probably end up getting scratched.

Why Does My Cat Miss Her Litter Box?

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Don't blame your kitty if they suddenly stop using the litter tray. It's probably not a behavioral issue. Commonly ignoring the litter tray could mean that your can has a urinary tract infection, and they simply don't have time to get to the tray when nature calls.

Why Does My Cat Sit on My Laptop?

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If your cat is sitting on your laptop, it could be because it's too cold in your house. Cats' ideal body temperature is higher than that of humans, so don't blame your kitty if it's seeking out the warmest place available to get a bit more comfortable.

Why Does My Cat Roll Over?

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Contrary to popular belief, cats aren't loners. They just show affection in different ways than humans do. If a cat is looking at you and rolling around, they're probably trying to get some attention. This is a good time to stroke or play with them to make them happy.

Why Does My Cat Keep His Distance?

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Why is your cat randomly ignoring you or hiding further away than normal? It's often because they're scared. Anything from new clothes to the presence of a stranger can spook a cat, so it's important to let them have their space and allow them to discover for themselves that whatever's upset them isn't really a big deal.

When Does My Cat Run Around the House?

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It's completely normal for older cats to slow down and get tired more easily. What's more worrying is when they suddenly gain extra speed and energy. This could be a symptom of hyperthyroidism, so it's worth getting them checked out.

Why Does My Cat Hide?

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All cats love to hide, so hiding in and of itself isn't a warning that anything's wrong. But if your cat refuses to come out of hiding, it could mean that they're in pain, and are curling up in a quiet corner to try to feel safe.

Why Does My Cat Howl?

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If your cat is making pained, angry howling noises, it's time to take them to the vet. Cats only make this noise when something is very wrong, so you need to give them immediate attention.

Why Does My Cat Groom Himself So Much?

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There's such a thing as being too clean. Cats can develop obsessive compulsive disorders similar to humans. Psychogenic alopecia is one that involves a cat rubbing itself bald. It's a dangerous mental condition, and likely the symptom of another problem, so have a vet examine your cat if it displays this behavior.

Why Does My Cat Wag Her Tail?

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Dogs wag their tails when they're happy, but in cats, this is a warning sign. A tail quickly flicking from side to side is an indicator that something is very wrong, and that your cat is stressed, anxious, or sick.

Why Does My Cat's Tail Twitch?

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If, on the other hand, your cat's tail is simply twitching a little, particularly at the tip, there's no need for alarm. This simply means that your cat is focusing very intently on something nearby.

Why Does My Cat Pee So Much?

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If your cat is peeing a lot more frequently, and the volume of cat pee in your home has increased dramatically, it could be a sign that they've got a urinary infection. Keep an eye on this behavior and consider a trip to the vet.

Why Does My Cat Use the Litter Box So Often?

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If, on the other hand, your cat is peeing more frequently but is only letting out a little pee each time, it could be a sign of bladder stones, which can be a far bigger problem to fix. So, yes, sadly, you really need to be paying very close attention to your cat's bathroom schedule.

Why Does My Cat Rub Against Everything?

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If a cat is rubbing their face against things, they're saying, "This is mine." Smell is very important to cats, and they like to leave their scent on their environment to help mark out their territory. At least this method of scent marking is cleaner that that used by dogs.

Why Does My Cat Yowl?

If your cat's meows change so that they're long, drawn out, and louder than usual, it could be a sign that they're in heat. This isn't a problem, but there are other noises a cat can make that communicate bigger, more urgent issues.

Why Does My Cat Point Her Tail?

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If you see a cat strutting towards you with their tail up and the tip pointing to one side, they're basically saying hello. This cat is feeling friendly and sociable, and would probably like to be stroked.

Why Does My Cat Rub Against My Legs?

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If your cat rubs itself up against you when you first get into the house of an evening, it's probably because you smell weird. You've been out and about all day picking up new smells and scents, and your cat is basically trying to fix you by marking you as part of their family.

Why does my cat have a puffy tail?

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Cats are incredibly expressive when it comes to using their tails; it's their form of non-verbal communication. So if their tail suddenly puffs up and they arch their back, looking similar to a stereotypical Halloween cat, they're indicating that they feel scared or threatened. This reaction can be caused by hearing a loud noise or someone sneaking up behind. It's nothing to cause alarm. Just remember to check on your cat and calm them down if they need it.

Why does my cat eat plastic?

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Cats love eating and playing with their food. So why plastic? Well a lot of times plastic bags have residue left over from food, so they may be tasting the food and not necessarily the flavorless plastic. However, some cats just like the crinkling sound of plastic, so eat it for the fun value. Eating plastic in very small amounts is harmless for cats. If you notice that your cat does it frequently and eats a lot of plastic, they may have developed pica, a condition in which your cat with eat non-food material such as plastic, paper, or shoelaces. If you are concerned take your cat to the vet and they will help you to develop a nutritional plan to help them break their habit.

Why does my cat chirp?

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Cats make a variety of different noises from meows and yowls to chirps. The chirping sound is usually accompanied by chattering teeth and is usually triggered when your cat sees prey. You'll notice this can happen when your cat is looking out the window and spots a bird. Some people believe cats make this chirping sound as a way to mimic the birds chirps to lure them closer. However, this theory doesn't hold since we've noticed that cats make this same sound when they see squirrels and other rodents like mice and rats. So it's just one of their hunting tactics. Let them chirp away!

Why does my cat play with their tail?

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This behavior is more common for kittens than adult cats, but can happen at any age. Cats play with their tails when there's lack of stimulation. They'll be laying around, suddenly see movement, so their predator instincts kick in and they target their tail. It's honestly adorable to watch. In some cases a cat will attack another cat's tail. It's incredibly harmless and there's nothing to cause alarm, but just like with any behavior keep an eye on it. If you notice that your cat becomes very violent, hissing at their tail, and doing it frequently, you may want to consider taking them to the vet.

Why does my cat sleep so much?


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Similar to their non-domesticated counterparts such as lions and tigers, cats sleep a lot. On average a cat may sleep between 12-20 hours a day! Cats are predators and it takes a lot of energy to play and hunt all day. Typically a cat will spend most of the day sleeping and will be awake at night since it's better to hunt in the shadows. Though a domesticated cat will adapt its sleep schedule to its feeding schedule.

Why does my cat get into the trash?

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A cat's desire to get into the trash can stems from their sense of smell. The average cat has about 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavity; making their sense of smell stronger than a human but not as strong as a dog. With that said, if they smell leftover food in the trash can, you can bet that they will climb on in. To prevent them from doing this it would be best to throw out the trash soon after tossing away leftover food.

Why does my cat pee around the house?

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Cats use their scent to mark their territory. This could mean rubbing themselves on items or "spraying" which unfortunately means peeing around the house. When a cat picks up this behavior it's usually due to not getting along with another cat. If you live in a house with multiple cats, it's something to keep an eye on. For a cat to assert their dominance they will mark their territory so the other cat/s know who is in charge. They will usually pick a corner of the room or a side on the wall. Depending on where you live, if there's outdoor cats that come close to your front or back door, your cat/s may be marking their territory to keep the outdoor cat away. Remember to pay attention to your cat's behavior when they are spraying: if they seem concerned or in pain it could be the result of a urinary tract infection.

Why does my cat sneeze?

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Just like people may sneeze due to an allergen in the air cats react in the same way. Similar to other strange behaviors, keep track of how often your cat sneezes. Specifically if your cat has watery eyes, sneezes frequently, and a runny nose, you might want to consider taking them to the vet because it may be a sign of an upper respiratory infection.

Why does my cat bite me?

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The most common explanation behind a cat biting you is that they want you to stop. Maybe you are being too loud, maybe you are poking them, maybe you are just causing some sort of irritation to them, but whatever it may be your cat wants you to knock it off. On the flip side, your cat may bite you to show affection. These bites tend to my softer and more gentle than the aggressive bites that tell you to stop. More times than not your cat is just showing off their love and affection. If they do bite too hard, just let them know and they'll change their behavior for the future.

Why does my cat paw at the window?

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Cats love looking out the window to hunt for animals passing by and to soak up some sunshine. But you may have noticed that your cat occasionally paws or scratches at the window. There are multiple reasons behind a cat doing this and all of them are pretty cute and silly. First and foremost a cat may be marking their territory. Cats have scent glands located on their pads. By pawing at the window they are notifying the nearby cats of who lives there. Another reason your cat may be pawing at the window may sound strange, but glass acts as a great tool for a cat to sharpen their claws. Or if your cat has been lounging by the window for a while, they may be pawing at the window to get in a good stretch.

Why does my cat hate water?

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There is no for sure explanation as to why some cats have an aversion to water. Scientists believe it's due to the fact that as cats were domesticated we limited their interaction with water. There's also the possibility that their distant relatives: lions and leopards avoid the water in fear of predators that lurk beneath the surface. Though there are breeds of cats that love the water. One such breed is the Turkish Angora. Not only will these cats possibly hop in the shower with you, but they may jump into your pool to go for a swim! Other cat breeds that adore water would be the Maine Coon, Japanese Bobtail, American Bobtail, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, American Short-hair, Turkish Van, and Bengal cats.

Why does my cat knead?

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You may call it kneading or "making biscuits" but it's the motion a cat makes when they push their paws forward into a surface, alternating paws. The reason a cat may do this is not straight forward, in fact there's several theories behind this cute habit. The simplest one is that the cat is trying to make an area more comfortable for sleeping. The other theory is that they are marking their territory. As mentioned earlier in this article, cats have scent glands in their pads, so by kneading they are marking that territory as belonging to them. So if a cat is kneading on you, they are showing how much they love you! The other theory stems to a cat's life as a kitten. Newborn kittens would knead on their moms to help them to produce milk to drink. Essentially it would be a motion they would make to show a sign of comfort and security.

Why does my cat put their toy in their food/water bowl?

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You may occasionally find that your cat will place their favorite toy in their food or water bowl. Cats feel that their food and water bowls are a safe and secure place. So when they bring their toy back to their food bowl they want to keep it in a safe place. It goes back to the theory that in the wild a cat would bring captured prey back to it's home so it was safe from other predators who may want to steal their catch.

Why does my cat go on the counter?

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Cats are naturally curious animals and love to climb. By climbing to a higher height they can better survey their surroundings: giving them the advantage to pounce on their prey. If you don't feel comfortable with your cat walking around the counter in the kitchen or the bathroom, invest in getting a cat tree. This will give your cat the stimulation they need as well as something they can scratch and play on.

Why does my cat drag their butt on the floor?

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Once in a blue moon, you may see your cat pulling themselves along as their butt sits flat against the floor. One of the biggest reasons your cat may be doing this is because there may be something stuck to their butt. So help them out by cleaning them up. The other reason a cat may pick up this particular behavior would be parasitic worms. In some cases you can check your cat's bottom or stool for worms though there is a possibility that you won't see anything. Either way, it would be best to take your cat to the vet.

Why does my cats wrestle with each other?

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Cats love playing with each other. This may simply be chasing around the house or wrestling. When cats wrestle it may seem violent, but it's usually harmless. Just ensure that both cats involved keep their claws sheathed, there's no hissing or growling, minimal biting, ears are remaining in a normal position, and their tails and fur are not becoming bushy or puffy. If you start to notice aggression, it's time to interfere and separate the cats.

Why is my cat skittish around men?

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This behavior can be very common with a cat that you have adopted. Since cats are unable to communicate in a human language we are only able to deduce what may have happened between them and their previous owners by how they react around different types of people. If you notice that your cat runs for cover when a man is near more than likely they experienced some sort of abuse from a man in their previous life. Let your cat enjoy their solitude then you can try to comfort them. The only way to break this behavior is to establish positive associations. Try having a guy softly call your cat over, have them offer your cat treats, or have them try brushing your cat.

Why does my cat purr?

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Purring is very common among household cats. But why do cats purr? We aren't exactly sure, but there have been many studies that have begun to shed light over this cute behavior. Originally, as a society, we attributed a cat's purrs as a sign of happiness and content. Over the years, we've realized that cats also purr when they are scared. Think of it in the same aspect as people smiling when they are nervous, it's just a defense mechanism. Cats also purr when they are in pain or labor. So scientists have theorized that maybe there is a healing factor behind a purr. Going along with this idea, people often attribute the sound of purring with peacefulness and calmness. This could possibly explain why when we are in pain, cats comfort us and begin quietly purring. Maybe they think that if their purring can heal themselves from pain, it can heal us as well.

Why does my cat cough?

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The most common explanation behind a cat coughing is a hairball. Cats develop hairballs from grooming themselves. When too much fur builds up in their stomach, there's only one of two ways it can leave the body. To prevent hairballs groom your cat regularly and make sure they maintain a healthy diet. With that said, sometimes your cat may be coughing for a different reason. Cats like to see in very weird and occasionally contorted positions. By doing this your cat may be leaning their neck on a surface. So when they awake they will start coughing. You can always rub their throat to help them alleviate the pain and discomfort.

Why does my cat want human food?

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Cats love food. A lot of times they may find that human food smells just as good if not better than their food. While having meals throughout the day you may notice that your cat wants to join you. If you want to share your food just be cautious; make sure you do your research to make sure that the food is not harmful to your cat. Also keep an eye on your cat's relationship with human food. Cats that have been adopted may need help weaning off of human food. It's important to remember that cats have their own nutritional standards. If a cat eats too much human food, it can cause dietary/digestive problems for them down the road.

Why does my cat eat plants and flowers?

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Cats are carnivorous animals, but once in a while they branch out to enjoy vegetation. Cats share some similarities with young children in that they learn about their surroundings by putting things in their mouth. If your cat likes the taste of the flowers or the plant in your house then they will continue to eat it. There are some plants that cats are more drawn to than others that are actually good for them to eat such as peppermint, lemongrass, and valerian root. Make sure that you do some research before bringing plants into your house. Lilies are insanely toxic to cats. If a cat eats any part of this plant, it can cause kidney failure or death.

Why does my cat open their mouth and look around?

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You may have found your cat walking around the house and all of a sudden they stop and open their mouth wide as they look around the room. It can be a bit alarming but the explanation behind this behavior it pretty cool. Cats do this as a way to smell and determine the origin of an interesting scent. Located in the roof of their mouth, behind their front teeth, is the Jacobson's organ. Other big cats as well as horses and snakes have the same receptor. So when they are sniffing the air and open their mouth, they are using this receptor to draw the scent in and focus it on the Jacobson's organ in order to find out where the scent came from and what caused it.

Why does my cat smell my shoes?

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When not wearing your shoes, you may find your cat sitting on them or sticking their face directly into your shoes. Besides the obvious theory that your cat may be marking their territory, the other theory is that they are taking in your scent. Humans have a heavily concentrated scent in their feet, so that means that your shoes and socks contain strong amounts of your scent. Your cat will pick up on this and want to cuddle with them to feel closer to you, specifically when you aren't home. Some cats may even like the salty taste of sweat in your footwear...

Why does my cat paw at me?

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In the middle of the night you may wake up to your cat pawing at your face. Typically a cat will paw at you for attention and affection. They would also be indicating to you that they want food or that their litter pan needs to be cleaned. Though another reason behind this sweet behavior is that your cat is marking your as their own. Cats have scent glands on their pads. By pawing at your they are placing their scent on you to let other cats know that you are their property.

Why does my cat headbutt me?

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Besides having scent glands in their pads, cats also have scent glands on their heads and cheeks. So whenever your cat gives your a little headbutt they are marking you as their owner. However, it can be more complex than just marking their scent. Cats may give you a little headbutt to show that they trust and respect you. Take note of when your cat gives you a headbutt. Sometimes it's to get your attention if you are spending too much time on your phone and not enough attention on them.