Ever wondered why your cat will go wild kneading your lap? Some cat owners call it making biscuits or kneading dough. What about how your cat chitters at bugs or sleeps with her eyes open? There are plenty of weird cat behaviors that owners have questions about – and we’re here to provide the answers. Check out these eight funny things cats do, with explanations for each so you can understand your feline friend even better.
Why Do Cats Make Biscuits?
Many cat owners ask this question in reference to the way their kitten or adult cats knead their lap or even other surfaces like fellow cats and soft blankets. This cat behavior is easy to picture: your cat gently but firmly pushes his or her paws against a surface in a pleasant rhythm. Most cats just use their front paws, but it’s not unusual to see a cat using all four paws to make biscuits.
This behavior begins when cats are kittens and they knead their mother’s chest to stimulate milk production. Even when they are no longer nursing, they still associate the motion with comfort and security – sort of like a human child sucking a thumb. It means your cat feels safe with you.
Kneading is also a functional behavior because it stretches your cat’s paws and other muscles. This stretching, kneading motion can also be a way to communicate with potential mates.
Finally, your cat makes biscuits because by kneading on your lap, they spread their scent on you. Cats have scent glands in their paws, and when they pass that scent to you, it marks you as their territory.
Why Do Cats Love Boxes?
Another amusing and curious cat behavior is their relationship with boxes. You can buy all the interactive cat toys in the world and your cat will probably still prefer the empty cardboard box it arrived in. Even large, wild cats love boxes. Why is that?
The primary reason your cat enjoys spending time in a box is that it’s a small, enclosed area that offers them protection and discretion. Cats are instinctual hunters, and being in a space like a box provides them a disguise for hunting prey (which, in this case, might be a toy you’re waving on the box’s edge).
The enclosed space also makes them feel safe and secure because they can see and understand their perimeter and keep an eye on everything. Essentially, boxes provide cats with a position of power and security they enjoy.
Why Does My Cat Bring Me Toys?
One sweet, but also funny and interesting cat behavior, is the act of your feline friend delivering toys or other “presents” to you. We don’t think of animals as understanding a culture of gift-giving, so why does a cat bring you toys and other little gifts?
Good news – part of the reason is because they love you and feel affection for you. A cat wouldn’t trust just anyone with their beloved toys! They also might be presenting you this gift as a trophy, because they are proud of it and their “hunting” skills, or simply because they’re inviting you to play with them.
Another reason your cat might be dropping a toy at your feet is because they need it to be “fixed.” You might notice this with catnip-filled toys that have lost some of their catnip scent and need to be replenished.
Why Do Cats Get the Crazies?
Just like dogs, cats have bursts of inexplicable energy that cause them to sprint, jump, and parkour around the house. The zoomies, or “cat crazies,” can be caused by a number of things, including a long nap – cats will sometimes take a sprint right when they wake up to reinvigorate their body. This is the most common cause of cat crazies – simply expelling some excess energy through a wild frenzy of activity.
It’s also possible that the cat zoomies, particularly the “midnight crazies,” may be related to your cat’s hunting instinct (chasing is an important primal drive, even if there is nothing to chase). This behavior is natural, but can certainly be annoying when you’re trying to sleep and your cat is tearing around the house in the middle of the night.
Many cat owners have also noticed their pets doing a little victory lap after using the litter box, so there might be a connection between bathroom time and the cat crazies as well.
Why Do Cats Suck on Fabric?
Kittens are suckling creatures, and you may have noticed a weaned cat sucking on fabric items like blankets, bathmats, carpets, clothing, or really anything soft and pliable. Cat owners generally call this “wool sucking,” though cats are known to suck on nearly any soft fabric material – or even the tail of another cat, sometimes!
This behavior is usually a residual habit from their suckling days, and most cats stop doing it when they are about a year old. Sometimes, it’s caused because a kitten was weaned from its mother’s milk too early – a sadly common practice because poorly informed cat lovers think a kitten can be weaned when they start eating solids.
Even if a cat is interested in solid food, they shouldn’t be separated from their mother until 12 weeks at the latest. Not only is this important to ensure they get all the nutrition they need from their mother’s nutrient-rich milk, but it also allows mother cats to impart important social behaviors that kittens might miss out on otherwise.
Why Do Cats Chitter and Chatter at the Window?
Noises are one of the most interesting arenas for strange cat behaviors. Cats have so many ways of communicating their pleasure or displeasure – purring, meowing, hissing, screeching. But of their wide and noisy repertoire, one of the most interesting sounds is the chirping or chatter a cat makes – often when they are looking out the window. So what is this about? Why do cats chitter at the window?
Usually, the chattering noise (which sometimes manifests as silent jaw movement before the sound comes along) is in response to the presence of some kind of prey – often a rodent scurrying through the grass or a bug flying through the air. The chattering is a sign your cat’s hunting instincts are going into overdrive – she wants the prey, and she’s feeling frustrated she can’t have it. You might notice your cat engaging in this behavior while playing with a toy that imitates prey, such as a feather toy or even a laser pointer.
Why Do Cats Sleep with Their Eyes Open?
In one of the creepier displays of strange cat behavior, you might have seen your cat sleeping with their eyes open. Even if it’s just a partially open eye, the reason for this cat behavior is really interesting.
In the earlier and lighter stages of sleep, your cat is still aware of their surroundings and ready to jump into action if they need to defend themselves. As they enter a deeper sleep stage, they’re unlikely to keep their eyes open. So if you notice your cat peeking at you during a nap, it’s likely they’re just getting into the groove of sleep. Because a cat’s sleep is so important, don’t interrupt that process.
Why Do Cats Push You with Their Head?
You might have noticed your cat pushing the top of their head against your leg or hand while you’re paying attention to another task. While it seems simple to chalk this up to a ploy for attention, it’s actually a little more affectionate than that.
Not only do these sweet head “boops” (or, when your cat is feeling a little more sassy, it might be a “headbutt”) communicate that your cat loves you and appreciates you, but they also have a territorial purpose. In addition to the ones in their paws, cats have scent glands in their cheeks. When they push their head and face against you, they’re spreading that scent on you to mark their territory. This possessiveness shows they really like you.
Cats Are Amazing Creatures
If you’re owned by a cat, you know that making biscuits, chattering, bringing you gifts, and those adorable head boops are just some of the things that make our feline friends the very best pets. You love all their kitty quirks, and now you know why they do some of the curious cat things they do!