Submitted Date 06/10/2019

We all love our cats, but sometimes they do the strangest things. Licking your hand and then biting you, making weird noises when they see a bird or rabbit outside, running the Indy 500 around your living room once a day, what gives? Here are some odd cat behaviors and what they mean.

1. Why does my cat lick then bite then lick my hand?

Cats like being petted on their terms. They don't bite your hand to be mean, just to set boundaries. My Colin will often lick my hand, give me a bite, so I stop, and then lick my hand again as if to say "thank you."

2. Why does my cat make a weird noise when they see another animal outside?

The funny noise you hear is called chattering. This odd yet charming sound that they make is because there is prey they want to catch, but there is a barrier between them. It's a cross between lip-smacking and teeth chattering. Your cat is excited yet mourning the snack that got away.

3. Why does my cat do the Indy 500 around the house?

Don't worry, this is normal. Your cat running around your house at almost 30 mph is just burning off excess energy. You will see this most with your indoor cats and don't be surprised if your home turns into an obstacle course at night. Cats naturally hunt at night, so it is normal for them to be up and about. My aunt had four cats at one time, and they would tear through the house at night. We would find the throw rugs all haphazard in the morning.

4. Why do cats knead?

Kneading is what kittens used to do to stimulate their mom's milk flow. These moments were pure bliss, and if your adult cat kneads, it still finds comfort in re-enacting and possibly remembering its early days of nursing. If your cat kneads you, take this as a high compliment because it means that they see you as a surrogate mother.

5. My cat is so lazy, why does she sleep all day?

They don't precisely sleep all day. Sure, they sleep about sixteen hours a day. Back in the old days, cats couldn't afford to miss a hunting opportunity; they had to be ready to pounce on a fast-moving dinner at any time. Cats are wired for short bursts of energy and have adapted their sleep pattern to accommodate this. They sleep lightly and often to gain long spurts of sleep rather than deep spurts of sleep. They simply pace themselves throughout the day.

6. Why do cats eyes change?

Cats have very expressive eyes. In my case, Colin has a very passionate eye since he only has one. (Before I adopted him he had a severe respiratory infection that caused a corneal ulcer and made him lose his eye.) Still, that one little eye speaks volumes and melts my heart daily. Here are some descriptions to help you ponder what your cat's eyes are saying to you.

Wide open eyes-This may mean they are alert, interested, terrified, surprised, or excited.

Half closed eyes-If your cat's eyes are half closed; they could be studying the room or surveying their territory outside. They could also be relaxed, sleepy, or bored, to name a few more reasons.

Eyes show a sliver-This could mean anything from being very relaxed and sleepy to very suspicious.

Eyes open but repeatedly closing half way-This could mean your cat adores you, wishing for something or hoping you will do something in particular.

7. Why does my cat look at me with a strange grimace?

When your cat looks at you with a strange grimace-kind of with their mouth, open-this means they have come across a beautiful complex spell. This is known as the "flehmen response," and it's a felines reaction to an amazingly pleasant scent. A cat will stop, lift its head slightly, pull back its upper lip and open its mouth just a little. This allows the smell to pass through the Jacobsen's organ, which is located on the roof of the cat's mouth. This organ helps the cat study and enjoy this great smell.

8. Why does my cat feel the need to sleep on me?

Because it's what they do! Bedtime to them is a great way to do some intense bonding with us. They sleep together in piles so they don't think that we would mind a bit. Our bodies offer comfort and security for them, along with our unique scent. Colin either sleeps on my chest (sometimes I have to ease him down to my stomach so I can breathe, he is 15 pounds after all) or between my husband and me. When he's between us, he nearly crowds my husband out of bed. Other times Colin will sleep above our heads and some nights he won't sleep with us at all. We just let him do his thing because we love him, and we know he wants to be close to us.

9. Why does my cat always want to interrupt my phone conversations?

Because they are just like having furry kids! Human kids love to interrupt their parents on the phone, and so do our darling furballs. Seriously though, when we talk on the phone, we often speak in a soft, melodic voice. What does this mean to your cat? He or she may think you are talking to them.

Cats find our animated talking irresistible and our laps an open invitation to get closer and hear more of what Mom has to say. Our cats can get confused as to why we are talking to them but not petting them. So the next time your cat jumps on your lap when you're on the phone with someone, let them settle in and enjoy some extra bonding time.

10. Why do cats twerk?

Wait. What?!!! Don't worry; cats don't twerk; however, they will move around to get comfortable. We went to visit my friend Lucia in California last year, and she took us to see another friend of ours who had at least eight cats. Lucia hadn't been around cats all that much so she wasn't exactly sure what to expect.

While we were visiting, one of the cats jumped up on the arm of the couch and proceeded to "get comfortable" on Lucia's arm. As he was doing this, she looked at my husband and me and said, "This cat is twerking on my arm. Why is this cat twerking on my arm?"

After a brief fit of hysterical laughter, I explained to her that he wasn't "twerking" on her arm, he was simply finding a comfortable way to lay on her arm. I offered to sit where she was if it was bothering her, and she said, "no." Once he got settled, all was good. I'm still chuckling at this incident today.

As you can see, there are many odd things that cats do that are bizarre to us. Still, cats are cats, and they are going to do what they are going to do so we might as well smile, love them, and go along with it.


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  • Ceara 5 years ago

    8. Why does my cat feel the need to sleep on me?
    Probably my #1 question haha! Love this piece, thanks for sharing!

  • Rick Doble 5 years ago

    As the proud co-owner of two cats (my wife and I just adopted two kittens), I appreciate these words of advice. We humans so often read our own emotions into animal behavior which is a mistake.

    • Carrie Lowrance 4 years, 12 months ago

      Congratulations on your new kittens! I'm glad you found my words of advice helpful.

  • No name 4 years, 11 months ago

    Learning the love language of cats was the best best part about getting pets. My 14 month old and my mean old man are now finally understanding each other and getting along too and its awesome. Anyone can do it!

    • Carrie Lowrance 4 years, 11 months ago

      That is awesome; I'm so glad your older cat loves your baby.

  • Robert Mitton 4 years, 7 months ago

    This is a wonderful post! I've been planning on eventually writing a story about all the cats I had in this lifetime and this article inspired me to start writing last night. It brought on a serious depression because of thinking about all of the friends I have lost over the years. When I was in my teens I was known as the "cat herder" because I was like the Pied Piper with the hundreds (over time) of cats we had on our "cat ranch". Out highest official count at one time was 48! We used garbage can lids, two of them at a time, as bowls for them! Nine acres, dozens and dozens of cats, seven horses, chickens and a black lab that thought he was a cat too. It was an amazing time in my life. My best friend now is 15 years ago, healthy as all get out and next month will be our 15th anniversary. It will probably a week or so before I publish my story here because I still have my series of SEO articles to put out.

    • Robert Mitton 4 years, 7 months ago

      What happened to my paragraphs?!?!?