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6 Weird Cat Behaviors Decoded

Updated on September 10, 2012

Cats have various methods of communication, most or all of which can seem completely alien to us. Once we begin to understand more about our feline companions and their behavior, though, they suddenly seem far less strange. And as a bonus, we can enjoy their company and their quirks even more.



There are a number of explanations on why cats knead, which is also known as 'making biscuits'. One is that they are imitating a behavior from kittenhood when they kneaded on their mother's teat as they nursed; it is believed that the motion helps to stimulate the flow of milk through the nipples. Adult cats may find it comforting to knead as they remember their time with their mother. Another reason they may do this is to mark their territory. Because cats have scent glands on the pads at the bottoms of their paws, some of their scent is released onto the surface as they are kneading. This serves as a warning to unfamiliar cats to stay away.

Unspayed females will also knead right before going into heat as a way of letting males know of their readiness and ability to mate.



When a cat rubs against something, including you, she is marking her scent and claiming you (or the object in question) as her own. Cats have a number of scent glands all throughout their bodies, including between their toes, on their foreheads, on their temples, on their ears, on the corners of their mouths, on their flanks and rears, and along the length of their tails. These glands release different types of pheromones that send various signals; some are used to mark the cat's territory, while others signal comfort. Another well-known use of pheromones is to provide information on the animal's sexual status and receptiveness to potential mates.



When your cat rolls over, she could be asking for your attention or she may want to play. You will often find that she will do this when you are focusing on something else, such as while watching TV, browsing on your laptop, or even brushing your teeth; it is as if she is saying, "Stop what you're doing and look at me already!" Your cat may also be showing that she has complete trust in you, since by rolling over she is exposing a very vulnerable area to you: her belly. Moreover, cats roll over to mark their scents and during catnip intoxication.

Also, keep in mind that unspayed females will constantly roll over and yowl when they are in heat.



When your cat looks at you with half-opened eyes and gives you a slow eye blink or a 'wink', she is giving you the kitty equivalent of a kiss. It is her way of showing you affection and that she feels comfortable around you. Winking is also a non-threatening form of communication when done toward other cats to show peace.

Next time you catch your cat gazing at you, very slowly close your eyes and then open them. Your kitty will probably return the 'kiss'.



You may notice your cat appearing to sneer with her mouth slightly open right after smelling something. This behavior is known as flehming, which means 'lip curl' in German. It occurs right after your cat has smelled something that intrigues her, such as the pheromones from another cat. The upper lip will curl back to allow the smell to enter into the Jacobson's organ, which is located on the roof of your cat's mouth. By opening her mouth a little, it allows the Jacobson's organ to open up the ducts to the nasal cavity, thereby enabling your cat to further take in the smell and evaluate it.



You may catch your cat attempting to bury her food by scratching over and over again on the ground by her bowl. This behavior could be instinctual; she could simply be burying her food so that she can save it for later. Another reason she may do this is to show that she doesn't think very highly of the meal that you have provided for her.

When your feline buries her feces in her littler box, she may be indicating that she feels subordinate to you. Subordinate cats in feral colonies will also cover up their feces, while the dominant cats will leave their 'business' exposed to mark their territory and to show their status. Dominant cats in multi-cat households tend to leave their waste uncovered as well.

© Jennzie on HubPages, 2012

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