Cats are wonderful, mysterious creatures. To put it simply - sometimes, they're just plain WEIRD! Some cats yowl in the middle of the night. Others give weird nibbles to show signs of affection or bring us gross gifts in the form of tiny, dead animals. As caretakers and companions to these fluffy enigmas, us humans are often left scratching our heads wondering, “why do cats do that?” Here are six WEIRD cat behaviors - explained.
1. Showing Us Their Butts
It's all fun and games 'til your cat shoves its butt in your face. Isn't that the old saying? But it turns out there's a reason why your cat likes doing an about-face in your, well, face. It's just their way of saying, "Hello! I trust you." Cats communicate mostly through a mixture of body language and scent exchange, so by showing you their rump, they're letting you know they care. They may also be inviting you to (as gross as this sounds) take a nice whiff. Cats use scent to interpret their environment around them, as well as their human counterparts, and they probably think we do exactly the same thing!
2. Bringing home dead animals as "gifts".
Ah, there's nothing like the feeling of waking up to a dead lizard in your slipper. It's squishy. It's gross. It's also a little bit sad for the poor, defenseless lizard. There are a few theories on why exactly cats bring dead animals home as gifts. Some behaviorists think that cats basically see humans as big, dumb animals who can't hunt or take care of themselves. So they bring us fresh prey to take care of us. Leave it to a cat to be caring and judgmental in one go!
3. Running around after pooping.
You might be familiar with the concept of "zoomies" from your cat running up and down your hallways at 4 am. Zoomies are essentially when your cat suddenly darts and dashes through the house at full speed, seemingly for no reason.
Many of our fluffy friends have a funny little habit of using the litter box, only to dash like mad around the house. Theories abound! Some think this post-poo sprint is a left-over survival instinct, and the mad dash after being in the vulnerable position of defecation is to escape potential predators.
Other theories suggest a feeling of "poo-phoria", which leads to elation and excitement that needs to be expressed through bounding through the house.
4. Licking plastic bags.
There are several theories behind why cats lick plastic bags: leftover food smells, or the enticing, crinkly sound they make. If you notice your cat is attracted to the sound of a crinkling bag, find them crinkly cat toys that imitate this sound to encourage them to play with the toy instead. Plastic bags are potential choking and suffocation hazards, even for cats. Crinkly cat toys are often filled with catnip, too, making it extra fun!
The most likely reason cats lick plastic bags is that most plastics, and plastic bags, are often treated with stearate, which are derived from animal fat or tallow. Others use materials like fish oils or even fish scales to keep the plastic from sticking together, the scent of which might be enticing to some kitties.
5. Choosing the cardboard box over the nice, comfortable cat bed.
Cats are still governed by their natural instincts, passed down for generations from their wild ancestors in the deserts of Africa. Following in these sandy paw prints, cats naturally seek out sheltered, covered hideouts from which to stalk their prey. Cardboard boxes often provide an ideal hiding spot.
If your cat is a fiend for cardboard boxes but you're tired of the eyesore, consider finding a hooded bed or enclosed cat house, or a similar build that replicates the safe, anxiety-reducing environment of a cardboard box.
6. Drinking from sinks instead of their perfectly clean water bowl.
There might be many a reason cats prefer to drink the running water from sinks or bathtubs rather than their freshly changed water dish. Some cats don't like to drink from bowls that touch their whiskers, one of the most sensitive parts of a cat's body.
Cats also have poor depth perception and may struggle to see the water right in front of them. If your cat prefers drinking from a running faucet, it might be because they can hear the running water better than they can see the still water in the bowl. Try a circulating water fountain designed for cats that prefer running water to encourage your cat to drink more - without you having to leave the faucet running!
7. Why do some cats dip their paws in water to drink?
There may be a few reasons cats dip their paws in water and then lick it off to drink. It can be unique to each cat, but one main cause could be whisker discomfort caused by their water dish. Cat whiskers are very sensitive tactile hairs and are rich in nerve endings - so a dish that brushes or squishes their whiskers might make drinking uncomfortable. They might learn that it's easier to dip their paws! A wide, shallow bowl that allows plenty of whisker room can help with this issue.
It could also just be fun for them to splash in the water and create movement!
Do you have more questions about why cats are so weird? Let us know in the comments!