Liv Hagen, Manager of Shelter Behavior Services at the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota, answers a few questions our readers have about the crazy behavior of their cats.
Q: Darwin chews my hair at least once a day. Why?
ONE:Darwin cares for you! Grooming between animals is a sign of affection and recognition of acceptance in their social environment. Our hair is the closest thing to a fur coat; Some cats like to lick their arms, eyelashes, or eyebrows. Freshly washed, damp hair can make this reaction more likely, or the dog can get a lot of attention after a walk in the woods. If a family member smells “funny” to your cat, it is a sign to your cat that it must. Get to work, lick, groom, and rub the scent.
Q: Jax likes to lick the condensation on the side of the glass, while Mo likes to scoop out the water with his paws and make a nice mess. Why are you doing that?
ONE:Leaking condensation is a way to get water without leaving your current action, and it could mean Jack doesn’t love his current bowl of water or there may be tension around the house. Mo is probably just more comfortable with his paw. He can still see and react to what is going on around him, there is no pressure or discomfort on his whiskers, and paws are helpful for testing the water depth.
When two cats find alternative ways to drink water, they may have a conflict over the bowl of water. Add more bowls with different shapes and depths and if possible at different heights around the house to encourage harmonious water consumption. Some cats also like to drink away from their feeding place.
Q: My cat opens closets. She stands on her back feet, puts her claws on the door, and walks backwards. She never goes in. Why?
ONE:To hide something? How dare you. Many cats open cupboards to sneak in the back to find a secret hiding place or to examine hidden items that clearly must be of value when hidden.
Cats like to “be in the know”. How can they govern effectively when they don’t know what is going on?
every corner of their kingdom? As soon as the door is opened the puzzle is solved – on to the next one!
Q: One of my cats leaves their feces uncovered in the litter box, but spends 10 minutes scraping the floor around their pet bowl after they finish. From where?
ONE:Leaving poop uncovered can be a way to mark territory. Are there other cats at home or is a neighbor cat (or raccoon) visiting the window or patio door? Sometimes the social dynamics in a multiple cat home or perceived threat can lead to quirks in the litter box. This can also be a sign that your cat is not entirely happy with the litter you are using. If you have trash that feels awkward to sensitive paws, your cat may just want to get in, take care of business, and get out.
Connected: 10 strange cat litter habits
In the wild, cats bury leftovers so as not to lure other predators into their territory. Cats mimic this behavior in our home, even if it seems completely ineffective (some cats pull towels or paper over their bowls, other cats just paw around the bowl).
Q: My cat is licking my clothes or anything that has fleece, like a blanket or hoodie sweater. Why is that?
ONE:There are several reasons cats might lick or suckle cloth. If an animal is separated from its mother too early (that is, if it would still breastfeed), it can exhibit this behavior throughout its life. It’s a way to calm down – like a kid sucking their thumb – that they get used to.
Read Next: 5 Weird Cat Behaviors