If you're a cat person, then you're a cat person 110 percent. You love your feisty feline completely, including each and every little quirk and oddity. It's true; no matter how much you adore cats, you can't deny there are quite a few odd cat behaviors.
Whether your cat likes to chew on rubber bands, lick blankets, run sideways, or knead your lap, there's a reason (or a few) why your cat does these things. Read on to learn what causes your feline friend to exhibit these odd cat behaviors.
Why Do Cats Knead?
Kneading (aka "making biscuits") is a common cat behavior that can often get uncomfortable for you, thanks to your cat’s claws. However, your cat isn’t trying to hurt you; they’re actually showing a sign of contentment.
A cat kneading is similar to a dog wagging their tail when they’re happy or pleased. If your cat kneads, it indicates that they feel safe and comfortable. Your kitty is also likely preparing a cozy sleeping spot, so if they’re on your lap, be prepared to stay put for a bit.
Another possible reason they're kneading you, a scratching post, or a blanket is to claim that thing as their property. Cats are territorial animals and their paws have scent glands in them that are activated when they knead something. So, by kneading you, they are marking you with their scent and letting other animals know, “Hey, this human is mine!”
Why Do Cats Run Sideways?
You might notice your cat running or even jumping or skipping sideways. Typically, this odd but cute behavior is an invitation from your cat to play. You can further engage your feline friend in play by adding a fun cat toy into the mix to help trigger your cat’s natural hunting instincts.
If your cat wants to play more than usual, it could be a sort of spring fever, or a sign that you might need to work more exercise and play sessions into your cat’s usual routine.
Why Do Cats Lick Blankets?
Cats lick blankets and other kinds of fabric for all sorts of reasons, most of them harmless. For many cats, they lick blankets simply because they like the texture. Other cats might lick or suck on blankets if they left their mother too soon.
Licking is also a way for many cats to self-soothe. Licking releases endorphins which help your kitty calm down. If you’d prefer your cat not to lick your favorite throw, you can try a lick mat as an alternative.
If your cat’s licking habit is only now and then, it’s nothing to worry about. However, if your cat’s licking is excessive, you should dig deeper to determine the cause. Your cat might be highly stressed or lacking certain nutrients in their diet.
Your cat might also have pica, a type of eating disorder in which your cat eats non-edible objects. If you suspect pica or any other serious reason for your cat’s licking, see a vet as soon as possible.
Why Do Cats Chew Rubber Bands?
Cats enjoy playing with and chewing on rubber bands because of the texture; it reminds them of tendons on live prey. The rubbery feeling likely excites your cat, reminding them of their natural hunting habits.
Cats also tend to like how rubber bands smell. The chemicals in rubber bands can often resemble cat pheromones. If your cat detects these types of smells in a rubber band, they might get excited and pounce on the rubber band and try to run away with it.
Also, similar to licking blankets, your cat might chew or lick on rubber bands because they’re stressed. They could use the rubber band as a way to self-soothe. Or, in more severe cases, your cat can try to eat rubber bands because of a nutritional deficiency or the previously mentioned pica.
If your cat is only playing with a random rubber band here and there, just watch them carefully and remove the rubber band when you get the opportunity. However, if it’s constant, or you find your cat is hoarding rubber bands, talk to your vet to figure out the underlying reasons for the behavior.
Why Does My Cat Head Butt Me?
Don’t worry, your cat isn’t trying to start a fight. If your cat bumps you with their head, they’re saying, “I love you.” But, similar to the kneading, they also may be trying to mark you as theirs. Cats have pheromones in their cheeks, which is why they often rub their faces against your legs and other objects — they’re marking you with their scent.
Other Odd Cat Behaviors
Does your cat leave you little presents, like a dead mouse or bird? It might seem gross to you, but this is a big deal for your cat. Your cat is telling you “thank you” and that they appreciate you.
You also might notice your cat sleeping in ridiculously tight places (or boxes), avoiding the comfy, plush cat bed you bought them. This behavior stems from their instincts to sleep well hidden in the wild to stay safe from predators.
When your cat wants your attention they'll do anything to get it. This includes knocking things over (like pushing that glass off the table) or sitting on your laptop or book while you’re working or reading. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, look at me. I am much more interesting.”
When Should You Worry About Your Cat's Odd Behavior?
Most odd cat behaviors are just quirky feline antics, but you should always pay attention to your cat’s behavior to see if anything seems out of the ordinary. This is especially the case if your cat’s odd behavior involves nibbling on objects and plants. Remember, to always make sure to avoid keeping toxic plants in your home as you never know when your feline may decide to take a little nibble.
Call a vet if your cat's behavior seems to suddenly change, or you notice signs like loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or listlessness. If your cat has a sudden change in their eating or drinking habits or doesn’t want you to pick them up, when usually they love to cuddle, this is another warning sign that something isn’t right.
You know your fur baby best, so if your gut tells you something isn’t right, then it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make an appointment with your vet right away, let your vet know your concerns, and have them examine your kitty.
Ways To Help Decrease Worrisome Cat Behaviors
If your cat’s odd behaviors lean toward the more worrisome end of the spectrum, such as leading to destroying your property or injuring your cat, talk with your vet. In many cases, you might find that your cat needs some alternate ways to destress and could use some more exercise and stimulation.
Make sure to allow ample time for play sessions with your cat. If your cat is willing, you can even train them to walk on a leash and take them for some refreshing walks. If you decide to do this, be patient. You might want to start by just letting your cat get used to the leash first, sniffing it, and investigating. You can clip it on their collar for a few moments, then remove it, gradually increasing the time you leave the leash on your cat.
Also, give your cat the attention they crave and deserve. Spend some time doting on your feline friend, give them a special treat, and show them lots of love. You might even find that your cat could benefit from having a cat companion, but make sure your cat is willing to share their space first.
To learn more about the interesting and quirky things your pets do, check out the rest of our blog. You can find helpful info and tips on better understanding your pets so you can be a perfect pet parent.