Why Does My Cat Do That? Mis­un­der­stood Cat Be­hav­iours and Their Causes

Mis­un­der­stood Cat Be­hav­iours & Their Causes Why Does My Cat Do That?

Modern Cat - - Contents -

BIT­ING You’re pet­ting your cat and he loves it, push­ing into your hand, nuz­zling you, purring, per­haps knead­ing you with his paws. And then sud­denly— youch! He’s sunk his teeth into your hand. You may call it “love bit­ing” but fe­line be­haviourists re­fer to it as Pet­ting-In­duced Ag­gres­sion. Ac­cord­ing to “Cat Daddy” Jack­son Gal­axy, these bites mean your cat is over-stim­u­lated. As Gal­axy ex­plains to the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, “The hair fol­li­cle re­cep­tors in a cat can only take so much pet­ting be­fore it hurts.” Gal­axy rec­om­mends watch­ing for signs of ag­i­ta­tion, such as di­lated pupils, tail wag­ging or thump­ing, ears flat­tened, me­ow­ing or growl­ing, and skin twitch­ing. If your cat ex­hibits these be­hav­iours, stop the pet­ting ses­sion. Above all, don’t pun­ish your cat for bit­ing you. He’s just try­ing to tell you he’s had enough after his sub­tler forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion went un­heeded.

DROOL Like many things with cats, drool­ing is not en­tirely straight for­ward. While some cat own­ers re­port that their cat drools when happy, re­ally re­laxed, or ner­vous, this is the ex­cep­tion, not the rule. Note that cats that drool in these cir­cum­stances will most likely have done so their whole lives; if your cat is sud­denly drool­ing, it war­rants a trip to the vet— drool­ing can point to kid­ney disease, poi­son­ing, or den­tal prob­lems, among other se­ri­ous is­sues. It could also mean your cat doesn’t want to, or can’t swal­low for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, in­clud­ing esophageal block­age, caus­ing ex­cess saliva to flow from the mouth. Med­i­ca­tions can also in­duce saliva, and a cat may drool when nau­seous. Bot­tom line, if your cat sud­denly started drool­ing (and hasn’t done so her en­tire life), you should go to the vet.


Your cat has scent glands all over her body and she de­posits her scent on ob­jects (such as you) to leave a scent mark. She is, in essence, mark­ing you as hers—scent mark­ing is done to in­di­cate own­er­ship or as­sets as be­long­ing in a group. Well-bonded cats will groom each other, cre­at­ing a group scent. ( You can pro­mote group co­he­sion and thus har­mony in your multi-cat home by us­ing the same brush to groom your cats one at a time.) Cats go cheek-tocheek with you as an af­fec­tion­ate and so­cial ges­ture. This bond­ing be­hav­iour shows how much your cat trusts you, so what’s a lit­tle cat hair in your mouth for these lov­ing mo­ments?

SCRATCH­ING FUR­NI­TURE Your kitty doesn’t mean to de­stroy your vel­vet couch—she just can’t help it. Scratch­ing is an in­nate be­hav­iour cats have a need to en­gage in. Scratch­ing marks ter­ri­tory by leav­ing both a vis­ual mark and a scent ( paws have scent glands); it re­moves the dead outer layer of claws; and scratch­ing al­lows them to stretch and flex their en­tire bod­ies—prefer­ably by sink­ing their claws into a scratch­ing post and not your sofa. Turn to page 54 for Jack­son Gal­axy's tips on how to de­ter your cat from us­ing your couch as a scratch­ing post.

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