Real Answers About the Things Cats Do

Introduction: If you are a cat owner, or thinking about owning a cat, you may or may not know that there are tons of curious little habits that cats have. Many people misconstrue these habits for certain feelings or wants a cat may have. In this article I will go over ten things cats do and explain the real truth behind the odd, curious, silly, and strange habits cats have that cats owners should know about.

Why Do Cats Purr?

Many people believe purring is a sign of happiness, but cats can purr when they are frightened or stressed. Purring is the equivalent of our facial expressions. Sometimes cats will even have different tones when they purr, hinting more towards their current feelings. The actual sound of a cat purring is caused by vibrating muscles surrounding the cat’s larynx. Specific stimulation in an area of the cat’s brain causes purring. When cats are born they purr, much like a human baby would cry. As the kitten matures, the purring becomes more complex and can reach several tones. Purring is simply an involuntary reaction to a certain situation or feeling a cat has.

Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?

Whether or not cats land on their feet depends on the height from which the fall. When a cat falls, they rely on their eyes and their vestibular apparatus (located in the ear). When a cat falls the sequence goes as follows:

1) The cat corrects its head so that the chin is facing downward.
2) Then the front half of the body is rotated 180 degress to match with the head.
3) After the front legs are correctly in place, the cat then rotates the back half of its body.
4) Once the cat’s feet touch the ground, it will arch its back to cushion the impact of the fall to try and prevent injury.

Obviously this can happen in the blink of an eye. It depends on the height at which the cat falls because with more time before hitting the ground allows more time for the cat to correct its body. Most falling injuries that cats have are from short distances. Cats are also known for bad depth perception.

Why Do Cats Scratch the Furniture?

Cats scratch for many reasons. Since cats can not physically cut their own nails, scratching keeps their nails sharp and in shape (perfect for hunting mice and kitty toys). When a cat scratches, it usually removes the dead outer shell of their nail. Just like when our nails feel better after a manicure, scratching offers the same relief for cats. When a cat scratches furniture, it can often mean the cat is marking its territory. The sebaceous gland in the cat’s paws leave a scent that only other cats can smell. Ways to deal with constant scratching are de-clawing your cat or training your cat to use a scratching post.

Why Do Cats Go Crazy Over Catnip?

The stimulating effect that catnip has over felines is caused by nepetalactone, a hallucinogenic compound that is similiar to the scent of a cat’s sex pheromones. The way a cat acts while under the influence of catnip is similiar to a cat’s sexual behavior. Neutered cats can also become under the influence of catnip. Usually the reaction to catnip lasts 10 minutes on average. About 1/3 of cats are immune to the effects of catnip, as are most young cats and kittens.

Why Do Cats Use a Litter Box?

Using a litter box goes back to cats’ feline relatives who bury their feces in order to hide their scent from predators or others competing for territory. Our own furry friends continue this habit, which is why many people consider cats to be such clean pets. Some cats may be picky about the scent of their kitty litter and may refuse to use their box because of this. Try out different brands and scents if you have this problem.

Why Do Cats Hate Getting Wet?

Firstly, not all cats hate getting wet. Some cats may enjoy swimming or sticking their paws in water (toilets, sinks, water bowls, or fish tanks). The fact is that cats don’t have the same protection from water that dogs and humans have. Wet cats take longer to dry because they are literally soaked to the skin. Cats’ coats lack the oily substances that we and our canine friends have. Despite whether you bathe your cat or not, they still prefer to groom themselves and getting them wet only makes the task more difficult.

Why Do Cats Rub Against Our Legs?

This action is combination of a greeting and a claim to ownership. When a cat rubs against our legs, they are leaving their scent (though it is undetectable by humans). This gesture allows the cat to show other cats that this person belongs to them. If your cat rubs against your legs, thank him for the gesture. However, cats that constantly rub against a persons’ legs may feel unsure of themselves or fear abandonment.

Why Do Cats Swish and Sway Their Tails?

Swishing of the tail indicates a cat’s feelings. A quick swaying motion could mean your cat is angry, or perhaps he is hunting a moth on the wall. A slow moving tail can mean your cat is relaxed. When a cat believes it is in danger, it can puff up the fur on its tail to make itself look bigger and more aggressive. The tail is the cat’s most versatile form of communication with us.

Why Do Cats Like Crinkly and Sqeaky Sounds?

Crinkly and sqeaky noises are high pitched sounds made by a cat’s typical prey. Whether it be birds, mice, or bugs, a cat can pick up high noises. Different noises can mimic prey, therefore it catches a cat’s attention. A cat’s ears are always on the alert. Even when they sleep their ears can pick up noises causing them to twitch.

Why Do Cats Play with Their Prey?

There is no doubt that when a cat catches a mouse they are extremely proud. When a cat hunts, even if it is a harmless moth in the house, they will keep it’s prey alive. Cat’s are naturally attracted to quick movements and motions. Playing with its prey becomes an amusing game. Even when the prey is dead, the cat may still seem excited and continue to play with it. Cat toys shaped as mice serve the same purpose of being dead prey for a cat to play with.

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