Weird Cat Behavior

A cat dancing through the house may be playing at skills used when cats hunt prey.

Cats! We love our cat because he is fiercely independent, sometimes affectionate, often vocal and occasionally provides comic relief. Visitors share the bizarre behavior of their feline friends.

Visitor Questions about Weird Cat Behavior

Cat Steals Socks

My cat is three years old, and is fairly new to the family. She used to be a breeding cat, but was spayed shortly after coming to us. She is a wonderful cat, and we love her, but is there any reason why she keeps stealing our socks? We have found our socks in several of her hiding spots, and quite recently, underneath our Christmas tree. Does she think that these socks might be her children because she didn't get to keep her babies?~~Maya

Expert Reply

Hi Maya,

One of my cats loved shoes. From the time she was a kitten, she would stuff her nose down into a shoe and keep it there. If you tried to get your shoe from her, she would growl. It was funny, yet irritating at times. I believe the reason cats like our shoes, socks and other pieces of clothing is because they carry our scent. It is very likely that she sees you as her babies and by hiding the socks feels she is protecting her babies.

She sounds like a terrific companion. Enjoy her eccentricities and perhaps buy her a pair of socks for Christmas.

~~Lori

Why Cat Grooms Himself

My twelve-year-old male Tabby licks his chest any time anyone pets him on the lower parts of his body. He has always done this when I scratched his rear, but it seems that recently he does it a lot more. As soon as I start petting, he starts licking. As soon as I stop, so does he. Can you explain why this happens, and why he's doing it so much more now?

~~DeAnn

Expert Reply

Hi, DeAnn,

I have a Siamese that grooms herself whenever I pet her, or she is near me. I have always thought it was a sign of her being content and happy because she purrs at the same time and will sometimes lick me.

Did you know that cats spend up to one third of their awake time grooming? Most cats are able to reach almost every part of their body and groom themselves. This actually keeps your cat healthy. Their barbed tongues pull out loose hair and some parasites, like fleas. Also, the rough tongue massages the cat's skin and encourages new hair growth and the distribution of the skin's oils. Grooming can also cool him off in hot weather because of the saliva cooling the cat's skin. Cats are truly amazing creatures!

Grooming is also the way cats relieve their stress, so perhaps your cat feels slightly vulnerable when he's petted on his lower half? At his advanced age, he might simply feel a little more vulnerable and this might account for the increase in his automatic reaction.

Overall, I don't think this is anything to be concerned over. It's likely he just enjoys your attention and the two of you have bonded closely over the years. However, if you notice any other symptoms or behaviors that concern you, mention them to your veterinarian just to be on the safe side. He sounds like a sweet cat.

~~Lori

Kitten Trying to Nurse Male Cat

I have two male cats. One is seven years old. I recently discovered a stray kitten that had not been completely weaned. I bought milk replacement, but now the vet says he doesn't need it anymore. However, he tries to nurse off my older cat all day, especially at bedtime. You can hear him suckling, but I don't think he is getting anything. What could he get? Why is he doing this and should I attempt to make him stop? The older cat usually doesn't get upset, but depending sometimes he gets irritated with the kitten.

~~Chloe

Expert Reply

Hi, Chloe,

Cats receive a lot of comfort from nursing their mother. It makes them feel loved and accepted. It sounds like your kitten has chosen your older, male cat to replace this feeling of security. As long as the older cat isn't trying to harm the kitten, I'm not sure you should intervene. This is likely a behavior that he will outgrow as he gets older and has less need of the comfort nursing provides.

However, if the older cat shows extreme irritation, or you fear for the kitten's safety, I would separate the two and place them in different rooms of your house when you are not around to monitor the situation.

Thanks for your question!

~~Lori

Cat Runs Away from Litter

Why does my kitty run around the apartment like mad after he uses the litter box?~~Eric and Niblet the Wonder Kitty

Expert Reply

Hi, Eric. This is a fun question and actually has an explanation, believe it or not. First, unless he is using the litter box more than normal or howling in pain, this probably isn't anything to be overly concerned about. If you do notice he is going to the litter box more than normal, I would take him to a vet to rule out a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or kidney stones. Male cats are prone to both, so it's always best to get changes in litter box behavior checked out by a professional. You can also get your cat on special food that will help prevent these infections.

If he is just acting crazy, which we all know cats do at times, then this relates back to feral behavior that is seen in the wild among big cats. Although we are used to our domesticated cats covering their fecal droppings, things are different in the wild. In the wild, cats defecate to mark their territory. These markings are used as a sign of dominance in wild cat colonies. So, in the wild, cats will cover their feces to prevent other animals being attracted and possibly attacking the wild cat. When your house cat uses the litter box and then runs like made through the house, he is simply trying to escape the fecal dropping and any animals that might attack him because of the scent. It goes back to feral cat behavior.

Thanks for the question!

~~Lori

Cat Dancing

Hi there,

Our cat definitely displays some strange behavior. One thing she does is gets up on her hind legs and rush down our front hall sideways. When she does it, she makes a kind of screechy sound. We find it hilarious, but we would like to know what this means. She only really does it in that one hall. Then, when she sees us laughing, she stops and runs away, like she's embarrassed. If you can give me any clue as to what the heck she is doing, that would be greatly appreciated. I would maybe also like to harness this as a "trick."

Many thanks,

~~Joy

Expert Reply

Dear Joy,

Sounds like she's trying out some new dance moves. You could try playing some Beyonce or Black Eyed Peas and see how it goes. Seriously, though, there is an explanation for her crazy behavior.

There are many similarities between cats in the wild and our domestic varieties when it comes to hunting instincts and by studying big cats, we can learn about our own feline companions. Big cats in the wild, such as lions, tend to hunt in groups but domesticated cats are typically solitary hunters. However, solitary or group hunter, all cats have one thing in common and that is the way they approach the hunt. Animal Planet called it the "stalk-and-pounce" approach. It is typically during the pounce that a cat will rise on its back legs.

Almost all cats appear to "play" with their prey, but actually this is a technique they use to make sure the prey is stunned and ready for the kill.

All that said, it sounds like your cat is taking this a bit to the extreme, which turns into a hilarious sort of dance. She is more than likely just playing. Perhaps the light is reflected differently in that hall or there is some other factor that is putting her into a playful mood. Next time she does it, grab your camera and catch some footage for one of the funny video shows.

~~Lori

Weird Cat Behavior