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  • Cierra Voelkl

What Is Your Cat Telling You: Breaking Down Cat Behavior

Updated: Jan 24

In honor of Wednesday, January 22nd being "Ask Your Cat a Question Day", we are going over what your cat might be trying to tell you based on their body behavior and actions. Cats are often more difficult to read than dogs because one action might seem they are welcoming pets but then they go and swat at you. So let's dig a little deeper into common behaviors and what they mean.



1. Chattering

You may have seen your cat sitting in a window sill and they start "chattering" and making little noises. This is a natural thing that they often do when they see a bird or another animal like a squirrel outside and are frustrated that they can't get to it. They might also do this while actively hunting.



2. Belly Up

While sometimes, a cat showing you're their stomach is an invitation for belly rubs, it can also be an indication they want to fight as it can be a defensive action. If your kitty shows their belly on a regular basis, this also means they are comfortable and trusting around you!



3. Kneading

Also known as "making biscuits" is something a cat might do for a few reasons. Overall, it goes back to their nursing days as a kitten. When they are doing this on you or something soft like a blanket, they could be expressing happiness/content or trying to alleviate stress. Either way, it's a comfort thing for them and feel lucky that they've chosen to make biscuits on you!


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4. Zoomies

Dogs aren't the only ones to do zoomies. Cats can also get these bursts of energy when they are super energetic or happy. It may look like quick little bursts or straight up bolting from one end of the house to the other.


5. Twitching Ears

When those ears are going back and forth, it's a sign of agitation. So whatever you're doing, back off unless you want some sharp claws in your arm!


6. Knocking Things Over

If your cat is being a brat and knocking over things like your water cup, pens off a table, etc., this is often a sign that they are just bored. Just like small children, they can become destructive when bored. They are trying to entertain themselves and giving in to their curiosity!



7. Spraying/Marking

One of the worst smells out there that can come from pets is a cat spraying or marking either indoors or outside your house. This is mainly done by male cats who are not neutered or neutered later in life after they have already gotten into the habit but it still can be done by both spayed and unspayed females, but they have less of a reason to do so. They are usually doing this to leave a message for other cats, even in their own home as if they were out in the wild. According to the ASPCA, "By urine marking, a cat tells other cats of his presence and makes a statement about such things as what piece of property is his, how long ago he was in the area and, over time, when other cats can expect him to return. Cats can even advertise when they are looking for a mate." Cat marking also leaves a more distinct and putent smell that is often hard to get out of things like furniture and carpet. Here are some tips on how to clean it and prevent it from happening.


8. Bunny Kicks

You've either seen your cat grab a toy or even grab your own arm, wrap all legs around it and start kicking with their hind feet very rapidly. This is what's known to some as "bunny kicking" but there are two types: play kicking and defensive kicking. So what is your cat doing? Usually, when they grab onto your arm during playtime and to them, your hand is a toy but they might get a little too enthusiastic about it and you hope the claws don't come out. Cats might also display this action when they are agitated i.e. you're giving them unwanted belly rubs or you're petting their back and they flip over and grab you and start kicking away after giving out signals like finger nibbling and meowing that they don't want to be pet. Defensive kicking will also most likely involve claws out and biting.



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