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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Behavior > Why they do what they do

Why Do Cats Behave Like That?

You just got out of the shower and are sitting on your couch. Your cat jumps up and begins to lick your moist skin. Thinking she is thirsty, you go out into the kitchen and refill her water bowl. Instead of lapping up the fresh water, she starts licking your leg.
Commercial products carry ingredients that are attractive to cats. Strong scented shampoos and soaps also carry animal renderings. Your cat isn’t interested in the moisture on your skin; she is interested in the scent the product carries. 

Try switching to organic soaps and shampoos, or take your regular body lotion and add in some lemon oil. Make sure you don’t use much or the lotion will be sticky. Use this lotion to deter your cat’s behavior.

Why is my cat eating dirt, licking concrete, eating wool and other clothing?

  • Cats that eat wool are afflicted with pica. Generally the cat sucks the items.This behavior should be checked out by your vet.
  • There are some diseases that will prompt your cat to eat items not a usual food source. Some people believe it is nutritional deficiency while others think that it is a brain disorder.
  • Whatever causes it, sucking and eating non- food items can be dangerous. Redirect their attention to something safe, like a stuffed animal, or a small dog toy.  Try adding fiber to their diet, or slowly switch what they are eating to a higher quality food to see if that makes a difference.
  • If your cat is licking concrete, she could be anemic. A simple blood test will determine if she is.

Why is my cat playing in the water bowl?

Cats as a rule do not like standing water. If your cat is splashing water all over your kitchen from his water bowl try one of the following tips:

  • Buy a small, deep metal bucket. Put a hook in the wall near the floorboards, and hang the handle on the hook. The bucket should rest on the floor. The cat won’t be inclined to play in the water now.
  • Purchase a Drinkwell pet fountain. Cats love running water. They tend to splash only in still water.
  • Take a large roasting pan and put the water bowl inside the pan. The cat can step inside the pan, splash around in the bowl and the water goes into the pan and not on the floor.

Why is my cat racing around the house early in the morning?

This is instinctual behavior. He is active in the early morning hours because this is when his prey is available.  With his extra keen hearing and his ability to see well with only reflected light, your cat is in high prey drive. He hears bugs in your walls, cats outside or a mouse.

You can redirect his prey drive by engaging him in play right before you go to bed.  Play with him using an interactive toy such as Da Bird. Before you stop, give him a nice meaty treat, than put the toy up. He should sleep the night away.

Why is my cat playing with toilet paper?

This is great fun for cats and kittens! They hear us spinning this fun toy in the bathroom. They demand to come in and find out what all the noise is about.  Once they discover that as they spin the roll, all this lovely paper falls to the floor, they are captivated for hours! Besides, reaching up to grab the roll of paper helps them stretch their back and sharpen their claws.

  • You can prevent this fun by not using a toilet roll, but instead keep the toilet paper in a plastic container.
  • Wrap a rubber band around the roll so it won’t unravel
  • Turn the roll around so it rolls backwards
  • Keep the bathroom door shut at all times
  • Give in and just let them have some harmless fun

Why is my cat scratching the furniture?

This behavior is the one that gets cats into the most trouble. They can get kicked out of the house or banished to the basement, or worse yet, they get declawed.

  • Cats scratch on your furniture to mark their place in their world
  • They also like to keep their claws sharp and stretch their back.
  • They choose the furniture because it is big, sturdy and it smells like you. By putting their scent on top of yours (they have scent glands in their paws) they are claiming that they belong to you.  It really is a form of a cat compliment.
  • To stop this, buy good, quality cat condos and cat furniture. Look for the cat furniture that is well-made. One tip is to contact the company, talk to the owner and ask if he owns cats. Then you know the product has been road tested.

Cat Behavior is not misbehavior. It is instinctual and part of the cat’s inner workings. Understanding why they do what they do, helps us to accept their behavior, redirect it when necessary and live in synch with these beautiful creatures that share our home.

Mary Anne Miller is a freelance writer, website content provider and member of The Cat Writers’ Association.

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