Sometimes, cat behavior can seem off-the-wall or even bizarre to their human companions. But what is strange to a person might be perfectly normal behavior for a cat! On the other hand, you’re right to take notice of your pet’s actions, because at some times they can indicate a health problem or other concern. So, let’s break down both normal and abnormal cat behaviors…
Normal. Although some of these activities might seem a little kooky to humans, they’re of no cause for concern:
- Failing to cover poop in a shared litter box (annoying, but it’s actually an expression of dominance)
- Chirping/chattering at the window (they’re probably checking out birds and other prey outside)
- “Marking” you with saliva by rubbing their faces on you
- Walking around with tail straight up
- Twitching during sleep
- Kneading with paws
- Head butting
- Eating grass
- Coughing up hairballs
Possibly a sign of trouble. Since cats can’t tell you (with words) that they aren’t feeling well, they will often show you via strange behaviors, such as:
- Appetite changes – cats like consistency, and will usually eat the same amount at the same time of day. If this changes (eating less or begging for more) it might be a sign of a problem.
- Lack of grooming – cats tend to be very fastidious creatures. If your pet stops grooming herself, this is a sign of a problem.
- Withdrawal – many cats enjoy hiding in secluded places, but if he’s doing it more often, something might be wrong.
- Vocalization – if your cat is suddenly yowling a lot, this might indicate pain. On the other side, a normally “talkative” cat who goes quiet might also need a check-up.
- Refusal to use litter box – when a previously litter-box-trained cat stops using the box, it is almost always a sign of some sort of health concern. Occasionally, refusing to use the box might be more behavioral in origin. A new cat in the household, or an interruption in your cleaning routine, could be the source of the problem.
A good rule of thumb is that while cats can be silly and sometimes bizarre creatures, any change in their usual behavior should prompt questions. If you’re concerned about a new cat behavior, make an appointment with us and we’ll get to the bottom of it together.