big fluffy cat

  • Cats sometimes do things that don’t quite make sense to humans.
  • Some cat behaviors seem to have confusing meanings. For example, if a cat nudges your leg, they probably don’t want you to pet them. Instead, they’re likely marking you with their scent glands.  
  • When your cat chatters at birds, they could be trying to mimic a bird call and when they knead their paws, they may be trying to mark something as belonging to them.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Whether they’re acting on instinct or trying to achieve a goal, cats sometimes behave in mysterious ways that can be tough for humans to understand. 

INSIDER spoke with Richard Gowan, senior veterinarian at The Cat Clinic and Nikki Johnson, animal behaviorist at RSPCA Victoria to better understand the weird things your cat does and why exactly they do them.

Here are the explanations behind some seemingly strange cat behaviors.

When a cat chatters, they could be trying to mimic the chirping sounds that birds make.

When a cat is looking out the window and spots a nearby bird, you might hear them begin to chatter, making noises that sound quite similar to a bird’s chirp. 

“Lots of people think chattering is an expression of frustration that the cat can’t reach the bird,” explained Johnson. “But recent studies of wild cats in the Amazon rainforest shows that [may not] be the case.”

Johnson said that researchers found that wild cats sometimes mimic the noise of monkeys, their prey, while in the rainforest. So a popular theory is that when domestic cats chatter they’re actually trying to imitate birds so the winged creatures will come closer.

But a cat’s chattering could also just mean they are just very excited about seeing birds, per Cat Health. 

Read More: 7 sounds your cat makes and what they mean

When cats knead or “make biscuits” with their paws, it’s not exactly a sign of affection.

When a cat kneads their paws, they are moving their paws up and down and it appears as though they are handling imaginary dough or “making biscuits.” 

“Domestic and wild cats knead,” said Gowan. “This action could be a marking instinct as the cat releases hormones through their feet. [They] might do it on your bed to mark it as theirs.”

Although kneading might primarily be an instinctual marking behavior, it could also be something cats find comfort in doing. 

“When cats are young they will knead their mothers to stimulate milk production,” Johnson told INSIDER. “We think adult cats knead because it’s connected with the soothing and comfortable practice from when they were kittens. It’s the same reason some cats drool. They are both little behaviors left over from kittenhood.”

Read More: 14 myths about cats that you need to stop believing

Even though it doesn’t look comfortable, your cat probably feels pretty secure in tiny containers and small boxes.

“You will see tigers exhibit the same behavior in zoos when given access to boxes,” Johnson told INSIDER. “We think it’s linked with a feeling of safety and security. If you have your back against the wall you can see everywhere.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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