For creatures that nap half the day, cats are complex beings. They constantly behave in ways we just don’t understand — until now! After some clever detective work, we were able to figure out the reasons behind cats’ most bizarre behaviors. Read on and learn how to think like a feline.

cats watching television
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Why do cats like to watch TV?

ANSWER:

Many cats are attracted to the TV for the same reason they are attracted to windows: the activity. Bored cats turn to TV to take in the stimulating movement, following the action for entertainment and play. The boob tube is especially appealing to felines with a high predatory drive. If you feel like your cat is becoming too engrossed in their “soap operas” or if your kitty starts jumping at the TV, it may be time to introduce more toys into your cat’s environment. Your cat is responding to its predatory instinct to follow movement. Not being able to obtain what is on the screen may become disheartening, so make sure your cat has activities where it can truly act out its hunting dreams. (Vetstreet)

cute cat beside candy treats
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Why do cats not like sweets?

ANSWER:

To put it simply, your cat can’t taste sweetness. Unlike almost every other animal on the planet, cats lack the taste buds that would allow them to process any sweet flavor. Researchers believe these taste buds are lacking because felines are strict carnivores and have no need to taste sweetness while on their natural diet. As a trade-off, cats can taste things we cannot, like adenosine triphosphate, which is the compound that supplies energy to living cells. (Scientific American)

black cat on a pot
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Why do cats use potted plants as litter boxes?

ANSWER:

Cats may seek out a houseplant as a potty for two reasons: because there is something wrong with their litter or they are attracted to dirt. It is important to note if you recently made any changes to your cat’s litter box (location, litter type, or cleanliness) that your cat could be seeking out the potted plants as a way of displaying their dislike for the new litter box arrangement.

If the litter box has remained the same, your cat could be using potted plants because they like the texture of the soil. Many cats find dirt a comfortable place to do their business, over other surfaces. To deter this behavior, try placing a layer of pebbles on top of the soil that will be uncomfortable for your cat to walk on. If the behavior continues, this could be the outward expression of a health problem and your cat should be taken to the vet. (Houston Chronicle)

sneering cat
Flickr User: cowbite

Why do cats sneer?

ANSWER:

Ever seen your cat give this face? Don’t take it personally; there is a scientific reason behind your cat’s sneer. It is part of something known as the Flehmen Response. Kitties are equipped with an extra organ called the Jacobson’s Organ, located in the nasal cavity.

This allows felines to explore smells deeper if they choose to, by running them through the organ which is connected to the roof of your cat’s mouth by their upper lip. Sometimes in response to processing a smell, especially those with pheromones, your cat will sneer in response as part of the process due to this connection.

cat on top of a toilet bowl
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Why does my cat follow me into the bathroom?

ANSWER:

There is a host of reasons of why cats seek us out in the bathroom — one of the main reasons being that it allows for instant quality time. In the close quarters of the restroom, your cat is bound to get your attention and possible affection as well.

By responding to your cat’s presence, you are positively reinforcing their entry, which will cause them to come back time and time again. Additionally the bathroom offers perks that may not be found in other parts of the home, like cool tiles, running water faucets, unusual perches and more. By following you into the facilities, your cat gets a chance to interact with these things and have an audience. (About.com)

cats playing with tissue paper
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Why do cats chew on paper? 

ANSWER:

If this is a new behavior, it is important that your cat get checked by a vet. Paper chewing can be a sign of dental disorders and other health problems. If your kitty gets a clean bill of health, then it is probably playing with paper out of boredom. Taking part in the activity allows them to release energy and stay occupied. Instead of allowing your pet to continue this potentially unhealthy behavior, organize 2–3 interactive play sessions a day and leave out toys when you are not at home. These actions should divert your cat’s attention away from the paper chewing habit.

cat sitting on a keyboard
Flickr User: Kate Raynes Goldie

Why do cats like sitting on keyboards?

ANSWER:

The most straightforward answer is that, by sitting on your keyboard, your cat immediately gets your attention. Cats are quick to learn which actions will cause their owners to take notice. If you give your cat love every time it hops up on your computer, it will continue to repeat this behavior.

Additionally, cats seek out warmth, and a computer can give off 126 degrees Fahrenheit of comfort for your kitty to enjoy. The computer also offers constant activity, with the keyboard being a great front seat. Seeking stimulation, your cat may come to the keyboard to watch the computer screen, play with the buttons or watch you type. (Kotaku)

cat licking paws

Why do cats gets hairballs?

ANSWER:

It may sound gross, but all that hair from your cat’s grooming sessions has to go somewhere. Kitties have special hooked tongues that allow them to scoop up loose hair into their mouths while they are licking. This excess hair is then swallowed by your cat. Normally, this hair is processed in the body, all the way through the digestive track, but sometimes it can stay in the stomach.

If hair is left in your cat’s stomach, it will get rid of the hair by throwing it back up. This behavior is normal in cats, especially when they have long fur. If you want to cut down on hairballs, groom your cat more. Cutting down on your cat’s excessive grooming and “hairball formula” food can all help with the issue. (Web MD)

cat picking fights
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Why does a visiting cat pick fights with the cat who lives in the home?

ANSWER:

It all comes down to territory. The visiting cat is most likely acting aggressive because it is trying to claim control of parts of the house and does not want the feline in residence to think it is in charge. This behavior can get worse if the visiting cat has been to the home before.

As a cat becomes more comfortable with a space, it can begin to act out and try to mark part of the area as its own. Visiting cats can also start a fight if they feel they are fighting for human affection. A especially social visiting cat may see the live-in kitty as competition, so the visiting cat could try to scare off its fellow attention-seeker.

cat waiting for a belly rub
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Why do some cats enjoy belly rubs?

ANSWER:

Most cats roll onto their backs as a sign of trust, exposing their most vulnerable area as test to see what you’ll do. But just because they expose this area doesn’t mean they want you to touch it — only a select portion of cats enjoy a belly rub. If yours is one of them, you should see it as an honor. Many cats have strict boundaries and always see the area as a no-go. To be allowed to pet your cat’s tummy is a compliment that lets you know your kitty sees you as a non-threatening friend.

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