Your cat is sometimes a cuddly sweetheart, sometimes a pesky brat, and sometimes a confusing conundrum. Are they mysterious, weird, or only misunderstood? Our team at Alpine Animal Hospital wants to explain some of your cat’s quirky behaviors.

#1: Why do cats try to trip their owners?

You may think your cat has murderous intentions when they constantly run in front of your feet at the most inopportune moment. However, they are only seeking your attention. They may want to play, or think too much time has passed since their last chin scratch. Some cats may try to herd you toward their food bowl or litter box to alert you to a problem. This is your cat’s way of saying, “Hey, you! Look at me!”

#2: Why do cats run frantically around the house?

When your cat gets the zoomies, or suddenly begins racing around the house for no apparent reason, they are experiencing Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs). Zoomies are how your cat releases excess energy, and while younger cats and kittens are more likely to exhibit this behavior, cats of any age can zoom. If the behavior is disrupting your household, find more time to play with your cat to help them burn off their excess energy. Enrichment activities and toys can be especially helpful to keep your cat mentally and physically engaged. 

#3: Why do cats knock objects off tables?

Your cat uses their paws to explore the objects in their environment. An object that moves after being batted triggers their prey instinct, and what self-respecting cat does not like the thrill of the hunt? This behavior is also a way to get your attention. Your cat knows that knocking over that expensive vase will get your undivided attention. 

#4: Why do cats like high places?

Cats have an instinctual need to monitor their surroundings from an elevated position, because they are predators to small animals and prey to larger animals. A high spot, such as the top of the refrigerator, the top bookcase shelf, or the highest cat tower level, allows them to have a private, calm space, and protects them from other pets and young children. Vertical spaces are an important aspect of your cat’s environmental enrichment. Ensure every cat in your household has their own high spot to perform surveillance. 

#5: Why do cats like boxes?

When Amazon delivers, your cat is the first one to celebrate by jumping in the new box. Cats like enclosed areas, such as boxes, because they provide comfort and security. Your cat feels safe inside the box where they can see what is happening without being seen. Boxes also provide a great insulated, warm area where they can curl up for a nap.

#6: Why do cats head bump?

Cats have scent glands on their face and head, and when they head bump you, they are marking you as their own. This behavior, called cat bunting, is also used for bonding purposes, and to show respect. Be honored when your cat head bumps you. They are saying, “You are my person.”

#7: Why do cats like to lick people?

If you have ever felt your cat’s raspy tongue, you may wonder why they want to salivate on you. This behavior is their way of showing affection, and they may be trying to hint that they would appreciate a little attention in return. This is also another way they can mark you as their own. You may find the situation uncomfortable, but your cat enjoys being groomed, and is trying to offer you the same pleasurable experience.

#8: Why do cats like to drink from the faucet?

If your cat prefers drinking from the tap rather than their water bowl, their instincts may be telling them to avoid standing water. In the wild, flowing water is safer, and has a lower risk of contamination than standing water. Water from the tap also tends to be cooler and more oxygenated, and therefore tastes better. Some cats are simply fascinated with running water and like to play in the stream. Providing a water fountain for your cat, if they enjoy drinking running water, can entice them to drink more frequently and leave the faucet alone.

#9: Why do cats chatter?

When your cat sees a bird or small rodent, they may start chattering. This odd noise is caused by their excitement to hunt their prey. If they are stuck inside and cannot reach their prey, frustration may also contribute to their chattering.

#10: Why do cats bring their owners gifts?

In the wild, cats bring their prey back to their family. By leaving you gifts, such as toys or dead animals, your cat is letting you know you are part of their family. They also realize that you do not have the skills to catch that mouse on your own. You are welcome!

Many of your cat’s behaviors have understandable reasons, but your loveable cat can also be an oddball. If you have questions about your cat’s behavior, do not hesitate to contact our team at Alpine Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment.