Have you ever walked into your kitchen and saw your cat taking a sip from the faucet? This cat behavior may look strange and leave you wondering.

But what's more frustrating is when they bring you odd gifts like dead rodents or urinate and defecate outside their litter box.

Why do they do that?

Well, in this article, we'll discuss the strange behaviors of your feline companion.

So, if you want to know:

  • What are the most common strange cat behaviors
  • What they possibly mean by that
  • And how should you respond to them

You're in the right place. 


21 Strange Cat Behaviors And Their Meaning

If your cat does the following, don't think that your cat is crazy. There may be a reason felines do things. 

And if you'll get to understand why they act in such a way, you might learn to appreciate your feline companion more and even enjoy their quirky antics.

cat behavior

#1. Chattering

If you heard your cat chattering with its teeth when it saw a bird or other prey outside while gazing at the window, it's probably frustrated because he can't get out and hunt the prey.

They can also either be excited or aggravated. 

Others believe that it's the cat's instinct that allows its muscles to get ready to kill its prey.  

What you can do for this cat behavior:

Your cat will only chatter at you if you're playing with her with toys that look similar to its prey, like toy mice. 

There's nothing to worry about it but watch out and stop the playtime if he's about to pounce.

cat behavior

#2. Rolling

If your kitty rolls on the ground in front of you, it could indicate a compliment. 

They become vulnerable when they roll around on their back, but if it does it in front of you, which means he feels safe and secured with you. 

It could also mean that he wants your attention and some playtime. 

How you can respond to this cat behavior:

Granting your cat the attention it seeks from you can gratify him and do it again next time when more attention is wanted.

By scratching behind his ears or somewhere he likes best, your cat will know he is loved.

cat behavior

#3. Rubbing head

This unique behavior of rubbing its head on you and other surfaces is called bunting by behaviorists. 

Whenever your kitty rubs their bodies on you or furniture, it releases pheromones from its head and marks you and its territory with its scent. 

It's your cat's way of claiming you and showing pride that you belong to him/ her.

How to respond to this cat behavior:

You can respond to your cat's bunting behavior lovingly by stroking its head and scratching around its ears. 

They prefer it more than being petted along their backs or sides.

cat behavior

#4. Hiding in tiny spaces

Your kitty may have plenty of comfy spaces to rest at around your home. 

But you probably observed that it loves fitting into tight spaces over that cozy bed you bought for her. 

So, why do felines force to fit themselves in small baskets or curl up in a box and bathroom sink? 

It's because tight spaces make them feel secure and safe

Back then, in the wild, living in an open area can make them susceptible to predators. 

So, they prefer tiny spaces where they can feel protected and observe their surroundings.

What you can do with this cat behavior:

If your kitty has been hiding for a long time and still doesn't come out, lure her with toys, catnips, or treats. 

Make sure that she'd come out a bit to reach them and comfort your pet.

cat behavior

#5. Staring eyes

Feline's eyes can tell what their mouth couldn't say. 

But guessing what their gaze is trying to convey can be confusing because it varies depending on the situation.

The good news is you can determine what your cat wants to say by observing the position of its eyelids and dilation of its eyes.

Unblinking stares, for example, can imply control, dominance, and aggression.

Felines use it to warn off other cats and keep them from walking near their marked pathway to food bowls, litter boxes, or valuable territory.

If they're showing off slit pupils, it could either show fear and anger or pleasure and excitement.

But if their eyes become slit and their teeth showed up, that certainly indicates fear and aggression. 

How to respond to this strange cat behavior:

Avoid locking eyes with a feline you don't know, for it may prompt an attack. 

#6. Inappropriate elimination

It can be frustrating when your kitty urinates or defecates outside the litter box. 

This case is commonly referred to as inappropriate elimination or house soiling

And it's one of the most common behavioral problems on felines that lead other owners to euthanize or abandon their pets. 

But inappropriately elimination could be either a medical or behavioral issue. 

Medical causes usually include:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Pain or discomfort due to arthritis or constipation
  • Bladder and urinary tract issues including cystitis, infection urethral obstruction, and bladder stones

Behavioral causes could be either of the following:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Intercat aggression
  • New family members or pets in your home
  • Dirty litter box or unideal location
  • Perceived threats, such as stray or wild animals coming close to your home

What you can do to eliminate this cat behavior:

Finding the root of the problem is challenging and may require you to consult a vet and have your kitty undergo a complete examination. 

You should also clean its litter box once daily or twice if many cats are in your house. 

It'd be a hassle for your kitty if she needs to share the litter box with other cats too, so it'd bet to have one litter per cat. 

Observe what kind of litter boxes do they prefer too because some cats like the big and covered one while others don't. 

cat behavior

#7. Eating plastics

Some cats have some obsession with plastic and other inedible plants, wools, and cloth, especially those who are teething. 

They probably taste good to them. But it can cause a choking hazard and internal obstruction. 

And they can carry such behavior and fondness to the plastic's texture into adulthood.

Furthermore, it could be a sign of a rare condition in felines called pica.

The causes of pica are still unknown, but others presume it's due to one or a combination of the following:

  • mineral deficiencies
  • hyperthyroidism
  • anemia
  • genetics
  • boredom
  • stress

What you can do to discourage this cat behavior:

It would be best to discourage your kitty by giving safe chew toys that can shift its attention from plastic and get your feline examined by a vet.

cat behavior

#8. Nibbling on green grass and other plants

Your feline companion may also enjoy eating lush green grass. 

Although it's a rare sight since cats are carnivores, they can get nutrients from grass and other greeneries.

Wild cats get those nutrients from the intestines of their prey. 

But, you'd probably agree that looking at it while eating greeneries is much better than watching it devouring intestines.

Sometimes, they also find it comforting to eat grasses when their tummy is upset.

But watch your kitty out because it might ingest harmful plants like lilies and daffodils.

What you can do:

If you have plants in your home, make sure that they're safe for cats and keep your pet from potting soil that may contain parasite eggs. 

You can also use sterilized soils for your indoor plants to keep your cats away from harm.

cat behavior

#9. Sneering at other cats

A cat usually sneers when facing other cats or when it's sending or receiving invisible messages. 

Sneering is technically the flehmen response a cat makes when it picks up pheromones from other cats who have marked the area as its territory. 

And that lip curl produced by sneering is your cat's way of trapping the pheromone with its tongue against the duct in the roof of your mouth.

It may be strange, but such a habit is usually common in male cats. 

How you can respond: 

The next time your cat sneers, observe his surroundings. 

There may be other felines in the surroundings, or you probably brought a scent in your shoes or clothing that sparks his interest. 

cat behavior

#10. Covering foody

Some cats prefer to cover up their food bowl as they eat with gusto and even cover it with shredded paper and other objects.

This behavior isn't harmful, but it unpleasant for some people. But they're simply doing it to keep their food safe.

What you can do for this strange cat behavior:

If you feel like it could lead to a mess and correct such behavior, place the food on a hard surface away from things you can drag to cover the bowl.

You can also remove its bowl after finishing the meal and prevent your kitty from eating spoiled food.

cat behavior

#11. Presenting its tail

When your cat presents its tail to your face, know that it signals other cats that your pet feels secure and generously offers you the opportunity to sniff its butt. 

It's also your feline companion's way of giving hugs and kisses to a friend. 

How you can respond:

You don't have to literally sniff your cat's butt to reciprocate the love and affection. 

Just pet it or scratch it somewhere it likes best, and he'll be good. 

cat behavior

#12. Kneading

This feline behavior traces back to its kittenhood, where they press their mother's mammary gland with their paws became their habit. 

It's said that such action on their mother can stimulate better milk production and eventually become a sign of affection and positive emotions.

And if your kitty presses its paws to you and massages you back and forth, he's probably happy or trying to show his love and contentment.

It may also help him alleviate his stress and calm himself down.  

What you can do:

When your kitty kneads you as you pet her or as she sits on your lap, you may take it as a compliment cause you remind her of her mom.

But if she does it with her claws out, it can be a bit uncomfortable, and if she kneads on carpets or furniture, she can tear your stuff up. 

So, it would be best to trim her claws regularly to prevent sharp hooks. 

You can also give your kitty some treat or toy to distract her or provide a thick blanket designed for kneading her behavior.

Punishing her for her instinct can make her aggressive or lash out, so you need to stick to redirection or distraction techniques.

cat behavior

#13. Winking

Don't be surprised when your cat winks at you. Your pretty cat could just be blowing a cat kiss. 

It's not a threat signal nor a sign of aggression but of affection. 

How you can respond:

You can return the love by slowly closing your eyes and opening it. 

If your pet responds with another slow-mo eye blink, then lucky you, your feline, are showering you with affection.    

cat behavior

#14. Bringing odd presents

You may find this behavior disturbing and sometimes gross, especially when your kitty brings you dead rodents, birds, or insects. 

But behaviorists believe that it's a generous act that shows that your kitty acknowledges you as a member of his group. 

And leaving you his kills means he wants to share his hunting success with you. 

Or perhaps it's his way of showing gratitude for taking care of him or drawing your attention to him.

What you can do for this cat behavior: 

If you want to control such behavior, you may attach a bell on his collar to subtly restrain him from hunting. 

Keeping your cat indoor always can also prevent it from hunting and protect it from contagious diseases.

cat behavior

#15. Taking a sip

If you've ever seen your cat taking a sip at the faucet, you may be surprised the first time you witness such an act. 

The fact that your feline was able to turn on the faucet and choose it over its water bowl is shocking. 

It is said that feline's for this behavior from their wild ancestors because drinking from running water is safer than stagnant sources, full of bacteria and contaminants. 

Nevertheless, it's something natural to your pet and is no big deal.

What you can do:

If they frequently turn on the faucet, you can set up a pet fountain for your kitty to enjoy. 

cat behavior

#16. Yowling 

A female cat usually meows or yowls when it's in heat to inform potential mates about their fertile status. 

Likewise, male cats yowl when they hear or smell an in-heat female feline.

They repeat this habit every 18 to 24 days throughout their 8-month breeding season.

How you can respond to this loud cat behavior:

You probably know that the best solution for this problem is getting your kitty spayed or neutered.                

A female feline can get pregnant in as early as 16 weeks, but thankfully, you can get it spayed at eight weeks old.

Don't punish your feline companion if it yowls, even if it's spayed or neutered. 

They probably are suffering from flea bites or signaling about a dirty litter box or empty water bowl.

cat behavior

#17. Foiling fleas

One of the main culprits is that cats often chew, scratch, lick their fur, lose some hair, or get irritated skin. 

These tiny parasites can wreak havoc in their fur and coat. Good thing there are some remedies to get rid of these parasitic insects.

How you can help:

Consult your vets about some flea control medications and ask for some tips on how to use them. 

Make sure you're using a treatment specifically designed for cats because medications for fleas in dogs can be toxic to cats. 

cat behavior

#18. Knocking things over

Cats sometimes randomly bat things off a table and calmly watch them fall to the floor. 

While it is a normal behavior usually caused by curiosity or sensitivity of their paws, it can be startling and frustrating.

What you can do:

To curb this naughty habit, entertain your kitty with new toys and put valuable and fragile objects away from them or out of their paws' reach.

cat behavior

#19. Biting and scratching

Cats and kittens love to play. By swatting, kicking, and pouncing, they can develop and enhance their physical coordination and social skills.

But they tend to go overboard sometimes and leave you bites and scratches. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid this from happening.

What you can do:

Give your kitty some toys, perches, outdoor enclosures, or paper bags she can play with and explore. 

It may also help if she has a fellow feline companion, and if you want to play with her, don't play with your feet and hands. 

Use dangly toys, balls, or catnip toys instead or any props you want. 

And if you got bitten or scratched, refrain from slapping your kitty. She might interpret it as a rough play or become afraid of you.

cat behavior

#20. Too active during nighttime

Cats who are nocturnal by nature are boisterous at night. They hunt, play, and wake you up if they don't know that night is for sleeping. 

What you can do for the sleepless cat behavior:

Ensure that your cat has no health issues because sometimes, an agitated and active cat is probably in pain.

You can also play with your kitty at night to tire him out and make him inclined to sleep or give your pet a big meal at night because they tend to sleep when full.

If it still doesn't work, try to entertain your feline companion with a timed feeder that opens up at preset times.

Cats won't have to wake you up at night for their snack if there's something at the bowl they can look forward to.


#21. Interrupting phone calls

If your cat frequently interrupts you when you're making phone calls, typing at a keyboard, or reading, then it must be jealous. 

Yes, it can get jealous once you spend your time and give your attention to such stuff instead of itself. 

What you can do:

To comfort your cat, just bond with it and give interactive toys it can play with. 

Not only will it keep your pet stimulated, but it can also entertain them while you're busy with your errands. 


Getting Help to Deal With a Cat Behavior

While some of our feline companion's behavior can be problematic, sometimes they're just showing love and affection in a unique and sometimes silly way.

And when things go awry, you don't have to leave your kitty or abandon her. Instead, visit your vet and ask for advice. 

With the help of veterinary experts and prolonged patience, you can help your cuddly companion live comfortably and overcome its behavioral problems.

READ NEXT: Cats vs. Dogs: Which Makes a Better Pet

Kelly works as a veterinary technician in Austin, TX as well as regular animal rescue volunteer. She's been an animal lover and dog owner since childhood, and has worked in different dog related fields over the last twenty years. Currently she lives with three dogs and a cat.