Our feline friends can be mysterious, so it’s no wonder there are some commonly misunderstood cat behaviors.
While we’ve always been fascinated by our feline friends, we only learned about feline behaviorists a few years ago. Because we are so often asked about weird or concerning things cats do, we checked in with the experts to see what the top 3 behavioral issues cat have that we humans misunderstand.
Please note: Anytime there is a sudden change in a cat’s behavior, we recommend a vet visit. Cats are stoic and instinctively do not show their pain or weakness. Sometimes things like litter issues, isolating, aggression etc. are our only clues something is wrong.
The Top 3 Misunderstood Cat Behaviors
- Going outside the litter box. Healthy cats that exhibit this behavior mystify many cat parents. Many think the cat is doing this out of spite or revenge. WRONG. Cats are not spiteful or vengeful. Their scent brings them comfort. Any change in the home, company in town, a new person or pet around, even your absence, can cause a cat to feel unsure, afraid or insecure. Cats often choose to pee or poop on our clothes or bedding because these things smell most like us. And this helps our cats feel close to us in their vulnerable moments. Never be angry at your cat for these ‘accidents’. Take the time to compassionately understand why your cat feels the need for comfort.
- Cats don’t like play. The instinct to play (or hunt) is as innate to cats as scratching. So why do some cats not engage in playtime? Our Pooh Bear is one of these cats. We consulted our feline behaviorist about this and told her we have tried everything. He just does not want to play. She said ‘he’s lying’. And she was right. Cats are little predators – but they are also prey. They need to feel comfortable and in control to allow their inner hunter to appear. This is especially true in multi-cat households like ours. Find a place – away from other cats, people and distractions. Use a wand toy – and patiently take your cat through the feline prey sequence. You will be amazed to discover your cat’s hunter side.
- Aggression. You might be surprised to learn that cats are not aggressive. Aggression is another word we use to humanize cat behavior. An ‘aggressive’ cat is a scared cat. Find out what is causing their fear – and you will find a more trusting and friendly cat.