15 Cat Behaviors Explained
I never knew that this is what my cat meant when she always rubbed against my legs!
Ashley Fike

Cats are mysterious and misunderstood creatures. They don’t display their emotions in an obvious way like dogs do. Cat’s can be hard to read and very difficult to understand — but they don’t have to be.

All it takes is a little cat body language insight, and you are your kitty will be on whole new wavelength.

We’ve compiled a list of the 15 most common cat behaviors and what they mean — this is a game-changer for all you cat parents out there.

Some of these might be a bit obvious; others are truly fascinating.

1. Kneading

Most cat owners have seen their feline friend knead a blanket or a soft pillow like they’re kneading dough. This is a comfort mechanism for cats; it takes them back to the days with their mother. They would knead her tummy to help stimulate the production of milk. It calms them and shows that they are comfortable in their environment.

2. Tiny cute meow

If your cat lets out an adorable little meow, it’s basically their sweet way of saying hello. This is usually the best time for all cat parents out there because they often accompany this precious meow with a head nudge or two. One of those special bonding moments.

3. Sleeping or lying on your chest

This is another tell-tale sign that your kitty is super comfortable. They are comforted by your warmth and the feeling of your heartbeat. Basically, they are telling you that they trust you and feel protected when they’re with you. If you have a heavier cat, it can be a bit uncomfortable, but they’re just trying to show you love.

4. Rubbing against you and in between your legs

Your cat might rub its face and whiskers against your furniture or walls, and it’s the same reason they do it to you — they’re marking their territory! They are leaving their scent on their “area.” You should certainly take it as a compliment because it shows that they love where they live.

5. Random excited jumps and leaps

As a cat mom or dad, this one is always a little strange. Why the heck did your cat seem to randomly freak out and take leaps off your furniture? Or just burst out of nowhere in a jump toward nothing? This is them just releasing energy. Basically, it’s like a kid being hyper and trying to tire themselves out.

6. Hissing and growling

Okay, here’s an obvious one. If your cat is hissing or growling — it’s not good. They are annoyed, angry, or frightened. They are letting you know that they want to be alone and you should probably listen, this is when cats can become aggressive.

7. Arch their backs while lying on their side

This is most certainly one of their most adorable behaviors. Your kitty might just plop down on the floor or bed and arch their back as if their stretching. This is them letting you know that they are welcoming your love and attention. It’s the perfect time to give them a good rub and get in some kitty snuggles.

8. Yowling or howling

If you hear your feline friend give out a long, drawn-out yowl or howl — this means they are in some sort of distress. They could be stuck somewhere, be in pain, or they could be looking for you. In unfixed cats, however, this could be the sound of mating.

9. Not covering their poo

One of the best things about cats is that they are very self-sufficient. They are great at taking care of themselves and are super low-maintenance. Generally, when they use the litter box, they will cover their poop. If they suddenly stop — it could mean they are upset with you or they don’t like their litter.

10. Blank stare with mouth open

If you’ve ever seen your cat do this, it’s a bit creepy. It’s actually called the “Flehman response, ” and it’s much more complex than you’d think. They open their mouths to smell through the roofs of their mouths — their lips curl up a little to help them. It may look funny, but they’re trying to understand different scents that they can’t smell through their nose.

11. Chattering

Here’s another adorable cat behavior — you might hear your cat chatter when they’re staring at birds out the window. This funny little sound is a sound of frustration; it means that they want something, and they just can’t get it — hence, the birds!

12. Laying all over your stuff

Can you say attention craver? That’s what your cat is doing — begging for your attention! It could mean that they want to play with you, or maybe just be around you. They like letting you know that they’re around.

13. Ear twitches

This is the early warning sign prior to the hissing or growling. If you notice your cat’s ears twitching, it could mean that they are becoming annoyed or anxious. It’s best to give them their space at this moment in time.

14. Purring

The hum of your cat purring is the sound of pure contentment and joy. A deep purr could almost mean that they are comforting themselves and purring helps them relax.

15. Twitching tail

You might have seen your kitty cat do this familiar move when they spot a squirrel or raccoon outside. When the tip of their tail starts to do small twitches, it means that they are very focused and excited. It’s a predatory excitement response — it’s probably best to leave them alone until they calm down a bit.

Cats might be a bit stubborn and finicky at times, but they are wonderful creatures and fabulous companions. Familiarize yourself with these common kitty behaviors, and you and your cat will finally be on common ground.

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