Why do cats purr and miaow?
Cats can vibrate a special set of muscles in their throat, and this is what makes a lovely purring sound. As with most animal sounds, purring is a way of your cat communicating with you. Mother cats purr to their kittens as a lullaby, and kittens purr back to let them know that they’re okay. They also purr when they are hungry and want food, or when they are content. Interestingly, it’s been shown that some cats purr to sooth themselves when they are hurt, and the vibrations caused by purring may ease breathing and reduce inflammation.
Miaowing is another way cats communicate, and different miaows mean different things – “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored,” “I’m stressed,” or simply just a friendly “hello human!” Just like people, some cats are more vocal than others, so there’s no need to worry about how much your cat miaows, unless it changes a lot from normal.
Why do cats knead?
When your cat is trying to get comfortable they can knead and prod their bed (or your lap!) for ages. Kittens knead their mothers when drinking milk, and when they are adults continue to do so when they are feeling safe and content. There are also scent glands in a cat’s paws, so kneading helps your cat to mark their territory as well as getting super comfy.
Why do cats lick (themselves, other cats and you!)?
Cats’ tongues are covered with backwards facing hooks, and these act as combs to pull out any loose fur or knots in their coat. It’s a very affective way for them to groom themselves. Cats will lick other cats they like to calm them down and lick you as a sign of affection. It’s their way of showing you how to groom yourself, and that they consider you part of their family. They’re also (affectionately!) putting their scent on you to let other cats know that you belong to them.
Why do cats bite?
There are two main reasons why a cat may bite you. It’s a natural hunting instinct that they have. Often during play, your furry friend may nip or bite their toys (or your fingers!). Reinforcing gentle play or biting toys instead of fingers with positive affirmations or a treat can help reduce this behaviour. They may also bite if they are anxious or scared, feel cornered or want to assert their dominance over another cat or person. If you’re concerned, you can talk to our behavioural specialist about strategies to discourage biting or reduce your cat’s anxiety.
Why do cats scratch?
Scratching serves a lot of purposes for your cat! It’s a way for them to mark their territory both visually and by leaving behind pheromones from scent glands in their paws. They scratch to flex their paws and claws for a good stretch, often after they’ve gotten up for a nap. Scratching is also important for them to remove the dead outer layer of their claws – since they need to do this, it’s important to make sure your cat has access to a scratching post or something like a tree outside for them to scratch on, or they may resort to your curtains or favourite sofa! There are also sprays you can use to discourage your cat from scratching your belongings. Have a look in our store.
Why do cats rub against things?
Just like scratching and kneading, cats rub up against things to mark their territory. It’s a way for them to transfer their scent onto different things – so if your cats rubs their head against you, it’s a sign that they consider you part of their territory (a sign of love!) They also do it as a way for them to get your attention, particularly if they are hungry.
Why do cats eat grass?
There are lots of theories as to why cats eat grass. Grass contains folic acid, which is essential for your cat’s health, and while most cat food contains folic acid, they may eat grass for a bit of an extra boost. Cats also can’t digest plant matter such as grass, so it can act both as a laxative or to make your cat throw up, which may help them with indigestion. During grooming cats eat their fur and depending on where that grass is sitting in their digestive tract, a grass meal can help your cat pass the furball to feel a lot better.
Why do cats sleep so much?
Cats are most active between dusk and dawn, and so can sleep for up to 18 hours a day! Hunting behaviours (even if it’s just play) take a lot of energy, so your cat naps during the day to conserve their energy. Instinctually though, most of the time cats sleep quite lightly, and so can easily be alerted to any potential dangers.
Why do cats LOVE boxes?
A cat sees a box as a safe space for them to run and hide when in a stressful situation or sleep quietly undisturbed. Since they are ambush predators, a box is a great place for them to observe their prey unnoticed and pounce when they least expect it – so an empty box can be a great toy. As for why your cat will choose a plain box over the cosy cat bed you bought them, only they could tell us that!