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Weird Things Happy Cats Do and Why

Our pets do some things that seem wacky. Here is what those behaviors really mean.


A cat and a mouse toy

Our furry companions let us know how happy they are with a wag of their tail and a rub of their head, but some of their behaviors are a little baffling. Dogs may shake their legs when you rub their bellies, and cats might bring you a dead rodent as a gift. That’s not exactly how humans show pleasure! 

These behaviors seem confusing, but they’re actually quite positive (as positive as dead rodents can be, we suppose). Here’s why our pets do some of the strange things they do and how we should react. 

Gross Gift Giving 

As a cat parent, you’ve probably woken up to find a toy mouse or, if you’re not as lucky, a dead mouse at the foot of your bed. Rather than punish your kitty, give them some love. They’re simply showing their affection for you. 

Deborah Barnes, vice-president of the Cat Writer’s Association and author of Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them, says this behavior is natural for felines. 

“Even well-fed indoor kitties feel the urge to hunt and will drop the spoils of their victory at your feet, such as plush toys or a fake mouse, and your fearless hunter should still be praised for his exceptional skills,” she recommends. 

Simply dispose of any unsavory gifts quickly and without fanfare. Better yet, keep your furry friend indoors, and you’re sure to get toy mice at your feet instead. 

Trying to Be a Trip Hazard 

It’s mealtime, and your cat seems intent on tripping you before you can reach for that can of 9Lives® Meaty Paté Super Supper® cat food. Your kitty isn’t trying to harm you. They’re trying to mark you with their scent by rubbing against your legs. 

“Scent is very important to cats, and when they do this, they are scent marking. Cats release their scent from glands along their forehead, chin and lips,” says Sabrina Castro, DVM of Vetted Pet Care in Los Angeles. It’s quite the compliment because your kitty is claiming you as his own. 

If the behavior becomes a little annoying at mealtime, Barnes recommends waiting to feed your cats until they stop marking you. “Habits come quickly to cats, so if the owner prefers not to encourage the rubbing and darting behavior, it will require not rewarding the cat on demand.”