The 4 Weirdest Cat Behaviors (And Where They Come From)

Guest Post by Tiffany. Get to know your cat better by understanding these funny behaviors

One of the greatest joys of having cats is their quirkiness; they do so many things that seem inexplicable. Given their wild roots, however, many of these behaviors actually make perfect sense (to the cat, anyway). Here are some of the funniest things your cat does, where those instincts come from, and what they can tell you about how your cat is doing.

1. Kneading

Either on its bed, a couch, or your tummy, your cat probably likes to squish back and forth with his paws, as if he were kneading dough. There are several explanations for this behavior. Kittens often knead on their mother’s abdomen to activate milk glands before they nurse; and like other long-domesticated animals, cats carry many juvenile behaviors into adulthood that their wild cousins leave behind. Another source of this behavior can still be seen in adult wild cats; before they settle in for the night, some cats knead the grass or reeds where they bed down, both to even out their “nest” and to activate scent glands in their paw pads that stake their claim on the area. When your cat kneads (especially on you), give yourself a pat on the back—it means they feel cozy, happy, and right at home.

2. Bringing in dead animals

While you’re probably grossed out when your cat brings in a dead mouse or bird, that’s the last reaction she is expecting. This behavior can mean one of two things, but both are very friendly. It may be your cat’s way of saying “I’m on your team”, by bringing in her contribution to the family; or it can be an attempt to teach you. Your cat has probably noticed that you’re not as quiet and quick as she is, so she brings home her little present as an invitation to learn how to stalk—the same way she would initiate teaching her own kittens.

3. Stalking your laser pointer

This is might just seem like an opportunity to pull great pranks on your cat—most will chase a laser pointer all day if you let them—but there’s actually a scientific reason behind it. The explanation for this one is in how cats determine targets to hunt. By instinct, cats associate rapid, unpredictable movements with life; and they assume that something as lively as the little red dot from your laser pointer might be pretty tasty. This is the same reason cats love springy toys and dangled string: in the wild, anything that moves that way is probably alive and worth hunting. Your cat learns quickly enough that it is only playing a game, but their instincts make the game irresistible.

4. Constant grooming

Cats love to groom, whether it be a tongue bath or a keeping their claws clean and sharp (using their scratching post, hopefully). While your cat definitely loves to be clean, that’s only a partial explanation for their finicky behavior. In reality, both of these activities are also about marking territory. Scratching and clawing stretches out the scent glands in their paw pads.  That’s why your cat may poke you here and there with his claws, even though he isn’t intending to hurt. It’s an expression of dominance and ownership—your cat is saying “This human is mine, hands off”. Your cat licks himself for a similar reason—by tugging at his fur with his tongue, it releases additional glands that release the cat’s scent while cleaning off foreign scents. A cat in the wild would mark his territory with urine, but your cat knows how you feel about that, so he grooms and scratches as a way of asserting his individuality without offending his housemates.

About the author:

Tiffany Gantt is a staff writer for, a website dedicated to the love of cooking and looking good while you do it! You can often find her getting creative in the kitchen as she whips up something yummy in one of her flirty, color coordinated aprons.

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