Most Interesting Curious Facts About Cats

Most Interesting Curious Facts About Cats
Why do cats sulk?

Humans are huge to a cat. When you scold him, you are intimidating him. And when you look down upon a cat to discipline him, he associates your fixed gaze with a rival. The eyes of many animals are a signal of power. In comparison to a cat's size, his eyes are enormous. In hostile situations, a dominant cat will stare at his rival, who will look away rather than increase the hostility. So when your cat turns away after disciplining, he isn't ignoring you; he's surrendering.

Why does my cat interrupt my phone calls?

He isn't jealous - he doesn't have any idea that you are speaking to someone else. He thinks you are talking to him.

Why do cats go to the one person in the room who doesn't like cats?

When a cat enters a room full of people who are staring at him, he becomes very uncomfortable. Then he notices that one person is totally ignoring him - the person who dislikes cats for whatever reason. The cat goes to that person to seek a safe haven from those who are fawning over him or intimidating him.

Why are cats so curious?

By nature, the cat is an explorer and is constantly on the hunt - not always for food, but also to satisfy his quest for the unknown.

Do cats dream?

As do humans, cats alternate phases of deep and light sleep. Dreaming occurs during the deep sleep phase. During a cat's deep-sleep phase the give-away is movement of his paws and claws, twitching of his whiskers, and flicking his ears. Sometimes he vocalizes.

Why do cats' tails quiver?

When a cat's tail is quivering, it can mean mild irritation. If erect and the whole length seems to be quivering with excitement, it means exactly that - excitement.

Why do cats swish their tails?

One reason is to get his balance before leaping. The other is to mesmerize the prey he is looking at. Since the cat can't see prey if the prey becomes still, he moves his tail to initiate the slightest movement in his target, which he can then spot.

What does it mean when a cat lashes his tail from side to side?

The tail waving quietly from side to side means contentment. If the cat is sitting quietly with his tail gently wagging back and forth, he's concentrating intently on something. Vigorous lashing back and forth is of anger. It signals annoyance and a good sign that the cat is upset. Tail wagging somewhere in between heavy duty and half-hearted can mean that he is indecisive.

What else does a cat's tail tell?

When the tail is bent forward over the head, it means the cat is feeling like top cat. When it's waved quietly side to side like a lady's fan, the cat is contented. Several quick flicks upward is a greeting to both humans and other cats.

What does the different ear postitions mean?

There are five basic ear signals, revealing if the cat is feeling relaxed, alert, agitated, defensive or aggressive. When the ears are pointed forward and slightly outward, the cat is relaxed and carefully listening to everything that is going on. When erect and facing forward, the cat is alert and ready to investigate any noise that has been heard. When they twitch nervously back and forth, the cat is agitated or anxious. The ear twitching may be accompanied by two quick flicks of the tongue around the lips. When the ears are flattened tightly against the head, the cat is signaling annoyance and is feeling defensive. A cat will pin the ears back to protect them during a fight. When feeling aggressive but not frightened, a cat's ears will be in a position somewhere between alert and defensive.

What can we tell about a cat's behavior from his fur?

When alarmed or startled, the hair will stand up on all over the body. When threatened (as when another cat is about to attack), the hair stands up only in a narrow band along the spine and on the tail. The hair will incline slightly toward the middle from both sides, and will form a sharp ridge. This will make the cat appear larger than he is to any enemies.

What does the different positions of the whiskers reveal?

When pointed forward and fanned out, the cat is tense - alert, excited and ready to act. When the whiskers are bunched together and flattened to the side of the face, he is feeling reserved, timid, or shy. When pointed sideways and aren't spread out, the cat is comfortable, calm, relaxed, friendly, satisfied, or indifferent.

Why do cats arch their backs?

The cat's arching back is actually part of his complex body-language system. Not only does he arch his back as a form of stretching "sleepy" muscles after a nap, the arched back is also a form of showing that the cat is feeling threatened. In the latter case, the arched back is usually accompanied by his hair standing out all over his body, especially on his tail. He may even turn sideways to present an even more impressive profile to scare away a threatening animal. His arch is able to get so high because his spine contains nearly 60 vertebrae (humans only have about 34) which fit together loosely, giving him that incredible flexibility.

Why do cats suddenly take off at 90 miles an hour?

This behavior is due to pent-up energy that suddenly overflows. Cats are nocturnal beings and natural hunters. Even in an environment where there's nothing to hunt, or the cat no longer needs to hunt, he will feel the need to hunt anyway. At full hilt, a cat clocks an amazing 31 mph and covers about three times his own length per leap. Cheetahs, which are the fastest land animals, hit their stride at around 70 mph.

What does it mean when a cat does that unusual little hop?

When a cat zips over to you, bumps against your leg, quickly lifts both front paws off the ground together and puts them down again in a little hoplike manner, it's generally reserved just for humans. It's a throwback to the head-to-head greeting behavior he learned from his mother. She would lower her head to make face-to-face contact and rub noses with him in order to mingle scents. Since humans are so tall, and a cat is so short, this is his welcoming greeting.

Why do cats rub against your leg?

When a cat rubs his head or the side of his chin against you, the furniture, or any object, he is actually depositing his scent on them as part of territorial marking. He uses his glands on his forehead and around his mouth and chin. These glands produce chemicals called pheromones, which he transfers by rubbing against objects. Cats can tell how long ago a scent was left and how much attention they need to pay to the warning.

Why do cats roll over and expose their stomachs?

A rare form of greeting, the ulimate compliment that a cat can pay to a human. This body language shows how much he cares for you and how comfortable he is around you. Totally exposing the stomach reveals how secure he feels, because the stomach area is the must vulerable body part of the cat. He can be asking for a caress, inviting you to play with him, or may want the stomach area stroked. If he sleeps on his back this way, his trust in you is in the stratosphere.

Why do cats chase birds?

Cats are a bundle of instincts and are carnivores (meat-eaters). They will play with anything that moves because they are hunters. Never mind that the prey is a nutritionless, tasteless cat toy, they do what comes naturally.

Why won't cats come when called by their name?

More than likely, your cat won't answer your call because he is napping or something of much more interest is holding his attention, meaning that he doesn't see any reason to stop what he is doing.

Why do cats act as if they were born to be stroked?

Cats carry many of their kittenhood memories into adulthood. They respond to our stroking because they see us as a subsitute for their mothers. They interpret our stroking as if they were being groomed by their mother's tongue as kittens.

Why do cats knead?

That loud purring followed by the sharpening of claws on some soft spot of your body is called "milk-treading." When you relax and sit quietly, you're giving your cat the same signal he got from his mother when he was a kitten - that his mother was ready to let him suckle. A nursing kitten instinctively uses his paws to draw out the milk, gently pushing on his mother's stomach to increase the milk flow. When older cats behave this way, it's a good sign that they're happy, content, and probably recalling their kittenhood.

Why do cats get stuck in trees?

Their claws are constructed for climbing up. When they attempt to climb down headfirst (and normally this is what they will try to do first), it's impossible for them because the claws are curved the wrong way. Eventually, a cat will figure out how to go down the correct way - shimmying down backward so that the claws will cling to the bark of the tree.

Why do cats torture their prey?

Because humans look at hunting as either a sport or cruelty, we overlook the fact that the cat is a natural born hunter possessing a marvel of cunning and skill. Cats who have to live off their catch will kill and eat what they catch immediately. House cats, regardless of the fact that they are domesticated, may hunt but do not kill because they aren't hungry. Most house cats are never trained by their cat mothers to hunt and kill swiftly, so the kill becomes a toy - it moved and was caught by the cat who now regards it as a play object.

Why do cats cover their feces?

Many people believe they bury their waste products because they are fastidious. That isn't necessarily so. In the wild, only secondary cats bury their waste to protect their trail from predators. The dominant feline will actually display his or her feces prominently. This sends a strong message of dominance. In the world of house cats, you are the dominant animal and the house cat chooses not to offend you. They will carefully bury their feces to eliminate interfering with what they perceive as the natural order.

Why do cats like high places?

Anything up high gives cats a great view from which to keep an eye on their property. It's safe and secure, and they can keep a lookout for prey.

Do cats have a memory?

Cats have a memory that can be up to 200 times more retentive than dogs. The individual feline uses his memory only for what he regards as useful functions; therefore, a cat's memory is quite selective.

Why do cats chatter when seeing a bird?

The odd behavior that resembles teeth-chattering is usually produced when a cat sees something he wants but can't get to it. Though his mouth is slightly open (the lips pulled back and the jaw opening and closing rapidly), it's not a form of communication. The noise made is a combination of lip-smacking and teeth-chattering as he gets more excited. He may emit small bleating noises like a baby goat. So far, none of this is believed to have any function.

Why do cats hiss and spit when attacked or threatened?

Believe it or not, they are imitating snakes. The sound of the cat's hiss is almost the same sound as a snake's hiss - and the snake is one of the most feared creatures in the animal world. Hissing is pretty common in all land animals. When a cat hisses, he opens his mouth halfway, drawing back the upper lip and wrinkling the face. As he does this, he expels his breath so hard that, if you were close enough, you could feel the jet of air. The moisture he releases with this gusty breath is what's called spitting. It almost always succeeds in repulsing an enemy.

Why do cats want out when in...and in when out?

Cats have a very powerful need to check out their territory from time to time. The reason that their checking is so rhythmic is because of the built-in time clock of their scent marks. When outside, cats rubs a territory marker or sprays urine on it to keep their rivals away. The staying power of the scent becomes weaker with time and eventually disappears. This means that they will need another visit outside to do it all over again.

Why are cats so territorial?

All cats are territorial by nature, even those who live indoors. They're very protective of their space. Inside, a cat claims from an entire room to a specific corner of a bed. Outdoors it is especially important for a cat to stake his territorial claim, limited only by how big an area he feels he can reasonably defend. New cats in the neighborhood have to fight to be accepted and to win territory. Each cat's territory includes a few types of spaces: private where he will sleep and feel safe, commonly held grounds which he will share with a few other cats, and meeting grounds where a group of cats will meet. An outer part of the territory is where he will hunt and roam. Usually by battling it out with other cats, they establish their territories. Often, they form a time-share system, using the same areas, but at different times.
When they fail to agree on the rules, the caterwauling begins.

Why do cats feel compelled to bring dead prey into the house?

Returning with the spoils of the hunt is their way of proudly bringing back a gift to their guardian. Normally, cats see us as a parent figure, but when they present gifts of prey, they see us as their kittens. Accept the gift graciously and properly dispose of it. Big cats in the wild present prey to others in their den as a social gesture. Perhaps they prefer to share it in safety where chances of theft are slim.

What do your cat's eyes reveal about his moods?

The pupils of a hungry cat's eyes will dilate up to five times their normal size when he spies his food bowl, even if it's empty. They'll also appear as big black pools when frightened or threatened. Half closed eyelids say that he's totally relaxed; when fully closed, he's very satisfied or asleep. He will shut his eyes for protection against a dominant rival. When forced into submission, he shuts out the image of his tormentor. The victor perceives this as defeat and usually walks away.

Why are cats so hard to train?

Actually, cats aren't that tough to train; they just refuse to perform for a pat on the head. They're indifferent to the process and learn tricks only because they want to. Because they're not renowned for their obedience, we think they're defiant. However, if there's something in it for them, they are quick to learn. Cats learn by association. You can't bribe them with sweets because their taste buds don't have any sweet receptors (as meat eaters they don't need them). They can't tell the difference between a sugar solution and plain water. As with all animals, coaxing them includes much love, patience, consistency, authority, repetition, and reward ... but never punishment. Dogs are trainable because they are born to follow leaders; cats, on the other hand, take care of themselves.

Are cats smart?

In the animal kingdom, the cat's IQ is surpassed only by monkeys and chimps. Cats think and adapt to changing circumstances and learn by observation, imitation, and trial and error. Interestingly, cats seem to learn more quickly from their own mothers than from examples set by unrelated cats, but imitate humans. They have been shown to exhibit greater problem solving abilities than dogs. Tests conducted by the University of Michigan and the Department of Animal Behavior at the American Museum of Natural History have concluded that while canine memory lasts no more than 5 minutes, a cat's recall can last as long as 16 hours, exceeding even that of monkeys and orangutans.

Do cats think?

A cat's intelligence is confined to cautiousness with a guarded view of the world. They're smart enough to know danger and remarkably well-equipped to avoid it. Their curiosity is related to their high intelligence. They will work endlessly in order to get the results they want - food, for example.

Why do cats' eyes glow in the dark?

There is a simple explanation for that characteristic green or gold shine. A membrane, called tapetum lucidum, coats the eye and reflects light. When a cat is in the dark, his pupils open wide and light is reflected off them, but they aren't actually glowing. This ability, along with their extraordinary sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, enables them to see very well in the dark.

Can cats really see in the dark?

They can't see in total darkness and their daytime vision is only fair, but they can see far better than humans in semi-darkness. They can also distinguish brightness 7 times better than we do. As nocturnal hunters, their eyes are able to scoop up even the smallest scrap of available light. Their vision generally is blurred at the edges and they see best at 6 - 20 feet. When it comes to movement, though, the cat doesn't miss a twitch. An aside: a cat's diet without taurine, a substance crucial for his eyesight, will make the cat go blind. Dog food lacks taurine, so never feed it to a feline.

Do cats see in color?

It was once believed that cats are colorblind, but now it is known that they can actually tell the difference between certain colors. Basically, they see the world in shades of blue and green. Though they see color, cats don't pay much attention to it. In nature, color isn't particularly necessary for a cat's survival success.

Why do all tabbies have an "M" on their foreheads?

Since most of the world's cats are tabbies, the distinctive M is a genetic feature passed on from generation to generation. This feature is part of the fur pattern. An Italian legend tells the story of a young cat being in the stable in Bethlehem during the Christ Child's birth. As the Child lay crying in the manger, none of the animals present could soothe Him to sleep. When the tabby jumped into the manger, snuggled close, and began to purr, the Infant Child responded as if to a lullaby and soon drifted off to sleep. Mary gave the tabby a gentle pet on the forehead. Where her fingers had touched, the little tabby was marked with an M as a symbol of the Madonna's eternal gratitude.

Why do cats flick their ears when they're asleep?

The cat's remarkable ears each have 30 muscles that control the outer ear (our ears only have 6 muscles). These muscles rotate 180° so that they can hear without moving their head. Even though they may appear to be sleeping quite often, most of the time they are only dozing, constantly searching the air for sound.

What's the purpose of that useless looking pad midway up the rear of the cat's leg?

It's called the carpal pad and its function serves as an anti-skid insurance policy for any crash landings as they race around full hilt.

Why does the Manx cat have no tail?

The most common Manx cat legend says that the tail was lost because the cat was the late boarding the Ark. Noah accidentally slammed the door on the tail. In fact, the lack of a tail is a true genetic abnormality that was first observed in the 16th century. The tail mutation is a serious defect. There is a hollow in the Manx's body where the tail should be. This distorts the rest of the spine so that the Manx has a backbone with fewer and shorter vertebrae. A true Manx is called a "Rumpy"; if he has a tiny tail, he's a "Stumpy." He is also called a "Bunny" because his strong back legs are longer than his front. As a result, he runs with a hop.

Why is a cat's tail so flexible?

The cat's tail contains between 14 and 28 caudal or tail vertebrae, linked like a string of beads. Even the tailless Manx has three tail vertebrae, even though flexibility isn't the Manx's strong points. Short of the short tail, a Manx looks like an ordinary cat.

Why do cats have three eyelids?

The third eyelid is actually a tiny triangle of pinkish or whitish tissue that is sometimes visible in the corner of the cat's eyes. It's called the haw, or nictating membrane. Humans have something like it - the small pink bump at the inner corner of the eyes. In the cat, the haw rises automatically and then moves sideways across the eye to protect or lubricate its sensitive surface. If the cat is ill, undernourished, or on the verge of catching a disease, the presence of the haw is a good indicator that the cat's health isn't up to par. The spontaneous movement occurs because pads of fat behind the eyeballs, which act as shock absorbers, start to shrink when the cat is in poor health. This is usually a signal to immediately take your cat to the vet.

Why do cats shed?

It's their way of going from their winter coat into a summer one. Less hair means a cooler body. Cats lose more hair in summer months because the increased light from longer days triggers the shedding process. The average house cat will also shed more because of electric lights, even near the light from a TV screen. Stress and illness adds yet other factors to cause more shedding.

Why do cats shed their claws?

Cats are the only animals who walk directly on their claws, not on their paws. It would be like humans walking on the tips of their fingers. Getting around on tiptoe, called digitigrade, is a particularly useful feature when it comes to moving at high speeds. Being the great hunter that they are, they need to keep this skill very sharp. Contrary to popular belief, manicuring their nails on your furniture is not out of malice or sharpening the claws. Cats are tearing off the ragged edges of the sheaths of their talons when scratching. All year long, they shed their claws to expose new sharp ones beneath. Claws aren't just for protection. They are responsible for the cat's exquisite balance and amazing feats such as climbing, stretching, running, and grooming. Declawing not only physically afflicts a cat, but he is also psychologically anguished, deprived of his only defense and one of his most versatile tools for survival.

Why do cats retract their claws?

They pull in their claws to protect them and to keep them sharp. They need to be kept sharp for all the reasons explained above. Sharpened claws are needed to mark their territory as well. When scratching, sweat glands between the paw pads secrete a scent transferred to the tree trunk or other object (possibly furniture if a house cat). This is how the cat identifies the scratched area as his own. In the animal kingdom, the cat's retractable claws are his most remarkable feature. When the legs are extended, the paws automatically expand to extraordinary size and the claws appear.

What makes cats cuddly?

The cat has a toasty body temperature of 102°. A good percentage of the nutrients he gets from his daily food intake (approximately 30 percent) is devoted to making his skin and coat supple and fuzzy.

Why do cats like to sleep in the sun?

Cats like to feel warm and secure before they fall to sleep. They also use the sunlight to help make up the slight drop in body temperature that happens once they fall asleep. Some cats will change their sleep positions to follow the movement of the sun.

Why does catnip made cats act crazy?

Their wacky, daydreamy state is actually a response to the herb's powerful natural chemical, trans-nepetalactone. It's almost identical to the essence excreted by female cats, which is why tom cats seem to love catnip the most. However, this doesn't explain why females love it as well. Catnip was once thought to be an aphrodisiac, but scientistic tests have squelched that theory. Cats aren't attacted to it until they are at least two months old. If introduced to catnip prior to this age, most cats will not respond to it at all when they are older. The herb valerian will give cats the same sense of ecstasy as catnip. Valerian is a mild stimulant and, though it doesn't do any harm, it shouldn't be offered to cats with kidney ailments. By the way, both catnip and valerian produce ecstasy through the odor, not the taste.

Why does your cat wash your hair or face?

The first thing a kitten experiences, even before it can see, is its mother licking and washing. Grooming is a demonstration of love and caring. So, if your cat occasionally washes your hair or licks your face, he is showing you his acceptance and caring of you as a fellow feline.

Why does a cat "knead" or "make biscuits"?

When a kitten is nursing, it typically kneads its paws against its mother, either as a sign of contentment or to encourage the milk flow. When the cat matures, it kneads to show its contentment and pleasure.

Why does a cat go to the visitor who doesn't like cats?

When one cat is threatening another, it stares boldly, sometimes hisses, and frequently moves in toward the other cat. Usually, the person who doesn't like cats avoids looking at it, doesn't talk to it, and sits quietly, hoping to be ignored by the cat. The cat, therefore, sees the person's behavior as "cat-friendly" and practically inviting.

Why does your cat push its head against you?

This is called "head butts". This is a cat's way of showing affection. Some cats will turn their head, and push it against a human (or another cat).

Why does a cat do a stiff-legged hop/touch against a human?

That is the cat's body language of saying, "hey, hi there, how ya doin'?"

Why does your cat rub up against you?

Cats have scent glands along the tail, on each side of their head, on their lips, base of their tail, chin, near their sex organs, and between their front paws. They use these glands to scent mark their territory. When the cat rubs you, he is marking you with his scent, claiming you as "his." Too, he is picking up your scent. Cats rub up against furniture or doorways for the same reason - to mark the item as "his". (Urine spraying is also a territorial marking, by the way.)

Why does a cat sometimes wash its fur immediately after being petted?

There are two theories on this behavior. One theory proposes that the cat is getting rid of the human smell. The other is that the cat is furthering the pleasure of his association with you by tasting your scent.

Why do some cats suck wool or clothing?

There are a couple of theories on this:
The cat was weaned too early and the scent of the lanolin reminds the cat of his mother, or
The cat has a lack of fiber in his diet.

Why does a cat walk sloooowly, looking straight forward when passing another cat?

All cats are territorial to an extent - the range of a particular inside cat may extend from a small space in a room to the entire house, depending on their hierarchical ranking in the family. When a "superior" cat confronts on "inferior" in the hierarchy, it will stare at and/or move in for a face-to-face confrontation. When a cat wants to show that it doesn't want to get into an argument, it will make a wide, slow path around the other cat, usually avoiding even looking at it.

Why does a cat use a litterbox?

In the wild, cats learned to bury their feces to hide their presence from predators or rivals. That trait remains ingrained in our domestic house cats.

Why does a cat scratch outside the litterbox, instead of inside it?

The cat has probably had several unpleasant experiences of getting his feet soggy or dirty - make sure the litterbox is cleaned out frequently.

Why does a cat purr?

Usually, a cat purrs because it is content. A mother cat purrs to let her kittens know she is nearby, and kittens purr in response to their mother's grooming. Older kittens purr to entice adults to play. Some adults will purr to show an aggressor that they are non-threatening. Take note, however, that some cats will purr when frightened or in pain. By the way, no one has yet to discover how a cat purrs.

Why does a cat sometimes scratch the floor as though he is trying to bury his food dish?

It may be a holdover of the wild trait of burying food for later. Or, it may be that he is trying to tell you that the food is not to his liking.

Why does a cat attack human's ankles?

Kitten play always involves mock battles, with surprise attacks, pounces, and leaps. The kitty is basically trying to play, as he would with another cat. Direct him to less painful game play - chasing balls, cords, and so on.

Why are some people allergic to cats?

It's not the cat's fur that causes allergies. It's a protein (FEL D1) in the cat's saliva. When a cat grooms itself, it deposits this protein on its fur (and the protein then may be transferred to upholstery and carpets). Some cats have less (or more) of this protein. Though there is no way to predict which cat in a litter, if any, will be less hypoallergenic, though females seem to be the lesser hypoallergenic. Bathing a cat reduces the amount of protein in the cat's fur, so the human's physical reaction is lessened. I have also been told that putting a few drops of vinegar in the cat's water bowl helps to minimize the effects of the protein.

Why does your cat turn his/her back on you after a scolding, or if you've been gone for a while?

Typically, a person's body language when reprimanding a pet includes staring or other overtly "aggressive" behavior. The cat usually responds in a submissive fashion. In a sense, it is telling you he has surrendered to you, as a fellow cat, and is discouraging attack. (By the way, you will get better results from a cat if you enforce his positive behavior instead of reprimanding any negative behavior.)

Why does your cat bring you dead or dying creatures?

There are at least four differing theories on this behavior:
- Your cat is bringing you a present, in appreciation for you feeding it or as a sign of affection.
- Your cat realizes you are a totally incompetent mouser and is trying to educate you.
- The cat is bringing her prey home to where it is safe, where she usually eats.
- The cat is simply trying to make sure you have fresh food.

Why does a cat play with its prey?

Cats are attracted by movement, so if a stalked prey keeps moving, the cat's desire to attack continues to be stimulated. If the cat gets very excited over the stalking/killing, he may continue to play with the prey after it is dead.

Why do some cats put their toys in their water or food dish?

Cats look upon their food area as part of their territory, and that particular area of their territory usually doesn't change from day to day - so the cats are likely putting their favorite toys away in a "safe" place. Some cats will consistently put away their toys when they're through playing with them - you might try putting your cat's toys in a small basket near one of his favorite spots and see if he will put them away on his own.

Why does your cat take a small bite on your arm or cheek and hold on for a few seconds?

Some cats, when they are very happy and feeling extremely affectionate toward the Big Unfurry Cat, will gently take a piece of human skin between their teeth and hold it for a few seconds. Think of it as the feline equivalent of kissing.

Why do cats roll over on their backs?

Cats roll over on their backs for a variety of reasons: if your cat flops down in front of you and rolls over on his back for a belly skritch, it's a sign of his complete trust in you that you won't ever hurt him. Other times, he wants to play. If the cat is female and in heat, it's a form of foreplay. It's also a part of their social standing. Domesticated cats don't display this as much as wild ones do. Wild cats have a very similar social structure to that of wolves.

Why does a cat lick photographs or plastic bags?

It has been speculated that they are tasting the slight "odor" that emanates from these products. They may also enjoy the texture of the items on their tongue.

Why do some cats go crazy over catnip, but others ignore it?

The response to catnip is the result of a gene in the cat; if the cat doesn't have the gene, it cannot physically react to catnip. Some cats will react to catnip by rolling around on the floor in delight, others will just quickly eat it up and wander off, while others will ignore it completely.

Why does a cat sometimes "sneer" when smelling something?

When a cat curls back its upper lip and looks like it's sneering, it has just discovered an interesting, usually intense odor and is smelling it more deeply. Called "flehming, it is drawing the odors into an organ (Jacobson's organ), in the roof of its mouth.

Why do cats sometimes scratch at windows?

It may be that they are verifying that there is actually a barrier between them and whatever they see outside.

Why does a cat hate getting wet?

Actually, many cats enjoy water and at least one breed is known to enjoy fishing and swimming. But, it has to be on their own terms - being picked up by two human hands and dunked in a sink full of water is not on the cat's "own terms."

Why do some cats insist on drinking from a dripping faucet?

Cats - like most other animals - prefer their food and water fresh, and running water is most appealing for that reason. Too, the motion of water coming out of a faucet is probably appealing to their sense of hearing and sight. Some cats will even put their paw into their water dish and "swirl" it around so they can drinking "running" water.

Why does a cat hide when it is sick or dying?

Instinct tells a cat to hide where a predator can't find them. When a cat is ill, it may think it is being stalked - so it hides.

Why does a cat spend so much time grooming?

Besides the obvious purpose of hygiene and the social aspects, grooming helps cats cope with confrontation or embarassment (you may have noticed that if a cat accidentally falls off a chair, the first thing he does is nonchalantly wash himself, as though he intended to get down in the first place.

Why does a cat frequently demand attention when you're on the telephone?

The cat, since it can't see the person you are talking to, presumes you are talking to him, and is responding to what he perceives is your conversation with him.

Why does a cat scratch the furniture or a scratching post?

While some people think a cat scratches to sharpen its claws, that is probably inaccurate. There are typically two reasons for scratching: the cat is marking its territory (cats have sweat glands between their paw pads, and scratching leaves their scent on the clawed object); or, the cat is "filing down" its nails and removing the outer layer

Why does a cat suddenly bite or hiss at a person after it's been petted for a while?

If a person persists in touching a sensitive area (such as the cat's tail, ears, or belly), the cat might give a gentle nip to as a way of staying "stop." Too, some cats can tolerate pleasurable stroking only for short periods of time; again, he may communicate "stop it" with a nip or cuff of his paw.

Why do some cats insist on tipping over their water dish, or take food out of the dish and drop it on the floor to eat?

Most cats do not like to eat or drink out of bowls if the sides touch their whiskers. Also, if a bowl is too deep, the cat may take the food out for convenience. A wider, shallower bowl will probably eliminate this behavior.

Why does a cat chatter when he sees a bird?

When a cat kills prey, it bites down quickly several times. The "chatter" is simulating the cat's behavior at the time of attack.
Alternatively (according to a visitor): it's pure and simple frustration. When a cat is stalking or killing a bird, they're almost invariably completely silent. It's when they are shut off from the prey that they chatter.

Why is a cat able to land on its feet from a fall?

When falling, the cat uses its tail to right itself and swivels its body in mid-air, so that it is facing the ground, and lands with its back arched to absorb the shock. Cats have very flexible bodies, so the swiveling is easy for them to do.

Why do cats like crinkly sounds?

Crinkly sounds are similar to the high-pitched noises of rodents, birds, and crickets, so the crisp, crinkly sound of a crumpled piece of paper or walking into a paper bag stimulates the cat's "prey response."

Why does a cat swish his tail?

Cats use their tail to communicate their mood.

Why do cats chew on plants?

It could be that the grass helps the cat get rid of fur swallowed while grooming, or that grass provides fiber or vitamins and minerals not found in meat. Some plants are poisonous to a cat; others are okay for nibbling.