Friday, October 14, 2011

The Bizarre Behaviors of Cats

By Julia Williams

Cats are such strange creatures. Not strange in a bad way, just prone to bizarre behavior that can leave you wondering what exactly is going on in that pretty little head of theirs.  I suppose there are cat critics who’d argue that nothing is going on in their heads and that’s why they act so peculiar. However, I’m convinced that cats know exactly why they do the things they do! And I think they might even do some things precisely because it keeps us guessing. I think they don’t want us to “figure them out” because being decoded would go against their feline nature, i.e., pretending to be independent and oblivious to us.

After decades of living with cats, I’ve concluded that it’s pointless to try to understand why they do such strange things. Most if not all of the funny things cats do will never be understood. Knowing the crafty feline mind like I do, I wouldn’t put it past them to pretend to be asleep when they’re actually lying there concocting yet another kooky behavior to confuse their gullible human.

A cat’s fascination with boxes is high on my list of the behaviors I find perplexing. What’s up with that? I saw a photo cartoon that had a bunch of boxes on a deserted road, and each box had a cat sitting in it. The caption said, “The cat traps are working.” Funny, but so true! I daresay there isn’t a cat alive that doesn’t love boxes. They sleep in them, play in them, slide through them (Maru!) and wedge themselves into the teensiest box like feline contortionists. Why? And how can that even be comfortable?

Moreover, why would they prefer sleeping in that hard box or on the cold floor instead of their cozy cat bed? Who sleeps on the floor, anyway? I was so excited when I got my cats a multi-level scratching post/cat condo with three places that looked (to my dumb eye) like great places to sleep. They took one look at this thing and bolted off to find their favorite box. It’s become a lovely piece of “corner art” now.

I’ve seen my cats sleeping outside on a pile of brambles, on top of plants or in the dirt. How can this possibly be comfortable? My kitchen towel drawer will often have a cat in it, which makes a lot more sense than on twigs or in a box, but it’s still an odd place for a nap. Mickey digs out half of the towels before making his little nest in there. He does the same thing to my sock drawer if I accidentally leave it open. I’ll come home to a floor littered with socks, and find him in the now-empty drawer snoozing away.   

Speaking of funny places to sleep, if cats hate water so darn much, why do they like to sleep in sinks? Showers seem to be a cat magnet also. Without fail, Rocky comes running the minute he hears the shower on. He sits on the edge of the tub, and when I get out, he gets in and licks up any water droplets he finds. It’s not because of extreme thirst, and I know this because I fill up his water bowl every day!!

Why do cats always need to be in the bathroom with you anyway? I don’t need or want an audience in there. But heaven forbid I lock Rocky out; he scratches on the door like his life depends on getting in. I think he just can’t stand not being able to “snoopervise” everything I do. That’s probably why all three cats insist on inspecting every single thing I bring into the house, too. My nosy felines must scrutinize the groceries, new clothes, office supplies…you name it, they act like Inspector Catso until it’s put away. And then the paper bag becomes their new favorite toy!

Cats pay no attention to newspapers or magazines until you try to read one, then they’re all over it like it’s been dipped in catnip. Same for the computer; they never notice it until you’re trying to type something, and then those furry little paws just can’t resist trying to help. I can understand the fascination with the mouse, but the keyboard? Not so much. Mickey’s favorite activity is hitting “delete” right after I’ve finished writing my best work ever. I think I see a mischievous glint in his eye, but it could just be that I need new glasses.

In the end, I put up with all of the bizarre things that cats do, because I love them. Besides, their quirkiness is what makes them even more fun to have around!

Photo by Kyknoord

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. I'm sure felines think their human servants do rather bizarre things too. :-)

    And it's certainly not the case that "nothing" is going on in their minds, as some might think. My Nicki is scary, trying to figure out escape routes and things to get into. You can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he studies something from every angle, figuring out the best way to get up, get around, get over, etc. :-)

  2. Cats are intelligent, and scarily so! In my crowd there is a whole range of intellect; and I have to say that The Baby is the smartest kitty I've ever lived with, paws down. And she STILL prefers to dig the soft towel (that I've carefully folded) out of the cardboard box so she can curl up on the "plain" cardboard; go figure.

  3. I have two "bathroom kitties." They both love to watch me get ready in the morning and evening. Ruby even sits right next to me on the vanity and practically sticks her head into the sink when I brush my teeth. It gets a little crowded in the bathroom at times, but I wouldn't want it any other way!

  4. HeeHee, that isn't bizarre at all, it sounds all too normal to me! Have a happy weekend!

  5. The box/bag thing is my biggest question. My cat will get out of her bed to lay on "her" bag. So odd.

    Great post.

  6. That all sounds really normal to us for cats. Most of us like to sleep on a bare table or in a box. Now the older cat, Holly does like to sleep on something soft. So does the kitten we have. Guess they are just like humans, they all have their preferences. Great post. Take care.

  7. OMG Julia, today’s post is so funny and SO VERY true… I know exactly what you mean! And I love Snoopervising, it’s a perfect word.

  8. My cat loves her kitty beds, but also loves bags, boxes, hard counter tops and her fav pushing me off my pillow!!!

  9. All the mystery is part of our charm!! *rumblecuddling my box*

  10. I loved this and laughed all the way through it. I can so relate to all you said. Aren't cats just so much fun? They will never let us know why they do what they do...they are smarter than we are. lol Hugs and nose kisses

  11. It's the expensive toys that really get me. The other day I brought back a dried-out old weed I found on my walk. Betting Bugs would be pleased to have his way with it. You'd think it came from the table of Mario Batali. I won't even mention the complete mess it leaves behind after Bugs chews his way up and down the stem.

  12. this was right on the money. So many of life's great questions that will remain unanswered!

    Boxes? Think of "Pandora's Box"

    Buying things for them that they will never use or in the case of Cody he waits a YEAR and THEN uses them!

    Who knows?

  13. U know wut? *I* am not particularly enamored of boxes and I for sure won't go in a deep one that might EAT ME.

  14. And just to show they're all different and unpredictable, I have the only 2 cats in the world that could not care less about a box. Go figure!

  15. We're still waiting for you to write some bizarre behavior because all that stuff is purrfectly normal. You might need to change the name of your post. Just sayin'.

    Angel & Isabella

  16. So, true, so true! We saw the cats in boxes photo, too and thought the same thing. Maybe if humans had our sense of smell, they might understand why boxes are so cool for us, I don't know, just a guess!

    Have a good weekend!


  17. When it comes to cats and their behavioral quirks, I just chalk it up to one of the seven mysteries of the world... So much of what they do is endlessly perplexing and fascinating - although you have to wonder, how do they perceive our behavior, especially that one trait of ours where we sit on a object for hours and a time and stare at a rectangular screen that talks and has moving pictures. Do they think we are watching birds and squirrels like they do?

  18. MOL. Love this post, Julia! This sounds like status quo around here (and at the shelter, too). :)

  19. Haha! We see our plan to make the humans crazy is working!


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