Okay, cats aren't really "weird". Cats can be such enigmatic and elusive creatures. Their typical behaviors, from endearing to annoying to puzzling, like “kneading bread,” chirping, and acting drunk, make you pause and wonder why. Why do cats do the strange things they do? Here, you’ll find the answers to your top eight questions about cats.
Why Do Cats “Knead Bread”?
Lying sleepily in bed, your cat swaggers over to you and lies against your chest. A few minutes later, your cat begins kneading your arm, her paws pressing lightly against your flesh, claws sliding in and out. What the heck?
People refer to this strange act as “kneading bread” or, simply, “kneading.” There are several theories behind this behavior. Many believe kneading is an innate behavior inherited from domesticated cats’ wild ancestors who created soft sleeping spots in the wild by kneading grass. Many also believe the behavior is tied to the cat’s infancy. As kittens, cats knead their mother’s belly to stimulate milk.
If your cat is kneading on you, she is likely preparing a comfortable spot to sleep on or she’s acting on an old habit from her childhood.
Why Do Cats Love Catnip So Much?
Sprinkle catnip on the floor, and cats will giddily pounce on and roll all over it. Cats seem to be addicted to the stuff, even displaying drunk behavior once they’ve inhaled or consumed the substance. Why do cats love catnip so much?
Catnip contains Nepetalactone, an essential oil that triggers cats’ happy receptor in their brains. Once eaten or sniffed, catnip creates a chemical reaction that causes cats to feel euphoria or overwhelming happiness, hence the “drunk” behavior. Catnip’s effects have been compared to the hallucinogenic drug on humans. So if your cat is acting strangely after consuming catnip, it’s likely because your cat is very high.
Why Do Cats Sneer?
Sometimes cats will hover over a particular item or area of your house, open its mouth, and inhale very slowly. This is called the Flehmen response. Cats display the Flehmen response when they’re analyzing a particular scent. Let’s say you went out for a walk and stepped on cat pee. When you arrive home, your cat will analyze the scent to investigate the owner of that urine, such as sexual availability.