Catster’s Quirks: 15 Reasons We Love and Laugh at Cats

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Catster Magazine; click here to subscribe to Catster Magazine.

Our world is a much more interesting place with quirky individuals. They make us laugh and give us a chance to stop trying to be perfect all the time. Maybe that’s why we love cats so much! Some of a cat’s quirks are unique to each cat, while others are typical cat behavior. Below we present 15 common feline quirks and reveal the reasons for each.


1. Twitching while sleeping

Like humans, cats go through different stages of sleep, including REM sleep and non-REM sleep. Sleep researchers believe that all mammals dream during the REM sleep stage. Cats twitch in their sleep when they dream, and their muscles are reacting to the behavior in the dream. In other words, if a cat’s whiskers are moving, it’s probably walking through a narrow gap in a dream. If it’s chattering, it may be dreaming about birds. Or, if its paws are moving, it may be running up its favorite cat tree.

2. kneading.

This comes from rubbing the belly of a mother cat when she was a kitten to stimulate milk production. Cats knead their tummies as adults because they feel comfortable and close to their mother cat before napping. Cats will only knead someone they feel comfortable with, just like they would their own mother.

Photo by Gina Ciolo / Lumina Media

3. Walking in circles before lying down

This behavior before napping serves three purposes. First, by sniffing the area with their paws, they recognize it as a safe place to sleep and are immediately aware of the unusual scent of an intruder. Second, cats will do this in tall grass, walking in circles on the grass to flatten it and make a good bed. Third.

Snakes and other reptiles can sense where they might be setting up camp.

4. Obsessed with catnip

About half of all cats are stimulated by catnip. The scientific name for catnip is Nepeta cataria, which includes

Catnip contains an essential oil called nepetalactone, which produces a euphoric effect when sniffed by cats and a sedative effect when ingested.

Photo by Shutterstock

This olfactory stimulation causes cats to roll around and act crazy. The effect lasts for about 10 minutes until the cat loses interest. Catnip is safe for cats and they will stop eating when they are full.

5. hunt when there is enough food.

Photo by Shutterstock

A cat’s eyes are designed to detect movement, so it’s no surprise that moving objects irritate them. Cats hunt for more than just food. It is natural for kittens and cats to play when they are not immediately fed. They still find it a physically and mentally stimulating behavior. Eating is an important part of their lives, but that doesn’t mean that all of their behavior is about food. However, cats prefer to eat after playing. And by the way, so do we. Who doesn’t love a nice dinner after a sweaty day at the gym or a busy day at the office?

6. they like stinky things.

Have you ever noticed that cats are interested in the smell of your gym clothes, socks and shoes? It’s your odor they are smelling. You may think you smell bad, but they smell you tenfold. Of course, they associate you with good things like food, love and protection. They recognize people by their scent, so why wouldn’t you want to sleep in a place where you can smell the people you love?

Photo by Shutterstock

7. staring at a wall with nothing on it

Some people believe that animals can see into other dimensions, such as the spirit world of angels and ghosts. No feline can make us think of this possibility more than a cat staring at a wall with nothing on it. We know it resonates well with cat lovers – there’s even a Facebook page called “Cats Who Stare at Walls.” The truth is, cats’ eyes are drawn to movement. A cat may notice a shadow on the wall at different times of the day, although this is only speculation. It could be its own shadow, or it could be staring at a wall it remembers seeing, waiting for it to return.

Photo by Gina Ciolo / Lumina Media

8. showing attraction to non-cats and people with allergies

Cats are both predators and prey. They prey on larger animals and are defensive when larger animals come near. If you want a cat to come close to you, you need to wait for it to become curious about you, perceive you as non-threatening and approach you. This is exactly what happens to people who are allergic to cats or who are not interested in cats. Cats will perceive these people as non-threatening and become curious.

9. Climb to high places.

Cats will run up trees to avoid predators, so it is in their nature to climb to high places. From this high point, they can safely look down on everything in their world without feeling threatened.

Photo by Shutterstock


At a certain time of day, cats get wild-eyed and run around the house at full speed, jumping over obstacles and flying up and down furniture and stairs. When cats do this, we all steer clear so that no one gets hurt. Cats need explosive energy when they hunt, so they sleep 16 hours a day to conserve fuel. At some point, the pent-up energy explodes. Usually at night.

11. Tripping people up

When cats have a lot of energy, they are sometimes easy to trip over. How many times has a cat lover almost tripped over a cat? There are also times when the cat wants to be close to you and will follow you wherever you go. Sometimes, when you are concentrating on something like cooking, the cat is waiting right next to you and you don’t realize it and almost step on it. Before taking a step, you need to watch your feet carefully to avoid injury and the cat.

12. Entering small spaces

How many of you have seen a cat try to get into a space that is too small for them and posted a video on YouTube? It’s funny to us, but cats do it to feel warm and safe. A cat’s flexible spine allows them to burrow into small spaces.

13. Chattering.

This adorable purr is something we can’t imitate, and it conveys both a cat’s excitement and annoyance. Cats chatter when they see birds or insects flying outside but can’t catch them. According to a study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, cats may actually be mimicking their prey. The meowing may be mimicking birds. After all, the “meows” are mimicking human speech, which they primarily speak to.

14. hoarding toys

How many times have you moved the couch to clean underneath it only to find your cat’s favorite toy hidden away? Trust me, it does. They know exactly where the next toy is for them to play with. Pretend you don’t see it and move on.

15. be cool with them.

We may take this as an insult, but when a cat sits close to us or puts their butt in our face, it’s actually a sign of praise and trust. Cats are both predators and prey, so we need to be careful of predators and untrustworthy companions. If cats trust us completely, they will feel safe enough to turn their backs on us.

Additional reader response.

Cats do lots of other weird things, so we asked readers to tell us about their cat’s odd behavior.

Stealing potatoes from a bag and dragging them under the dining room chair for a snuggle.

– Melissa Tracz.

When I come home from shopping, my two cats are cowering in their paper grocery bags, patiently waiting for me to go to bed.

– Fred Weisberg.

When it rains, they hide in the closet.

– Julie Moses.

I have to keep the toilet door closed or Mr. Zippy flushes the toilet. I wish I could teach him how to use the toilet!

– Gwen Nelson.

My kittens, wherever they are, come near me when I play the piano.

– Mary Brown Mitchell.

She licks her reflection in the mirror.

– Lisa Karp Warrenwade.

My cat likes to spin around in my office chair.

– C.R. Morin.

My Steven stretches out his hind legs and lifts himself up like he’s doing yoga.

– Carolyn Bradley.

My cat and I sing together. Whenever I sing and stop to rest, he meows in the gap. It also likes to sing along with the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack.

– Kay Graves.

Licorice likes to pull tissues out of the box for me in the middle of the night.

– Lorenzo Magno.

Kimba likes to rub her teeth when she sleeps.

– Priscilla Young

by susan Logan-McCracken

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