Cats can be strange. No matter how much we love them, there’s no denying their behavior can sometimes be just plain weird. One day we’re their best friend, the next day, they can barely look at us without drawn claws and bared teeth. Most of the time, their freaky behavior is nothing to be concerned about… cat’s can be brats, and we just have to do our best to enjoy the good days and get through the bad ones. Occasionally, however, sudden behavioral changes can indicate something’s going on we need to know about… and act on.
1. They’re Depressed
As Catster notes, Humans aren’t the only creatures that can suffer an attack of the blues. Just like us, cats can experience depression, and often for very similar reasons. If you notice your cat is suddenly taking more naps than usual, ignoring even the most tempting tidbit, hiding under the bed, or acting like everything is just too much effort, they may have a touch of depression. Patience and lots of tender loving care is the first port of call in lifting their spirits: shower them with lots of gentle loving and soft words, coax them out of their shell with new toys and treats, and take lots of time to tickle their ears and scratch their chins. If all else fails, your vet may decide to put them on a short course of antidepressants.
2. They’re Stressed
If you’ve recently moved, introduced a new pet or baby into the family, or if there’s been any other change to your cat’s normal routine or environment, they may be a little stressed. Anxiety can exhibit itself in several different ways, including avoiding the litter tray, being particularly jumpy, or a sudden loss of appetite. If you know your cat has a nervous temperament, try to mitigate any problems by planning in advance: if you’re due to move, keep them away from any packing activity as much as possible, and only introduce them to their new home once you’ve unpacked. You may also want to try one of the numerous room fragrances on the market designed to ease stress and make your cat feel more comfortable in new environments.
3. They Feel Threatened
You may occasionally feel under attack from your cat, but that’s nothing compared to what your cat can feel if you suddenly bring a new pet into the mix. If your cat starts behaving weirdly (or even violently) towards their new “friend”, they could just be feeling a little threatened by their presence, or even worried they’re about to be replaced in your affections by the newcomer. Let your cat know you still love them just as much as ever and make sure they have a separate place to eat and poop to the other cat. Playing with them both at the same time can also help foster a bond and divert away some of that otherwise aggressive energy.
4. They’re Jealous
If you find your cat tries to nudge your phone away during a call or jumps over your keyboard in the middle of an email, it could be they’re feeling a little jealous of all the attention you’re lavishing elsewhere. The only way to combat the problem is to give them plenty of one on one time; for those times when you simply can’t, try treating them to some interactive toys to divert their attention away from you and onto something equally fun.
5. They’re Comfortable With You
Have you ever been slightly freaked out by the thought your cat is flirting with you? That slow, languorous wink of theirs has to mean something, right? Well, it does, but it’s probably not you’re thinking. As Companion Animal Hospital notes, a slow cat blink is something that happens only when a cat feels completely comfortable, completely unthreatened and, okay, ever so slightly in love with its owner. Show it you care by sending a wink of your own in its direction.
6. They’re Feeling The Call Of The Wild
Put a bowl of food in front of a dog, and you can guarantee it’ll have wolfed it down before you can say “one, two, three, go”. Cats, on the other hand, have an altogether different attitude when it comes to mealtimes. If you notice your cat eats half their food, then begins scratching around the bowl or even trying to cover the remaining half with bits of scavenged paper, there’s no cause for concern. In the wild, cats would often hide food away for the lean times ahead. Several thousand years later, that instinct is still very much alive and kicking.
7. They’re Upping Their Nutrition
We may be used to seeing dogs eating grass, but cats? Believe it not, cats can be just as partial to snacking on your lawn as dogs. Although felines are by nature obligate carnivores, in the wild, they’d usually eat the contents of their prey’s stomachs along with the meatier parts. The reason? Stomachs are filled with semi-fermented vegetation – a good source of nutrition that, instinctively, cats now know to get from chomping on a few blades of grass.
8. They’re Sharing Their Scent
If your cat is in the habit of head butting you, worry not. They’re not trying to hurt you or showcase their dislike- in fact, they’re doing quite the opposite. When a cat head buts you (or to give it its proper name, indulges in a little bunting), what it’s doing is marking you with its scent, and simultaneously, marking themselves with yours. The same principle is at work when they rub against your legs. While some mistake this as a territorial sign, what they’re actually doing is creating a shared scent… and what could be nicer than that?
9. They’re Sick
Sometimes, the reason for your cat’s odd behavior could simply be that they’re unwell. If you notice any physical changes in your cat; if they suddenly start drinking constantly or avoiding fluids altogether; develop a ravenous hunger or turn their back on even the tastiest treat, their strange behavior might be their way of telling you they’re sick. If you suspect illness, get them checked by a vet as soon as possible.
10. They Just Don’t Like You
You know the feeling… no matter how nice someone can be, there’s something about them that just rankles. Cats are the same… you can treat them with all the kindness in the world, shower them with treats, toys, and kind words, but sometimes, they’re just not that into you, and there’s very little you can do to change it.