It’s not Weird. It’s Wonderful. aka ‘Why We Cats Do The Things We Do’

It’s not Weird. It’s Wonderful. aka ‘Why We Cats Do The Things We Do’

Ever wondered why your precious puss chatters at birds? The reason they insist on joining you in the bathroom? Or even why they sometimes like to pretend you don’t exist?

Antinol Team

By Antinol Team

Ever wondered why your precious puss chatters at birds? 
The reason they insist on joining you in the bathroom? 
Or even why they sometimes like to pretend you don’t exist?  

We asked Waffle, our resident CFO (Chief Feline Officer) to take a moment away from plotting the downfall of ‘the pigeon’, to give us his insight into cat behaviour.

If you’re curious as to the why behind the what of your cat’s weird, wacky and wonderful behaviour - this one’s for you.  

1. On A Roll

One of my favourites, and guaranteed to melt hearts (and get the treat jar open). Rolling on my back and baring my tummy fluff disarms my human in ways I can’t begin to describe. The impromptu tummy exposure and request for a tummy tickle has a power all of its own.

When I’m in the mood to roll over and show my tummy, it means I’m feeling happy and pretty good about life.  Often, simply Feline Fabulous.  I believe the same can be said for most of my feline friends.  It’s my way of saying “look at me, love me, don’t even try to imagine life without me”.

If I’m fully on my back, tummy up and legs open, it’s a direct invitation (if you’re gentle) to try me out with a gentle tummy tickle or stroke. I’ll let you know right away whether I’m just saying “I’m happy and high on life so observe and admire” or “I’d like a bit more of a stroke and gentle rub if you’d be so kind”.   

If I’m rolling around and rubbing my head on the floor, it’s my way of making sure I’ve claimed my spot, marking the area with my scent. Ok, so occasionally it might mean I have an itch, but if fleas aren’t an issue, and if I’m purring or making my most endearing chirrup or meow, it means I’m happy and in the mood for some attention.

One thing is for sure, exposing our tummy makes us quite vulnerable so you’ll only see it when we’re feeling safe and we trust you. 🐾

2. Bird Talk

They call me the resident ornithologist, as I can often be found observing the feathered ones. However, whilst my human believes I am sitting here admiring their aerodynamic structure, in truth I am plotting.  I am filled with murderous intent.  

I hate birds.  They are evil. Chirping away, disturbing my afternoon snooze.  Flying around without a care in the world when I am held captive indoors. My frustration at not being able to get to them is one of the reasons I make a strange chattering noise. It can also be heard as I am filled with excitement having mentally worked out my ‘catch and silence’ strategy.

It’s also been suggested our chattering has an altogether different origin. One that goes far beyond expressions of frustration and excitement. They believe it is coded deep down in our DNA - a form of mimicry used as a hunting strategy. Over time, our species may have learned to imitate the noises of birds and rodents to fool them into coming closer than would otherwise be safe. Who needs playtime when there’s preytime. 🐾

3. Va-Va Vooms

The crazy moments. The kooky moments. The moments when we go from 0-30mph in the blink of an eye and parkour round the house. You know the ones.  

If you think we’ve gone a little nuts, you don’t need to worry, it’s all perfectly natural.  We’ve got a lot of pent up energy that comes out in fits and spurts, particularly if a lot of our day is spent snoozing. We may have forgotten we were once natural born hunters, but our DNA hasn’t. Despite the changes in our circumstances, we were built to be constantly active and alert, hunting prey for most of our day. Athletes and gymnasts in our quest for food. 

But times have changed. My ‘prey’ now arrives on a china plate, nicely chopped, with even a special chicken sprinkle topping. All I have to do is wander over and chow down.

So what happens to all that innate hunter and sprinter DNA? Well, it comes out in other ways. And sometimes when you least expect it. One minute you’re fast asleep, dreaming of fresh steamed chicken served alongside a brand new catnip toy, the next you’re haring around the house, bouncing off the walls and emitting little meows of “yippee” as you start burning off all our excess energy. 🐾

4. Bottoms Up

I have been told I have a very stylish derriere.  My fox-brush tail lends it a certain understated elegance and I do like to swish it around as a sign I’ve entered the room and am ready for attention. Like other felines, when I wander in with my tail high and swishy, it’s my way of saying ‘hello AND I’ve missed you’. It may even include “You may pet me now.  I am ready for a little top-of-tail scritch”.  

But why do I do it?  It traces back to how  I say hello to other cats. All of us felines have a little innate ritual when we meet each other.  We sniff each other’s faces and necks and sometimes even share a little head bump). Our touchy, sniffy greeting releases pheromones from our cheeks sharing a lot of information about who we are and how we feel. It’s our super chemical communication system.  We can tell right away whether this new cat is male or female, friend or foe, healthy or ill, and even what kind of mood they are in.

And then it’s onto the big deal. The bottom. It’s where all the detailed information about us is stored. Where our signature scent is found, our very own ‘Eau de Feline’. Our bottom scent is unique to us, so we can tell if we’ve ever met before, and if we enjoyed the meeting.

We only tend to let cats we truly like, trust and feel safe with to get anywhere near our bottoms, so if you see us with a tail up and bottom presented to you - take it as a compliment - it means we’re happy to see you, we feel safe and we trust you. 🐾

5. Head Down

When it comes to our homes, it should come as no surprise when I say we felines own everything.  We are the true kings and queens of our domains. There is nothing that doesn’t rightfully belong to us - whether we think it’s worthy of our time or not - it’s all ours.

Take my human and the lovely throw they just got as a special treat for movie night? Mine. The waterproof fleece they got to keep warm on Spring walks. Also mine.

The new baby pink cashmere scarf that doubles as a blanket?  

Mine. Mine. Mine.

This ‘ownership-of-everything’ extends to you too. It’s why we like to come and rub our heads and cheeks against your legs, hands and face.   You may think we’re showing you affection and saying hello (which is sometimes the case), but more often than not releasing pheromones from our heads and cheeks, marking you and claiming complete and total ownership of you.  

Feline behaviourists call it ‘bunting’ and it’s our way of saying “you’re MY human”. 🐾

6. Bathroom Boycott

If we like you, we want to be near you. At all times. And more than that, we don’t like being shut out from anywhere in our domain. The bathroom door is one that gets closed more than any other and we don’t like it. I don’t like being excluded from the action, but my sister Crumpet has a touch of separation anxiety so a closed bathroom door can be quite stressful for her.

For us, the bathroom is a magical place full of interesting new smells, noises, scents and stimulation, so of course we want in! It’s one of my happy spaces.  Climbing into pj’s when they’re down by the ankles (super cosy for us heat-seeking missiles). Up onto a lap when it’s tinkle time (best cuddles, we have your undivided attention). Or just watching my human float bubbles around in the bath (I LOVE bubbles).  

The bathroom is EVERYTHING we want and need. Scents, stimulation and alone time with our favourite human. 🐾

7. Kneads Must

I’m very partial to a 5 minute speed-kneading session with my human. Especially if she’s wearing something soft and fleecy. It reminds me of when I was tiny and my mummy was wrapped around me, warm, smelling wonderful and if I kneaded well, my lunch would arrive and I’d get lots of affection.

I was born knowing how to do this (apparently it’s an instinct all us felines have) so I can’t really explain how I know how to do it, all I can tell you is that it’s happiness and joy. I feel good doing it and I know my human loves it. Especially if I’m purring at the same time. It’s a mutual affection moment for us.

And, remember the point about ownership, as we are pawing away, the scent glands in our feet are also releasing pheromones and marking whatever we are touching. Making it (yes you know…) ours.

Feline behaviourists suspect there might be a bit more to it; one theory is that it harks back to our ancestral days when we would paw at leaves and grass to create a soft, snuggly nest and check for tiny predators around us, another is that we do this to stretch our muscles and relieve tension in our limbs.

But whatever its origin, all I can tell you is that it soothes me, comforts me and is my way of letting my human know I love them (and their fleece jumper). 🐾

8. Let’s Pretend

My human takes it very personally when I ignore them, but sometimes it just has to be done.  

Sometimes it’s because I just need to be alone. It doesn’t mean I’m grumpy, it’s simply the case that us felines have very particular social skills when it comes to interaction and engagement and we’re not ‘always on’ like our canine friends. As lovely and cuddly as we can be, we are still independent creatures and we need our own space.

There are also times when I ignore my human because they’ve done something I’m very unhappy with. It’s well documented that we can be quite sensitive and have delicate emotions, and I acknowledge I am one of the more sensitive among our species. 

However, all us felines feel the same things to a degree. Jealousy when you’ve paid attention to another cat. Betrayal when you’ve gone away for a little while.  Upset because you’ve rebooted our routine. Fear because you’ve disrupted our domain.  When we feel threatened, unsettled, fearful or annoyed, we’re going to give you a wide berth.

And finally, there’s no nice way to put this really, but if we don’t want to be part of what you’re doing, sometimes it’s easier for us to just pretend you don’t exist.  Don’t take it personally. 🐾

The main thing to remember is no matter what we do, we like to remain a magnificent mystery. All we ask is that you observe, admire and adore us.  And give us treats. Always treats.

With love,



To read up on the Weird & Wonderful of Canine Behaviour [click here]

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