Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Is Your Cat Normal?

Cats act funny sometimes.

Cats do some mysterious things. It's nice to have an idea of whether or not some of the strange habits your cat has are normal or not.

Here are some feline behaviors that often have people baffled and some information on whether or not they're normal.

Head Bumping

If you've ever bent down to say hello to your cat and had him head butt you with his forehead, you might have wondered what it's all about.

Don't worry; this is normal cat behavior. Kitties have scent glands in their cheeks, so bumping their head into you or rubbing their face on you means they're leaving their odor on you. Your kitty is just claiming you as his and showing you a sign of love and happiness.

There's more information here: "Why Cats Head Bump."

However, if your cat is placing his head onto an object like a wall or couch and pressing, appears to be doing so obsessively, and the behavior starts suddenly, something else entirely is going on. This behavior is head pressing, and it requires an emergency trip to the vet.

Eating Plants

Many cats like to chew on and eat plants. It's extremely important to know which plants are toxic to cats so you don't have them in your home where your cat can get to them.

If you have a kitty that likes to chew plants, consider growing some cat grass, wheatgrass, or catnip for him.

You can find more information and tips here: "How to Keep Your Cat from Chewing on Houseplants."

Wool-Sucking

One of the stranger things some cats do is suck on wool or other materials. It's called pica, and it may be caused by stress or anxiety. Kittens sometimes suck on materials if they've been weaned too early, and that habit can progress to eating non-food items as they get older.

Pica can be caused by certain medical conditions, too.

If your cat is exhibiting pica, try to keep his preferred material away from him. Visit the veterinarian to rule out a medical problem and if none is found, increase your interactive playtime with your kitty. You may also consider using Feliway to help calm an anxious cat that resorts to pica.

Learn more here: "Pica in Cats: Why Cats Eat Strange Things."

Sleeping a Ton

Cats sleep up to 20 hours a day. The reason for all the snoozing is that cats evolved as hunters. They expend a lot of energy in bursts when they are stalking and catching their prey, then they have a meal and rejuvenate themselves through sleep to get ready for the next hunt.

Learn more here: "Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?"

Sleeping and catnapping a lot are normal for cats, but if you notice a sudden increase in the amount of sleeping yours is doing or there are other abnormal signs like decreased appetite or lack of interest in playing, it's time to visit the veterinarian.

Being Awake at Night

Does your cat sleep all day and play all night? If so, he's not alone. Many people have cats that seem to sleep all day and then want to romp around all night while their humans are trying to sleep.

Part of this behavior is because cats are crepuscular, which means they're most active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn. Part of it is also because cats tend to get a little bored being home all day while their humans are out. They spend the time sleeping, and then they're ready to go at night when the house is quiet.

Take a look at the article "How to Train Your Cat to Let You Sleep" for ideas on how to change your cat's schedule so you can get a good night's sleep.

Talking a Lot

Is your cat a chatterbox? Always trying to tell you something, following you around, never being quiet? Well, some cats, such as Siamese, are just natural talkers, and this is probably entirely normal.

However, if your previously quiet kitty is suddenly talking or yelling up a storm or there's a change in the tone or timing of the talking, you should have him checked out. Certain medical conditions can cause a cat to begin crying a lot when he didn't before.

Learn more: "Why Some Cats Talk a Lot."

Curling up in the Smallest Possible Space

Have you been looking for your cat everywhere only to see him sauntering out of an area where you feel there couldn't possibly be a place for him to hide?

Have you seen him squeezing himself into an impossibly small cardboard box, looking completely uncomfortable, to take a snooze?

This is normal cat behavior. Cats like to hide and watch what goes on around them. This is probably because of their background as hunters. Squeezing into a small spot also keeps a cat warm, which cats love.

You can help your cat indulge this behavior by getting him a cat cave. Cats love getting inside of them, feeling invisible, and they're cute home décor.

Learn more about cats and small spaces: "Why Do Cats Like Boxes?"

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.