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Feline Behaviors: Why Does My Kitty Do This?
Part 2: Little Feline Night Terrorists


Macqui and Minni, taking "time out"

The Middle of Night is the Best Time for Play
Maybe your cat’s been listening to too many country-western tunes on the radio about "the night time being the right time"! It can certainly be annoying when your cat behaves this way. But actually, the night time is the prime hunting time for cats in the wild, and his instincts may be telling him to be active at night. Galloping over furniture and knocking over everything in his path may be his way of looking for "prey"! Another key reason for cats behaving this way is when their human families are away all day, it only makes sense that the cat may choose the day time to sleep and snooze, so it can be awake and active when his human family is home. Young kittens and cats especially can be very active at night. Try making efforts to spend time with your cat before and after work, and any time you can during the day, and make a special ritual before bed of wearing him out with interactive toys such as wand toys, feather toys, Whirly Birds, etc., so that he gets to spend time with you, yet gets tired out just before you go to bed. If you have a single cat who insists on behaving this way, you might want to consider getting him a feline companion so that he would not be bored during the day, and could work off some of that energy during the day instead of saving it all up for the night.

Scratching With His Paws on the Glass Window
This is most likely your cat’s way of "testing" the glass to be sure that it does effectively keep him away from what he can see beyond the glass. Sometimes, he may see (or hear) things that definitely interest him and that he’d like to explore such as other cats, other animals, potential prey such as butterflies or birds, people, cars, moving and stationary objects. He can be expressing his frustration that he can’t get beyond the glass. And, as the saying goes, "you can’t blame him for trying"!

Making that Chattering Noise While Watching Birds
Most cats make that quite distinctive teeth chattering sort of noise that seems reserved specifically for when they see birds or squirrels, whether outside or on television. Actually, that noise may be more of an instinct than we realize. Many feline behavior specialists have noted the similarity of that noise to the special neck bite that cats use in the wild designed to kill a bird or small rodent quickly and efficiently, before they have a chance to struggle. Young kittens and cubs in the wild have the opportunity to practice this special bite; house cats may just be showing their excitement at seeing potential prey, or possibly their frustration (with the excitement, too) in seeing potential prey that they cannot get to. Many times, you may notice that your cat’s tail is getting puffy, or is twitching in a special way that accompanies his special chattering noises.

Trying to "Bury" His Food
Sometimes after eating, or simply when you put down a bowl of wet food, your cat may try to let you know that the food is not to his liking by trying to "bury" the entire bowl! This behavior can also occur when the cat is displeased with the location of his food bowl, the food itself, or possibly when he is not very hungry, and is trying to "bury" his food (which he is then thinking of as "prey") for him to have later on, when he is perhaps more ready to eat.

Preferring Water from a Running Faucet

Not surprisingly, cats prefer their water fresh, also. The motion of water coming out of a faucet is very appealing to their sense of hearing, as well as of sight, and possibly even of smell. Even if your cat’s water dish looks clean, bacteria can collect very quickly especially in ceramic and plastic bowls. Always use stainless steel bowls for food and for water for your kitty. And, it is best to change his water daily, after rinsing out his water bowl thoroughly, or even washing it daily. Water that has been standing even a few hours loses oxygen; cats are smart enough to know that the freshest water still has lots of oxygen in it, which is certainly true in the running fresh water right out of the tap.

Rubbing His Head Against You or Your Shoes
Your cat has special scent glands located in various parts of his body, including the area underneath the skin on his chin, and the area around his eyes. When your cat rubs up against you with his head, he is actually "marking" you with his own scent, as a signal to other cats that he is claiming you as "his"! You will probably notice that when your cat is doing this behavior, he is in a loving, peaceful and contented mood. The scent glands around his face release what are known as "facial pheromones", sometimes dubbed "happy hormones"! You should feel honored when your cat does this behavior to you as it is demonstrating his deep affection for you. Rubbing his head against your shoes is also a marking behavior – perhaps your cat is trying to cover up the scents from where you have been during the course of the day (which of course will be on your shoes) with his own scent, signifying again his "claim" on you.

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