Why Does My Cat Do That? Unusual Cat Behaviors Explained

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Cats are mysterious creatures. If you’re a cat owner, you’ve probably noticed a lot of odd behaviors that seem hard to understand. The truth is a lot of these unusual habits are simply instinct for your cat. Some of them may be leftover behaviors from before cats were domesticated, some may be related to hunting, and some can be traced back to kittenhood. It’s easy to forget that cats existed in the wild for millions of years before humans domesticated them, so they naturally have a lot of habits ingrained in them by evolution. Read on for some interesting theories on some of the most common quirks you may have observed in your cat’s behavior.

Chattering its teeth at birds

Ever noticed your cat sat on the windowsill, chattering its teeth at a bird? No one knows for sure why cats do this, but there are several theories. We do know that it is an instinctual behavior related to hunting, but no one knows for sure what the exact purpose is. It seems somewhat counterintuitive to make noise when you’re stalking your prey, right? Some cat behaviorists believe this is a sign of frustration. Your cat can see its prey but can’t reach it, so it’s just venting its frustration. Another theory is that it is your cat’s attempt to mimic the bird and try and trick it into coming closer (if this is true, maybe it needs to work on its imitation skills a little). Behaviorists also suggest that it may be your cat’s way of practicing its bite, just in case it somehow does manage to hunt down that sparrow that’s taunting it through the glass.

Scratching the floor before eating

You may have spotted your cat scratching around its food bowl before or after eating. It seems pretty pointless and strange, but there are a few possible instinctual causes for this odd behavior. As explained by, cats might do this as a way of covering up their tracks. Cats have a natural instinct to bury their food to prevent predators from smelling the leftovers and tracking them. Conversely, another theory suggests pawing around its food may be a cat’s way of leaving its scent and marking its territory.


Kneading is when your cat softly moves its paws up and down. Some cat owners affectionately refer to this behavior as ‘making bread’ or ‘biscuits’. We all know kneading is a sign of happiness in cats. It often accompanies purring and general affection. But where does this behavior come from? Well, the explanation is kind of adorable, so brace yourself for some cuteness. Kneading is a leftover behavior from kittenhood when kittens gently push on their mother’s belly to stimulate her milk flow while they are suckling. Kittens naturally feel very content while suckling, so end up associating the act of kneading with feeling comfortable and safe. This association continues into adulthood, which is why adult cats knead when they are feeling happy and contented (I know, I told you it was cute!).

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11 thoughts on “Why Does My Cat Do That? Unusual Cat Behaviors Explained

  • glad to hear that about the kneading. I always wondered why they did that!!

  • I love cats, they are such unique and mysterious animals! They a have their own personalities and can be so much fun to have around! This was fun to read about their behaviors and what they mean. Our Rosie is very confident and always has her tail up super high, I call her a lemur. 🙂

  • Cats are such interesting pets!

  • I love cats and their unique antics!

  • My cat has to ‘knead’ me every night before I go to sleep. I love when she chatters at the birds.

  • Oh i have 2 cats and i think they are both crazy

  • I always wondered what they’re doing when it seems like they’re chasing invisible things.

  • I have one cat that does all these weird things and more. She is so funny.

  • I have had cats my entire life and my current cats still do things that amaze me. They certainly have their own unique personalities.

  • Good info. Not things I didn’t already know, but simply put and easy to understand. Thanks!

  • Thank you for sharing and my cats do these things often LOL, I always thought it was funny more so when they was kneading but I fell in love.

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