Understanding your cat’s behaviour

Whether you’re a first-time cat owner or have a long-term feline friend, there will be times where you wish you knew what your cat was thinking and what their behaviour means. Here we explore some of the more common behaviours.

Head pressing

Head pressing can affect both male and female cats of any age and breed, and there are many possible causes. While most cats will rub their head against things from time to time – including your legs when they want feeding! – head pressing is more forceful and repetitive.

The most common cause of head pressing is damage to the nervous system. This can have a range of causes, including:

  •  Head injury
  •  Brain tumour
  •  Inflammation of the brain
  •  Toxic poisoning
  •  Liver problems
  •  Metabolic disorders
  •  Infection of the nervous system

Why does my cat lick me?

Ever wondered why your cat licks you? Cats lick their owners (or other people they like) as a form of affection. Cats keep themselves clean and groomed by licking their own fur, and it’s a form of affection when cats groom one another in this way. This courtesy is extended when cats lick humans – they’re doing it to be nice!

Cat licking their own fur

This is normal because cats use their tongues to clean their fur, but if you think your cat is licking their fur too much or more than usual, it could be a sign that they have fleas. Make sure your cat is up to date with their parasite prevention treatments. Excessive grooming can also be a sign of anxiety in cats. If your cat is licking their own fur a lot, anxiety could have something to do with it. However anxious cats are also likely to suffer changes in behaviour and to hide away a lot, so your cat licking YOU is very unlikely to be a sign of anxiety.

Why cats meow

Cat’s meow when they are trying to tell us something. This could be:

  • They’re happy to see you
  • They love you
  • They’re hungry or thirsty

How to tell if my cat is happy or sad

You will usually be able to tell from the environment. If your cat is meowing in the kitchen and their food bowl is empty, for example, you can bet that they’re meowing because they’re hungry!

If your cat is stressed or irritated, they will probably hiss or growl rather than meow. Signs of anxiety in cats including hiding away from you and playing less – cats’ behaviour can become quite erratic if they are stressed. But meowing is completely normal behaviour, and cats can do it simply because they feel like it. Just like a dog’s bark, meowing is your cat’s method of communicating with you and other cats.

Why cats knead

Kneading is when a cat pushes against something from paw to paw – usually their bed of their owner’s leg. Kneading is a habit that cats first adopt when they’re kittens. They do it to their mother, usually because they want milk. If a cat kneads against their owner, it’s usually because they feel nice and safe and secure – just like they once did around their own mother.

Why cats scratch

If your cat is scratching you, the chances are you probably already know why! It might be because you’ve stroked them somewhere they don’t like to be stroked, it might be because you’re winding them up – either way, if your cat scratches you, it’s a good indicator that you’re doing something they don’t like.

If your cat is scratching the furniture, it’s usually because they are trying to keep their nails short. If your cat is an avid scratcher, the best thing to do is provide them with a scratching post, or anything they’re supposed to scratch. Supplying them with lots of toys can also be a great way of keeping their mind occupied.

Providing these things doesn’t have to break the bank either – an empty cardboard box will work just as well as anything.

Remember: scratching is a natural feline behaviour. Cats enjoy it!

If you’re concerned about your cat’s behaviour or if you have any more questions, please give us call.