Why Do Cats Act Weird?


INTRO: Why do cats act weird?

Fill my bowl, please

If you own a cat, and happen to have a friend that also owns a cat, the two of you may often start a conversation about the crazy things your cat does.

When human beings progressed to the point of raising animals for meat, fur and hides; they also discovered that dogs made good herding animals.

Humans also found that dogs would stay with them for food and a place to get in out of the weather. They discovered that dogs could be trained to herd animals and bark to warn for predators. Dogs could even be taught to attack certain animals and not others.

Face to face

Dogs were domesticated long before cats were. We see every kind of dog imaginable. Big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones- lap dogs, teacup size dogs, long hair, short hair, curly hair, no hair, and every form of dog that humans could think of.

On the other hand, cats are just cats regardless of how they look or what they do for mankind. Oh, yes, cats have been bred for size, hair length, fur coloration, eye color, etc. However, cats are bred primarily for acceptability as pets and show cats.My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff

Cats have earned a reputation for not being particularly eager to do what humans want them to do, unless it is something they were going to do any way.

Cats are predators. We let them live with us as long as they take out the rodent population and a number of insects around the house and the barn, and public institutions such as libraries.

But let them stalk or kill a beautiful little songbird and they will find themselves persona non grata. If you don’t want your cat to kill birds, keep them inside.

In-the-house-only cats tend to act like crazy things periodically. How so? A sudden attack to the back of the couch, howling at a door, racing through the house, climbing the drapes etc. Just consider these antics as remnants of the stalk and attack attitudes cats take when hunting for food.

Why do cats make weird noises?

Do cats make any noises besides Meows? Yes, they have quite a vocabulary with sounds like meows, variations of meows, chirps, chatters, hisses, growls, wails and purrs. In fact, cats do like to talk. They like to talk to their human. It doesn’t matter if you are asleep, or busy writing an article, or practicing the piano, if they have something to say, they will say it.

Listen to me!

This is a typical conversation: I am busy at my computer, when suddenly I hear a loud, “YOW.” I jump and look down at a tortoise shell cat-staring back at me. “Do you want to eat?” I say, “Yowt,” she says . “Ok, let’s go in the kitchen,” I reply.

Now this cat is 15 years old and is 331/3% deaf and 99% blind but she can understand me. I show her a can of food and ask, “Is this what you want?” “Wowp”, she answers.

Her litter mate, also 15, is sound asleep in the living room, and has heard this and comes into the kitchen. This cat talks in murmurs, chatters and chirps. She jumps up on my leg and gives me a chatter– (complete with teeth clattering)–which I interpret as instructions for me to feed her too.

This type of communication goes on in my apartment all day and night. I’m the only human, so I had to learn cat.

When you wake at 4 a.m. to find a cat standing on your stomach, patting your nose with a paw, and murmuring, “mowp, mowp, mowp,” you may as well get up because you will not be allowed to return to sleep.

Chatters are reserved for birds; hisses are for other cats on the patio–and sometimes a litter mate when she takes up too much room in the chair. Growling is for mock “kills” of the favorite toy. Wails are saved for 2 in the morning when your human is sound asleep and you are wide awake. Purrs are for everything else.

Why do cats purr?

How do cats purr? Why do they purr? Veterinarians and scientists have theories, but I don’t think they have come to any definite conclusions.

Taking a cat’s anatomy into consideration, here is a plausible theory on the how question: When cats begin the purr, signals are sent to the muscles of the voice box as well as to the diaphragm, which expands the chest while breathing. These signals stimulate the cat’s vocal chords to vibrate. As the cat breathes in and out, the air moves across these muscles, resulting in a purring sound.

Cats apparently have control over the purring. They start purring and stop purring as they wish. And that brings us to the why question. Anyone who has been around cats for any time at all, have noticed when their cat purrs. Cats purr at all times and places and for various reasons.

Contented cat

Cats purr when they are content; when they have had a play session with their favorite human; when they are going to sleep. These are times when they are calm and happy. Cats also purr when they are agitated or nervous. They purr when they are frightened. Cats purr when they have been hurt or in pain.

I remember a story I read years ago about a cat that had been severely injured. I believe that it was a story by James Herriot, the English Veterinarian, who wrote so many wonderful stories about animals, but I am not sure.

The story goes this way: A man found a seriously injured cat by the side of the road and brought the cat to a vet..The Vet immediately saw that the cat was gravely wounded. He decided the most humane thing to do would be to put the cat down.

His assistant came in the next day and asked about the cat. The Vet showed him the cat all bandaged up and resting in a cage. His assistant said, “I thought you were going to put him down.” The vet said, “I was, but when I picked him up, I heard him purring so loud, that I had to give him a chance to live.”

Most cats love catnip. My two certainly do. Whenever I put a small handful of catnip on the floor for them all craziness begins. They eat it, they roll in it, they hoard their portion of it on the floor. As they get more intoxicated with the catnip, they start snipping, growling and swatting at each other.

That’s the cue for me to step in. I sweep up the catnip. Both cats are exhausted and ready for a nap. Can you guess what sounds they were emitting while playing in the catnip as well as growling at each other?

You have it right–Purring.They started purring when I got out the jar of catnip ;and all through the rolling, tumbling, cavorting time, they continued to purr.

Do some animals, besides cats purr?

Some animals besides cats can purr, or give out a purr/like sound : Hyenas, Mongoose, Guinea Pigs, Raccoons, Genets and Civets, Rabbits and Squirrels. Even Gorillas will give a purr-like sound while eating.

Not all cats purr. Some roar instead. Lions and Tigers roar, but they do not purr. Bobcats and Mountain Lions purr but do not roar.


There you have it. All animals communicate in one way or another. If we are going to adopt an animal as a companion for many years, we need to spend time learning to communicate. Believe me, they want to communicate with you, and they do, you just have to pay attention. Body language is a whole other subject that we will explore another time

I know it all

If you have a cat at home, I hope you have been able to translate cat language. I would love to hear from my readers. Let me know what you think of this article. Was it helpful?


One thought on “Why Do Cats Act Weird?”

  1. We have recently been away from home for an extended stay at my daughter’s house. We have two cats, my three-year-old named Mittens, and our new kitten, four-month-old Zebra (pronounced like “Debra.”) Although we are away most evenings, we stop in during the day and make sure they are okay, haven’t torn down the house and have food and water.

    When we arrive, Zebra meets us at the door purring like crazy. She is thrilled to see us. Mittens will meet me partway through the house meowing and meowing and meowing. I like to think she is telling me how much she has missed me!

    During a normal day/night when I am home, she likes to lie in the open window next to me where I work. At night, she lays on my pillow just above my head. She lays there all night or on my hip. If I take a nap, she ignores everything else that is going on and comes to my room to take a nap with me! I am definitely her human!

    Zebra loves everyone! Mittens likes me! They both have their crazy moments!

    I love the information you shared about purring. I have always enjoyed the sound of a cat’s purring. Mittens doesn’t purr much, but when she does, I enjoy it immensely.

    We have a dog, too, but I really think I am a “cat person.” They sure have made me a part of their pride!

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