Why Does My Cat...?

Why Does My Cat...?

Cats have their quirks. Read what animal expert Dr. Neely says about why cats do the things they do, from playing with water to chirping at birds.

Will we ever truly understand everything our quirky cats do? Perhaps not, but Dr. Shelby Neely, DVM has more than 25 years of experience uncovering the mysteries of our feline friends. Here's what she has to say about some of our cat's quirky behaviors:

Q: Why does my cat like to curl up in boxes and in the sink?

Dr. Neely: The very fact that [a box] is a new object evokes the curiosity of a cat and they immediately want to investigate. In addition, a box can be a fun new "toy" to play with. Cats also are very territorial. By lying in a box, your cat is claiming territory. Cats like to leave their scent on anything new you bring into your home. Even after the novelty has worn off, a box provides a secure place for a cat to spend time in, providing it isn't in the busiest part of the house. A cat may curl up in a sink for the same reasons. In addition, he may like the cool, smooth surface, especially on a warm day. Learn more about why cats like boxes.

Q: Why does my cat spray the furniture?

Dr. Neely: Cats spray to mark things as their own or because they are upset about something. Both sexes can spray. You should never assume that a spraying cat definitely has a behavioral problem. They could also have a urinary tract problem and should be seen by a veterinarian before assuming it's all psychological.

Q: Why does my cat hate getting wet, but likes to play with the stream from the faucet?

Dr. Neely: Cats like to play and moving water is a toy to many cats. A stream coming from a faucet is very different from being submerged in water, which they hate. They also like moving water because it is fresh water and they prefer to drink fresh, moving water.

Q: Why does my cat act a little crazy sometimes?

Dr. Neely: Most cats can act very hyperactive if they feel like playing. They can certainly act crazy and can even be destructive. They need stimulation in their lives, we call this environmental enrichment. Cats like to climb, run, chase, and pounce, just as they would in the wild. Toys that simulate these activities can help, as can bird feeders outside windows, cat climbing trees, boxes, bags, and even TV, including kitty videos you can buy just for your cat.

gray cat perched on a window sill

Q: Why does my cat make those chirping noises when it sees birds outside the window?

Dr. Neely: It's actually a sound that indicates "I want that bird!" Their natural instinct is to still be the predator they would be in the wild so when they see any kind of bird or animal out the window, they want to chase it. Some cats make chirping or other strange sounds, including teeth chattering, when this happens.

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