Cat behaviour

What is your cat trying to tell you? Our expert advice reveals the answers.

The fascinating world of cat behaviour

Cats are fascinating! Images and videos of cats are some of the most viewed on the internet. At the heart of our love for them is the pleasure we get from their behaviour.

Finding out why they do what they do can be the key to a happy home for you and your feline friend.

Key behaviour facts

  • Cats use subtle body language to display their feelings or emotions.
  • Cats are solitary animals by nature but can live well together in some circumstances.
  • Once a cat has their favourite toileting place, they will use it unless something causes them to stop.
  • Cats eat grass to help them get rid of fur balls.
  • Cats like to hunt. Play is an excellent way for cats to satisfy this need.

Body language

People and cats do not speak the same language, but that doesn't mean you have to be in the dark with what they are trying to tell you.

Cats are very subtle in their behaviours - more so than the more social species such as dogs or us! They use body language to display their feelings or emotions and humans aren't that good at interpreting it!

Picking up on the signals will help you look after your cat and give it the love and care it needs.

See also: Cat body language

Cats living together

Cats generally prefer to be the only cat in a household. However, they can live well together when they see each other to be in the same social group and they don't feel in competition for food, water and space.

Introducing new cats to the household needs to be carefully planned and carried out to avoid overwhelming the new arrival and upsetting the current resident. Sanctuary rooms, scent swapping and glass barrier techniques can help make a cat's introduction stress-free for everyone.

See also: Socialising with other cats

Going to the loo

Cats tend to prefer the sort of litter used when they were kittens as they learn to associate the texture with going to the toilet.

As they are clean animals, they like their litter tray to be away from their food and water.

Cats are creatures of habit, so once they have a favourite toilet spot, they will continue to use it unless a lack of privacy, cleanliness or access causes them to look for somewhere else.

See also: Toileting

Why do cats eat grass?

Many cats like to eat grass, which may help to clear furballs.

Cats really like a grass called Cocksfoot that has long broad leaves making it easy for them to bite. If your cat can’t go outside, Cocksfoot grass can be grown indoors.

Without grass, your cat may try to eat other household plants which may pose a risk.

Why do cats hunt?

Even though your cat is provided with food, cats still like to hunt.

Each part of the hunting activity – the stalk, pounce, play and kill – releases feel-good hormones called endorphins.

Playing with your cat with fishing rod toys will keep your cat happy and reduce their stress.

See also: Cats and play and Managing your cat's behaviour

Body language in cats

Have you ever wondered if your cat’s trying to tell you something? Cat behaviour is subtle but their body language can tell you a lot. Cats Protection behaviourist Nicky explains...

Related topics

Managing cat behaviour - Topic

Hiding - Topic

Photo credits

Banner image - Sue Dobbs - CP Bridgend

Tortie in the grass - Alexey Suslyakov -