odd behaving cats

Strange & Weird Cat Behavior..

More than likely your cat is not crazy, he's just being a cat, a wild unpredictable crazy and lovable cat. However, if you are concerned read below and see how you can help your feline friend.

Kitten Swims in Bathtub

Dear Simba,My 8-week-old kitten has taken to diving into the bathtub with me in the evenings.
He seems to enjoy the water and waddles around in it before it gets too deep. Is there something wrong with him? Joelle

Dear Joelle,
While most cats do not like to be in water, certain cats do show some enjoyment. I think your kitten is probably ok in this regard. Couple of notes:
  • Make sure he does not drink any soapy water

  • Dry him off with a towel after his swimming time (you want to make sure he does not lick any soapy water off). Also, keeping him dry will help him maintain normal core body temperature

  • Make sure his swimming is supervised (do not let him out of your sight while he swims, we do not want the little guy to drown).
I think that his swimming is just fine, just be sure to follow the tips above. Simba

Change in Kitten's Personality

Dear Simba,
I have cats, Allister and Zoe. I moved to a new house a week ago and this was Zoe's first move. Her personality has changed. Allister used to be a loner and was very finicky, but since we moved she has been very friendly, and loving. Zoe, on the other hand, used to be the affectionate kitten, and since the move she has become nervous, skittish and is easily agitated. Have they switched personalities!?

Both cats have always slept on the bed, but now neither one of them goes to sleep with us. Allister will come in the middle of the night and curl up, but Zoe sleeps on the couch or hides. When I try to pet Zoe she will flinch and run away, or at best, bite. She also seems sad and rarely plays. I am happy that Allister has decided to be friendlier…but I am worried about Zoe. She eats normally and does not appear sick. Please help me figure make my little girl happy! Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,
As you know from reading the letters in this section, cats and kittens can have very difficult times with moves. I suggest that you try to introduce materials she likes (i.e., blankets, garments) to her favorite places to make her feel comfortable. She is still figuring out this new place and trying to find out her role in it. While I do not know her first experiences, they were likely quite traumatic, she may be reliving some of them right now. This may also be the time to bring out the big gun TUNA-flavored kitten food.

Place a couple of spoonfuls on the palm of your hand and approach her. She will be instinctively drawn to the food, you can take this opportunity to pet her with your other hand and rebuild the bond. Do this for a couple of days and reduce the amount until you can pet her without bribes. Keep me posted. Simba

Dear Simba,
My girlfriend and I have a 9-year-old tabby, and just moved into a new apartment. The cat seems to have an aversion to the carpet. Whenever she has to get from place to place she RUNS as fast as she can and jumps on something (a table, a box, a chair, anything she can find). When we try to put her down on the floor, she will immediately jump on something else. She has taken to getting on top of the bed/chair and howling for us to come and pick her up to take her where she wants to go. There must be something on the carpet she is either afraid of or really hates (...come to think of it, do cat's have allergies? allergies to carpet cleaner or something of the sort?). The cat's been moved around quite a bit, but has never behaved like this. Please help --- Jen & Carlos

Dear Jen & Carlos,
You have got me stumped on this one, but here are some possibilities. Your cat may be picking up a scent or a mustiness on the carpet with which he is very uncomfortable. It is also possible that your tabby is allergic to the carpet cleaner. Try thoroughly cleaning and drying the carpet with a pet friendly cleaner. You may also want to examine your tabby's paws for any skin affliction, and lastly, do not rule out the possibility that your tabby may have received some type of mild static shock on the carpet, hence the aversion. Let me know what you find out, I for one am curious. - Simba

Dear Simba,
My Bear (cat) disappeared for 4 years and suddenly came back a few weeks ago. He was immediately reestablished in our household but the last few days he has been spraying. I have tried all kinds of odor control but it is getting bad and hubby says if he does not stop, Bear has to go outside. He is a 3rd generation black male house cat and was neutered when a kitten. Have talked with his vet and he says that neutering does not stop spraying or the yowling that goes along with it. Connie

Dear Connie,
How wonderful that you have been reunited! It is probable that Bear became an outdoor cat during his disappearance. As you know his spraying is his marking the home as his territory. This is something he probably did a lot of during his time away. His spraying could also be the result of nervousness or stress. This is understandable given the time he was gone. If this is the case, having your vet put him on anti-depressants for a brief time could help. As for your cleaning, be sure that you use anti-bacterial or enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator to remove remove the core of the scents left by Bear. Keep me posted. Simba

Kitten No Longer Affectionate

Dear Simba,
My wife and I are new cat owners, and we got a wonderful female kitten named Spook, about 6 months ago.

When we first got her, Spook was very affectionate with us both. The first night we had her, she kept running onto the bed, and head butting us and rubbing up against us alternately (really not a bad thing at all).

As time has gone on, Spook has developed a preference for me, while my wife is having hard time getting Spook to be affectionate. For example, Spook still runs up to me and licks me and cuddles up with me, but she does not do that with my wife. Understandably, my wife is a bit disheartened by this.

I am not sure if this is relevant, but I am the one who typically punishes Spook when she misbehaves. For example, when Spook's being overly aggressive and biting, I can get her to cease and sit with a word. However,Spook does not take my wife seriously in the same situation. Sometimes Spook will even chase when my wife when she attempts to discipline the cat.

How we can we get Spook to share some of her affection with my wife? Scott

Dear Scott,
It seems from your note that you have clearly established yourself as the alpha in the house. This is not a bad thing, though it seems that Spook has taken this to mean that she is second in the hierarchy. I suggest you solve this with a carrot and stick approach.

First the stick. When your wife disciplines Spook have her use a water spray. Nothing establishes authority and dominance quite like a verbal correction followed by a quick squirt of water in the face.

Second is the carrot part. Have your wife give Spook tuna by placing a spoonful on the palm of her hand. Spook will be instinctively drawn to the food (and to your wife). Your wife can then pet spook and hopefully re-establish a relationship.

It might take some time, but it should work. Keep me posted. Simba

Cat Chases Own Tail

Hey Simba,
cat scratch postUltimate Scratcher
I just started chasing my tail all of the time and do not know why. I over heard my slaves I mean owners saying that the other night at the gym they saw a story on the news that showed cats chasing their tails and in the next clip they showed bottles of Prozac. I am 2-years-old half-Siamese and American short hair, am I going crazy or just bored and need more attention from them?Sincerely, Stanly The Cat. From Chelmsford, MA

Dear Stanly, The tail is a mystical and spell binding object. Many cats succumb to it and must chase it. Then they stop, take a nap and go play somewhere else. If you are doing this constantly, it is possible that you may have some type of obsessive disorder. If your vet agrees, he may prescribe some medication for you to help you out. Your slaves should nonetheless pay tons of attention to you and play with you and should ensure you have plenty of toys. Keep me posted. Simba

Cat Frightened, Suddenly

Dear Simba,
When we got home from vacation, we found out our sweet 2-year-old cat, Harmony, had evaded the house-sitter for over a day and a half, and had finally returned wet and cold. She was dried off and coddled, but has done nothing but sleep since we got home. She will not eat her favorite treats, and has a dry nose. Could this be "just a cold" or should I be worried? Should I "force" liquids with a dropper? If she were my 2-year-old granddaughter, I would know exactly what to do. I am not used to this helpless feeling. Dyan

Dear Dyan,
It is understandable to feel frustrated, because you want to comfort your cat and you cannot communicate with her as you would with a person. Based on what you said, Harmony appears to have not taken well to your absence. It is important that Harmony be hydrated and fed. This may include your putting Tuna and other irresistible foods out for her. Her appetite should return soon enough. If it does not, visit your vet as there may be more serious underlying issues.

In the future, it may be helpful to 'introduce' your pet sitter to your cat to ensure that the transition go through smoothly. Your Pal, Simba

Dear Simba,
Last week, my cat was spooked by a skunk she saw through the patio door. She howled, hissed and screeched loudly. Since then, she howls and screeches at her reflection in the patio door and has also had the same reaction when she saw herself in a mirror. Do you have any suggestions? Joanne D.

Dear Joanne D.,
How awful. I recommend that you try to make your home as comfortable & secure for your cat as possible. Be with her, pet her and give her treats near mirrors and the patio door. Try to play with her in these areas without drawing attention to the mirror, make these a part of the background and let her get used to them slowly. You may want to keep the blinds or curtain closed for a little while. The process of making her comfortable will take some time, but patience and love should do it. Simba

Dear Simba, We left our cat alone for a short time. When we go back, we could not find him. We looked everywhere...and finally found him downstairs. He was coming out from behind our desk. He has been acting strange, looks like he does not know where he is and jumps at the slightest sound in the house. He is preoccupied with the noises and does not appear to be injured. He just does not seem to be familiar with anything in the house. Rose

Dear Rose,
How very strange. I cannot help but wonder if your cat was caught off guard by a loud knock on the door, or the furnace coming on. Strange and sudden noises can frighten a cat and cause them to behave oddly. Hopefully, his fear will pass in a few days. If you find it does not, I recommend that you re-introduce him to your home slowly and reassure him of his safety and well being. Be with him and hold him while you walk throughout the house (slowly, one room at a time and let him walk around and sniff and explore) and give him treats and affection to make him feel more secure. Keep me posted. Simba

Cat Food / Water Bowl Behavior

Hi Simba,
I recently took in an 8-month-old shaded silver Persian. She is very loving and smart, but she has been doing something strange. Every time she finishes eating, she starts to scratch the floor around her food. It looks like she is using her litter box. She is not actually urinating. Could tell me why she is doing this. Jen

Dear Jen,
Kitty's behavior is perfectly normal. Many cats have an instinct to hide their food after eating so as to throw other predators of the scent. As you know from watching the African nature shows, a fresh catch often attracts hyenas and vultures. Although it is all in vain, your little Persian is trying to hide her food so as to keep the bad animals away. Do not worry. Simba

Dear Simba:
Lately my cat has been doing the weirdest thing, he has been scooting the water bowl across the floor. So I put it on the carpet and he just knocks it over. I do not know why he does it. I do not want to scold him, because I do not want him to think its bad to go to the water bowl. What should I do? Dani

Hi Dani,
You are right in not scolding him, hydration is very important. So why does he do this? Cats love flowing water. You may have noticed that kitty loves the faucets and tries to drink from them all the time. Flowing water (like that from a spilled bowl) gives the impression of fresh water and cats seek it out. So what to do? Either get him a No-Tip Bowl or buy him a one of those new Drinkwell Pet Fountain. <(no kidding!), which mimic flowing water. Your Pal, Simba


I have recently just moved to a studio apartment. Fuzzie, my wonderful furry friend has adjusted very well. He grew up with his sister, Sissy, and we just recently separated them. Fuzzie has adjusted.

Ever since Fuzzie was little and up until now, he has come to me when I get home from work, sit on the couch or lay on the bed, and has started kneading my neck. He will do it for a little while, with his motor is going fast. He also puts his nose close to my hair. What is he doing and is this good? I love my Fuzz and he is very spoiled. he is my baby. Kathy

Dear Kathy,
Yes this is good. Fuzzie's kneading, purring and placing of his nose near you are all signs of affection. These are tender showings of love that go back to his kitten days.

Young kittens rub up against their mothers and knead on them to stimulate nursing. Purring, also originates in kitten-hood where it served as way of communicating 'all is well' mother. The end result is that Fuzzie, like many cats, have built very warm associations with this behavior. Even as adults, they exhibit this behavior when they feel loved and cared for. Sounds like you have a happy cat there. Take care. Simba

Meal Meow

Hi Simba, We have had our cat for 2 years. We got her from the pound when she was 6-months-old. She meows at us when we are near her food and water. Not an angry meow, just a meow. Why does she do this? She is fixed and de-clawed in the front (for sake of are furniture!). She is an inside only cat, and the only animal we have besides fish. What she is trying to tell us? She eats well too, probably too well, cause she has food all the time. At least 3 times a day does someone puts food for her. She always pushes her food in the water and makes a mess…that we clean constantly. But I can live with that. Jackie

Dear Jackie, I can imagine there are a couple of reasons for this behavior. She could be meowing to acknowledge or other people that come near her food. On the other hand, her placing of her food in the water bowl seems to suggest a preference for soft or moist food. This may be due to hard food causing her some discomfort, which could be due to dental issues. Because of that you should ensure that you take good care of your cat's teeth. (see Dental Care). As to her eating too much, see the Food & Weight Issues section for a cat weight guide. Let me know how things go. Simba

Kitten Rolls on Floor

Dear Simba,
When I come home my cat, Ella, runs up to me and starts meowing and rolls around all over by my feet. She does this EVERY TIME I come home - even if I was only gone for 10 minutes. What does this mean? Is it that she is happy to see me? Susan

Dear Susan,
Cats and most felines will roll on their backs when they feel comfortable and safe. It looks to me that you have a very loving and caring cat that feels very close to you. Simba

Scratching Carpet Under Door

Hi Simba,
While I am gone at school and my parents are at work we put the kittens in my room and shut the door (they've been having litter box issues). The problem is that they tear up the carpet underneath the door and they've now gotten it down to the concrete and wood. They do not scratch on anything else but the carpet. What can I do to make them stop while we are away? Jenny

Hi Jenny,
It appears your little friends are trying to get out. Try to make the room as comfortable and entertaining for them as possible. Be sure that there is plenty of food, water and toys. Open your curtains or blinds as well, cats love to stare at the outside. This should alleviate some of their desperation to escape your room. In addition to this, you may want to place a plastic sheet similar to those used below office chairs (ask your parents). This will help obscure your kittens' target area and should decrease their scratching. Keep me posted. Simba

Be sure to check out Litter Training and Litter Usage Issues for litter box tips.

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