4 Strange Cat Behaviours and What They Really Mean

Why do cats cry early in the morning (or all the time), roll like dogs on their backs, or ignore their litter boxes? Take a look at a few funny and frustrating cat antics and learn more about your cat’s personality.

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Cat lying on white bed
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1. Why Do Cats Act Like Alarm Clocks?

Crying in the morning can be traced to two things, the season, and well, you. Cat’s circadian rhythms adjust just as ours do. When summer approaches and the birds are up earlier, so is your cat, wanting to do exactly what predatory creatures innately want to do: hunt. Not all pet owners will be okay with releasing their cat into the great outdoors, so if your indoor cat is inappropriately waking you for food, you need to take action. Feeding your cat when he cries reinforces the crying, while waiting for the crying to end, or not instantly responding to the behaviour with food, teaches your cat there will be no reward for early-morning wake-ups. Figure out when breakfast will be and stick to your schedule.

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Cat lying on floor
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2. Why Do Cats Roll on the Floor?

Does the strange drop-and-roll move your cat performs puzzle you? Cat owners see this rolling all the time but many don’t know why it happens or what it means. About.com suggests looking to the time and location of the rolling for clues, adding that it’s a definite look-at-me maneuver designed to grab your attention. Does it happen when you’re doing computer work? As you lace up your sneakers before leaving the house? No matter where or when it happens, if your response to your rolling kitty is affectionate cooing or a tap on the head, know that you’re providing exactly what he wants: attention. While dogs may roll for a belly rub, your cat’s reasons for rolling are, well, cat-like, meaning on his terms (read: rubbing your cat’s belly could leave you with a scratch or two!).

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Cat with blue eyes looking out of the window
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3. Why Do Cats Cry Incessantly?

Nonstop crying can be related to lots of factors. For one, some cat breeds are simply more vocal than others. If you have a Siamese or Oriental breed, this is old news. If your cat is older, consider the fact his hearing may be impaired. Crying could also be a sign of illness, so trust your instinct and give your veterinarian a call to see if a checkup is warranted. On a less serious level, your cat could be hungry or know that crying will lead to his getting your attention or a snack.

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Cat using a litter box
Photo: Shutterstock

4. Why Do Cats Misuse Their Litter Box?

Is your cat healthy? A cat with a urinary tract infection can have trouble making it to the box in time. If a UTI isn’t the problem, perhaps the box is. Cats like their litter to be clean and deep. Your cat wants to be able to dig and cover his mess when he’s done. To learn more about potty-training issues head to ASPCA, or dial your vet’s office.

The bottom line: Your relationship with your cat reflects your ability to be a good pet owner. Providing what he needs to be healthy and happy is one thing, but just like kids, pets act up. Preventing and correcting problem behavior will help make life less stressful for you and your pet.

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