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If you have ever closely watched your cat, you have probably seen them do some pretty strange things that didn’t seem to make any sense. Like a cat kneading a blanket or scratching at a piece of cardboard. What do these cat behaviors mean, and why do they feel the need to do them?

You may not always understand your cat’s behavior. However, it most likely serves an important purpose! If you are curious about cat behaviors, this article might answer some of your questions.

1. Purring

Purring is often a way for cats to communicate. Even the largest animals in the cat species, such as tigers and lions, have been known to purr.

This is a way of being friendly and welcoming and showing pleasure and comfort. Cats will often purr when they feel safe or are happy, which is why they often purr when cuddling with their favorite people or animals.

Purring can also be a way to self-soothe if they are uncomfortable or fearful. It can help them to feel more safe and secure. It has also been shown to have a healing response, so cats sometimes purr when they are injured.

Purring is both a voluntary and instinctive behavior. They knowingly purr to communicate and self-soothe and also purr by instinct when happy or injured.

2. Grooming

Grooming is one of those cat behaviors that are relatively self-explanatory. But why do they do it so frequently?

Cats can spend anywhere from 15% to 50% of their time grooming. This is a huge chunk of time out of their day dedicated to just licking themselves.

Grooming is a very normal cat instinct that comes from the need to be clean. It is a way to remove debris and dirt from their coat, as well as to detangle their hair. Unfortunately, this is also a way for them to remove excess hair from their coat, which is why they get hairballs.

It is also a soothing habit, as you can tell by watching them. Cats love to groom themselves and are usually at their peak of relaxation when they do so. This is why cats often groom each other, as it is a way to make the other feel loved and comforted.

Grooming can also be a way for them to regulate their body temperature and remove excess hair that could be making them hotter.

3. Kneading

Kneading is a common cat behavior that often shows comfort and happiness. This behavior goes back to when they were kittens and kneaded their mother’s stomach to stimulate milk.

This is a habit that many animals do, but cats are one of the only animals that hang onto that behavior into adulthood. They will often knead a soft blanket out of comfort and happiness. They might even knead you as a way to convey how much they love and trust you. 

Cats also have scent glands on their paws, and they sometimes knead their owners as a way to mark them with their scent, sending a signal to other cats that you belong to them.

Kneading is also a form of self-soothing for cats. They may knead when they are scared or stressed or if they do not feel well. It can be used as a way to comfort themselves.

4. Talking

One mysterious cat behavior is their ability to communicate with us. Many cats have learned how to communicate with their owners through a series of meows, chirps, and other vocalizations. This is a learned trait that most domestic house cats have.

Interestingly enough, most cats do not make these noises at each other. Mother cats are the only cats known to instinctively talk to their kittens. Most adult cats do not communicate with one another vocally unless angry or scared.

This behavior usually originates quite early as we talk to our cats. This teaches them the art of communicating, and they learn how to let us know if they need something.

Some cats are even genuinely talkative and enjoy chatting with their humans. It often comes down to personality if your cat is very vocal or not. Some cats are very talkative, while others are very quiet.

Some cats might also become very vocal if they are in pain or something else is wrong with them physically.

5. Scratching

Scratching is one of those cat behaviors that is entirely instinctive. Cats will often scratch because they are marking areas of their home. They have scent glands on their feet and use those to scent objects throughout the house.

Scratching can also be a way for them to express emotions like happiness, excitement, anger, and stress. 

Scratching is also an efficient way to get rid of the dead parts of their nails. If they didn’t scratch, they would have to manually chew them off themselves. Scratching offers an easier and more enjoyable way to remove dead nails.

Many cats even scratch just to get a good stretch. This is why many scratch tall objects like table legs, sides of couches, and doorways.

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