If you’ve recently adopted a pet since the coronavirus restrictions began, you’re not alone. Cat and dog adoptions have surged over the last few months, as we’re all spending more time at home. In fact, compared to the same period last year, cat adoptions are up 20%.
Helping to home a new cat or kitten is a beautiful gesture, but the truth is they don’t come with a manual!
So, if you’ve adopted your first cat you may have a pet that thinks of you more as a housemate than an owner, and you might be a little perplexed by some of their behaviours. Let’s be honest, cats can be funny, confusing creatures!
If you’ve chosen to adopt a cat and help give it a new home with your family you might want to also take advantage of NRMA Insurance’s Pet Lovers Pack, which can be added on to any NRMA Insurance's Home and Contents or Contents Only policy. It’s a small additional monthly cost that among other things can help cover vet bills up to $2,000 if their curiosity gets them into an accident (which, knowing cats, is a high possibility). It also covers some accidental property damage (see the Product Disclosure Agreement for more information) which could come in handy if you have a chronic knocker-offer.
To celebrate International Cat Day this Saturday 8th August we’ve decided to take a look at the odd things those loveable weirdos do, that are completely normal. We’ll try and help you make sense of their behaviour. Don’t worry, your cat isn’t broken, they just have strange habits.
Sleeping on their back - When you picture a sleeping cat, it’s generally curled into a ball, with their tail neatly wrapped around them. But some cats love to lounge around on their backs. Back legs stretched out, soft belly exposed (pat it if you dare), taking up as much room as possible. While not that common, it is a normal cat behaviour and generally a sign that they are feeling happy and safe. They’re allowing themselves to be vulnerable and you should take it as a complement.
Chattering - Sometimes when a cat is looking out the window and spots a bird, their teeth will start to chatter and they’ll make weird little noises. This behaviour, although funny, is normal. It’s an instinctual reflex and either a sign of excitement or some people feel a sign of frustration for not being able to reach their ‘prey’. Keep your kitties inside and encourage them to chase toys not wildlife.
Sleeping in small spaces - Some cats’ motto is “If I fit, I sit”, and you can find them squeezed into the strangest smallest spaces. While you and I look at a cat wedged into a cardboard shoebox and think “There’s no way Tiger is comfortable” they’re likely feeling right at home. Cats have a very flexible spine which helps them to maneuver into compact shapes. Settling into small spaces is largely thought to be instinctual. It keeps them hidden from predators and makes them feel safe.
Headbutting - Cats will often bump their head against your legs or even your face if they can get close enough. Sometimes they rub against you, other times they enthusiastically charge right into you with a bang. Don’t worry, it’s not a sign of aggression, it’s a sign of love! Technically called bunting, cats do this to leave their scent on you. Yes, your cat headbutts you to claim ownership. Cats sure have strange ways to show their affection!
Knocking things off tables - If you’ve ever found yourself down a rabbit hole of cat videos you’ve likely seen footage of cats batting things with their paws until they inevitably knock them off the table. When it’s other people’s cats on Youtube it’s funny, when it’s your own cat it can be infuriating. But don’t assume this odd behaviour is done by your pets out of malice. The jury is still out (there hasn’t been enough research done on cats knocking things off tables, strangely) but it’s commonly agreed that cats don’t do this to be a pest, it’s just their natural curiosity trying to understand objects in their world.
The recent increase in adoptions is great news for the homeless cats of Australia. As you celebrate International Cat Day with your fluffy, sometimes cheeky, family members just remember that their odd behaviour is part of what makes them so loveable.