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How to Speak Cat—What Your Cat's Behavior Probably Means

Cat Behavior, Explained

What Cat's Behavior Means

It's important to consult your veterinarian with any medical concerns, and before making any changes or adding supplements to your pet's health plan.

When we take our cats home for the first time, they may exhibit behavior that isn't familiar to us. In other words, cats can be weird. They're fuzzy, miniature predators who can sleep for 15 hours a day and walk away from a hacked-up hair ball without a care in the world.

Welcoming a new cat into your household without prior experience of caring for one could leave you questioning some surprising or extreme behaviors. It's natural for cat parents to want to know what these behaviors could mean.

Over time, your cat may also develop certain behaviors that they may not have exhibited during your first few months together. Some of these behaviors could be due to your feline friend transitioning from a kitten into an adult cat. Other times, changes in behavior could be health related. Detailed below are some cat behaviors and what they could mean for your furry family member.

What Your Cat's Behavior Probably Means

What Cat's Behavior Means

Zooming from room to room

Cats are known for sleeping most of the day away. Typically, adult cats sleep 15 hours a day, while kittens can sleep for up to 20 hours. When a cat wakes up, it naturally has more energy to burn and can expend it running around from room to room. They are also likely to chase objects, climb to high places and scratch up furniture unless given a scratching post.

It is usually nothing to worry about when cats become active after waking up from a long nap. However, if your cat rarely sleeps and seems restless, it might be time to visit the vet. Restlessness may be a symptom that could indicate your cat is not feeling at its best. According to Dr. Tammy Hunter, director and veterinarian at Kortright Animal Hospital in Guelph, Ontario, some diseases, especially hyperthyroidism, can cause your cat's energy level to increase to the point of hyperactivity.

Sleeping on top of a laptop

If you've been working at home or if you've just been spending more time on your laptop recently, your cat may see this as an opportunity to redirect your attention to them. Some cats are more attached to their owners than others and may seek social interaction, especially if they are the only pet in the household. This is a natural behavior that could tell you when your cat wants to spend time with you.

Sleeping on top of a laptop could also mean that a cat is looking for warmth. Cats love to be cozy and warm, and absorbing the warmth of a laptop is one way they could heat their little bodies.

Hiding in dark corners

Cats love to slip into dark, small spaces where they feel safe and secure. This behavior can be traced back to their wildcat ancestors, who would look for similar natural spaces in which to take refuge from other predators. Some cats may also prefer to sleep in a specific area of the room instead of using the comfortable bed that you purchased for them. Placing their bed where they like to sleep could encourage them to use it.

Sick or unwell cats are also more likely to hide in dark corners. Cats usually become withdrawn and may hide from their owners. This behavior may come from an instinct to protect themselves, knowing that a sick animal is an easy target in the wild. Cats typically do their best to hide signs of illness and pain, so it might be best to consult a vet if your cat exhibits this behavior.

Turning down food

Cats that have access to food on demand are less likely to go looking for additional food sources. Whenever they are hungry, free-feeding cats know that food is always available. As such, they may turn down food or treats when offered.

However, loss of appetite is a key indicator that your cat is not feeling well. If your cat suddenly stops eating even when presented with a delectable treat, this could possibly be a sign of infection, kidney failure, intestinal problems and more. The sooner you visit your vet for physical examinations, the higher your cat's chances of being treated.

Unusually loud purring

One of the common signs of a contented cat is purring. Cats may purr loudly when petted or when they are close to us. Sometimes, their purring may be so loud that it might even sound like a small engine. Although many cats purr loudly when they are happy, it may also be a way for a cat to "heal" itself after stress. The vibrations from purring are thought to be physically rejuvenating. Cats in pain may purr when they are sleeping or when they are lying still to ease the discomfort they might be feeling.

If you notice your cat purring unusually loudly, it might be time to consult a vet.

Help Safeguard Your Cat's Health With ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

What Cat's Behavior Means

Just like humans, pets eventually develop health issues as they age. Health problems may be detected by changes in behavior, particularly those described above. Generally, any unusual behavior that your cat suddenly exhibits could possibly indicate an illness or disease. The best way to find out what these behavioral changes actually mean is to consult a vet and schedule any necessary tests.

Pet owners with newly adopted kittens may also discover that excessive sleeping or refusal to eat could be a sign of the feline panleukopenia virus. Often, adopted kittens have not had access to proper nutrition and could also have been raised in poor conditions before coming home to you. Signs of illnesses may occur days after taking them home, and the costs of treatment may be more than expected.

Having the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program could be invaluable, especially when your cat or kitten needs immediate care. Pet health insurance could drastically reduce out-of-pocket payments and help your cat enjoy great care and treatment if they get sick or injured. Complete Coverage includes coverage for both accidents and illnesses. You may also opt to customize your cat's health insurance to best suit your cat's healthcare needs.

Under the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program, you can have your pet treated by any licensed veterinarian, specialist or an emergency clinic in the U.S. or Canada. The process is simple:

  1. Visit any licensed vet, specialist or emergency clinic, and pay your bill
  2. Submit your claim online, by mail or by fax
  3. Have reimbursements for eligible expenses direct deposited or mailed to you.

Visit the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program's website to learn more.

Insurance disclosure from the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program: Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For all terms and conditions visit www.aspcapetinsurance.com/terms. Complete Coverage reimbursements are based on the invoice. Products, schedules, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. More information available at checkout.

Disclaimer: The ASPCA is not an insurer and is not engaged in the business of insurance. Through a licensing agreement, the ASPCA receives a royalty fee that is in exchange for use of the ASPCA's marks and is not a charitable contribution.

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