Why does my cat rub his face on things?

Written by Pamela Hardman  | Published on: 5/21/2020

One of the most fun things about being a cat owner is getting to know your cat’s quirks and their funny little personality traits. But let’s face it, cats can be weird sometimes. Ever wondered what some of those strange behaviours mean or where they come from?

Strange cat behaviours, explained

1.    Rubs his face on you, furniture, and other items. When your kitty rubs his or her head on you or on household items, he’s doing more than just saying hello or showing affection. He’s actually leaving pheromones released from glands on the side of his head as a way to scent mark his territory or show “ownership” over his space.

2.    Eating things that aren’t food. Does your cat eat things like grass, ribbon, plastic, house plants, or metal? These strange snacks could be a sign of a mineral deficiency, anemia, hyperthyroidism, genetics, or even boredom, stress or digestive problems like gastritis (acid indigestion). If your cat won’t stop eating things he or she shouldn’t, make an appointment with your vet to rule out any serious issues.

3.    Funny-sounding chattering. Every cat owner has heard it. That twitchy, squeaky, fast teeth-chattering they do when they see something outside. Some experts think it may be how your cat is expressing frustration that they can’t get outside to hunt their prey. They may also be excited or acting on an instinct to get their muscles ready to hunt. Either way, the behaviour is perfectly normal!

4.    If I fits, I sits. It never fails, you buy them the cutest, coziest beds, or the most beautiful cat tree and yet, they sit in the box your latest online shopping came in. Small spaces make your cat feel safe and secure. If they were in the wild, being out in the open would make them susceptible to predators. Cats also have an instinct to ambush, so by hiding in small spaces they are more likely to go unnoticed and have a successful hunt.

5.    Kneading. Like many behaviours, this one is also instinctual and traces back to when they were nursing. Pressing their paws on their mother’s mammary glands encouraged milk production. When your adult cat does it, he’s showing that he’s happy and that you remind him of his mama!  

6.    Spreading out on your computer, the newspaper, or anything that’s holding your attention. Cats often love to be front and centre. If he sits right on top of whatever you’re looking at so that you can’t access it, he’s bound to get some love and attention, right? That’s his logic at least. He may also be leaving his scent on your belongings as a way to claim you as his own. 

7.    Knocking things off tables or other surfaces. You know what they say about cats and curiosity. Your cat might calmly knock things off surfaces onto the floor for no apparent reason. Believe it or not, she’s probably not trying to annoy you. She may be bored or genuinely curious about what will happen. You may want to try some new toys or spend a little more time playing to try to stimulate your cat in other ways.  

8.    Bringing you “presents”. Bringing you her kills is indeed gross, but it could mean she’s acknowledging you as part of her group and is sharing her success with you. If you’re given these “gifts” more often than you’d like, try putting a bell on your kitty’s collar, making hunting more challenging for her.  

Pet insurance can help with the cost of vet visits

If your cat is exhibiting strange behaviours that are concerning you, it’s best to check with your vet. Learn what’s covered by Petsecure and get a free quote today.


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