Why Do Cats Do That?

Cats are quirky creatures. Their strange behaviors make them fun to watch, but what's behind the things they do? From purring to bringing live mice to their owners, experts have advanced many theories for these mysterious cat behaviors.

Purring

Cats purr when they're happy, right? Not necessarily. Cats start purring as kittens, and veterinarians speculate that they use the sound to communicate with their mothers. As anyone with a friendly lap cat knows, cats do purr when they're content. However, cats have also been known to purr when nervous, sick, or in pain. Sometimes, cats even purr while giving birth. The fact is, no one knows for sure why cats purr. Communication, whether with their mothers, their owners, or other cats, is one theory, but others suggest purring produces low-frequency vibrations that promote healing, or releases hormones to dull pain.

Kneading

If a cat jumps into someone's lap and starts to act as if it is making bread dough, it's kneading. Kneading, like purring, is a cat behavior without a clear explanation. Kneading begins in kitten hood, when kittens knead their mothers' teats to stimulate milk production. In adulthood, the behavior is transferred to laps and other comfy spots Many suggest that this is a remnant instinct that triggers whenever the cat is settling down in a comforting, relaxing place. It may also be that cats are trying to make the area more comfortable. Finally, cats do have scent glands in their paw pads, so they may be trying to make their resting spot smell like them.