Ever wondered why your cat likes to nibble on your hand or eat the plants in your bathroom? We take a look at a few common cat behaviours that sometimes confound pet owners.
When you pat or stroke your cat, does he nibble on you? If the answer is yes you are not alone. This type of petting-induced biting can be confusing, especially if it seems he likes being stroked. There are a couple of reasons he might bite at affection. He could be asserting his place in the home. Or there could be some sort of association he has with being stroked in a certain way or in a certain place on his body that is causing the biting behaviour. Withdrawing your attention might seem like the obvious solution, but this isn’t the best thing for you or your car. The best way to deal with the unwanted love bites is to be on the lookout for cues that he might start to bite or nibble while giving him attention and then stop the stroking. Come back to him later for another pat.
Does you cat knead you with her paws? She’s probably just content. Kittens knead their mothers while they are nursing to assist the flow of milk, and an adult cat that kneads is just showing she is happy. She might also be marking her territory; in a way she’s saying, this person is my owner.
Another kitten behaviour that your cat might bring into adulthood is sucking or chewing. Some cats that are weaned from their mums too early will suck and chew, and it might help them feel calmer. Some cats do it just because they are bored. If your cat is sucking or chewing on a certain part of her body and causing harm, you will need to do something about it. Talk to your vet about your concerns and try to work out why she is doing it. If it is boredom, that’s fairly easily solved by providing her with more stimulation. If you think it’s anxiety, look at what might be causing it (a new addition to the family, a house move) and try to minimise the stress on your pet.
Leaf it alone
Does your cat like to nibble on your indoor plants? There could be several reasons she’s doing so. Dangling plants or those that move in the breeze can look like toys, so of course your cat will want to play and nibble at them. Like dogs, cats will nibble at grass to help them purge something unwanted in their stomachs (such as hairballs), and if your cat can’t get to the grass outside, an indoor plant will do. She might also be bored, and knows that nibbling on your plants will get your attention. Provide your cat with plenty of toys, groom her often to minimise hairballs and give her attention with pats and games, and you’ll probably find she leaves your plants alone.