(NEXSTAR) — Cats sometimes behave in strange ways, at least in the eyes of humans. But to cats, presumably, it’s perfectly natural and sane. Thursday is National Cat Day, and we thought we’d shed a little light on our feline friends. Hat tip to the ASPCA, which scratched together a similar list that helped us during our research. Here are eight weird things cats do and the reasons behind them.

Rubbing and headbutting

When cats use their heads to rub you or bop you, they are declaring that you belong to them. Cats release pheromones from their cheek areas that mark you as theirs.

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Cats like to press their paws back and forth into you, and the reason may go back to their kitten days when they would press on their mother’s tummy to stimulate milk flow. When your adult cat does this, he might be showing he’s relaxed and content.

Ignoring you

Cats are notoriously independent and often need time to themselves. Call them the poster children for introverts. It’s fine to leave your cat alone when they need space, especially since they are sure to come looking for attention from you in no time.


Have you ever heard your cat emit fast teeth chattering, especially while watching birds outside the window? It’s because they’re excited at seeing possible prey but also frustrated at not being able to get at it. Other sounds cats make include chirping, yowling and hacking.

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Giving gifts

Has your cat ever laid a dead mouse or bird at your feet? This is how they show they appreciate us. In the wild, cat moms teach their little ones to catch prey and bring it home. If your cat does this, don’t scold her for this normal behavior, but don’t praise it or you could end up with more gifts.

Pooping outside the box

If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, known as inappropriate elimination, you should try to determine why. Make sure your cat’s litter box is clean, easily accessible and located in a relatively private space. Also, illnesses such as urinary tract infections could also be the cause.

Lounging in tight places

Cats feel cozy and secure in small, snug spaces like boxes, dresser drawers and bathroom sinks. They may even choose those snug spots over the bed you bought for them. In the wild, cats would sleep safely hidden away to avoid predators. They also would hide in small spaces to observe their surroundings as they prepare to ambush.

(Credit: STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Knocking things over

“Knock it off!” That’s a typical response to cats batting things off a table and watching it hit the floor. Cats have a natural curiosity, and using their sensitive paws to knock things over is their way of checking things out. Cats do this with their prey as well. Then again, they also may just be trying to get your attention.