Cat behaviour explained

Cats are amazing, fascinating creatures to share a home with, but sometimes their behaviour intrigues, perplexes and even frustrates owners.

Cat Behaviour Explained

Cat behaviour explained with an analysis of some common cat traits and quirks

Cats are amazing, fascinating creatures to share a home with, but sometimes their behaviour intrigues, perplexes and even frustrates owners. Purina has some insights into the minds and behaviour of cats and why they do what they do. Cat behaviour explained:

Peeing on personal belongings

Cats like their environment to have their scent, so when foreign-smelling objects invade their space, they will often choose to mingle their familiar scent with the new one. One of the most effective ways of transferring scent is to urinate or spray on objects.

While it may seem disgusting to you that your cat has urinatedin your suitcase or embarrassing that they have sprayed over your friend’s handbag, this behaviour may actually be relieving some of the anxiety your feline friend is feeling.

You can prevent this happening by being very tidy with your belongings and by relieving your cat’s anxiety.


Cats love to rub up against their owners. This movement may involve their entire body or sometimes just their foreheads and cheeks. Most owners see this as a sign of affection and welcome this behaviour.

When cats rub against objects, they are transferring their scent. It is almost as if they are claiming ownership and we are one of their belongings. Your cat head-butting or nuzzling your face deposits scent from glands in their cheek area. Their weaving through your legs, usually as you prepare to feed them, transfers scent from their sides and tails on to you. This behaviour is also an effective way of making sure that they have your full attention.


Cats need to scratch surfaces to sharpen their claws but they also use this behaviour to deposit their scent. Cats have scent glands on their paws and rubbing their paws along objects places their scent there.

If your cat has the annoying habit of scratching furniture, it is often because this is an area that attracts many different scents. The sides of sofas, for example, are favoured areas and these may have the scents of outdoors, our guests, our bags or shoes. In performing the scratching behaviour, your cat replaces the foreign scent with their own.

If scratching is a problem, then scratching posts are a must. Place these in areas that cats like to scratch and then gradually move them towards your preferred location. There is no use hiding scratching posts in corners, as cats need to scratch in prominent areas. They also often like to scratch at different angles so provide horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces.

By understanding certain cat behaviours and quirks, owners can get a better idea of how to control troublesome behavioural patterns, and also learn how to keep their cats happy, healthy and mentally stimulated.

Take a look at 5 of our favourite scratch posts, or you can shop for cat scratch posts here.



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