Most parents of cats agree that they adore their feline friends because of the weird things cats do. The unpredictability of funny cat behavior livens up any household, but what you see as silly and entertaining is just them following their instincts. They tolerate and incorporate people into their daily routine, winning them over with one hilarious act after another.
Here are five unique, sometimes mystifying cat traits that make you head-over-heels in love:
One of the most common and distinctive catlike displays of affection is kneading. As soon as you climb into bed or curl up in your favorite chair, she shows up out of nowhere to massage you and/or the blankets for a self-therapy that creates the perfect snuggle spot. Nursing kittens knead to stimulate their mother's milk flow, but as Vetstreet points out, it's a trait she carries into adulthood "to show contentment, to calm herself when she's feeling anxious or to mark a person or object with her scent from the sweat glands in her paws." In your world, this can be one of the most charming things she'll do. In the cat world, kneading equals love.
There's a reason cat videos go viral on the Internet: Cats effortlessly leap and bound to great heights, and their sense of balance is unbelievable. There are even professional cat agility competitions to celebrate their willingness to jump through hoops (literally) or crawl through tunnels. It's important to recognize that you shouldn't entice her to perform tricks that could result in an injury because cats don't always land on their feet, contrary to popular belief. Nonetheless, you've got to admire their stealthy moves. Watching your furbaby chase a cat toy up and down the stairs, or pounce on a piece of cat food, gives you a front-row seat to your own acrobatic show!
Is there anything cuter than seeing a set of adorable beady eyes sticking out of a paper bag or curled up in a tiny cardboard box (that's three times too small for your cat)? Cats are notorious for seeking out small hiding places, and although this behavior is super adorable, it also makes cats feel safer. They seek comfort, security, and warmth in spots that seem so odd to you: a shoe box or even the bathroom sink. This trait also ties in with their ability to sleep anywhere, at any time, which is why you shouldn't be surprised to find your feline friend curled up in a laundry basket or in an empty bookshelf. Just be careful, you might not always see her hiding somewhere so be sure you know where she is the next time you close your closet door.
This is quite possibly the weirdest of the weird things cats do, and they do it a lot. If you've lived with a cat for any length of time–from one day to twenty years–you've seen this happen. She's just sitting there, quiet and unassuming, when suddenly she darts across the room at top speed to chase...well, nothing. Or what you think is nothing. Cats are incredibly tuned into their environment; they see and hear things people can't, like that dust bunny floating through the air thirty feet away. It freaks you out a bit to see your kitty sitting in a corner staring at something invisible, but rest assured she's probably got her eye on something important.
Spying is a unique and sometimes unnerving behavior at which cats excel. If you've ever woken up in the middle of the night to find her staring at you, or think you're alone in the room and realize your "creepy" kitty is standing behind you, you know it's true. They want to keep an eye on you. Cats are valuable members of the Neighborhood Watch group. They'll stare out the window for hours, keeping tabs on the comings and goings of others. They've even been known to peek through blinds or open curtains to get a better look. And yes, the neighbors will think it's you spying on them, so you might as well just go with it.
These are just a few of the weird things cats do to bring love, fun, and comfort into your world!
Christine O'Brien is a writer, mom, and longtime pet parent to two Russian Blue cats who run the household. Her work also appears on Care.com, Fit Pregnancy, and What to Expect. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien.