Curious cat behaviours explained

We’re pretty familiar with most kitty behaviours. But others just make us scratch our heads. We reveal the reason behind some of their more curious escapades.

Cats can be quite perplexing creatures. One minute they’re quietly purring on your lap and the next they’ve got your arm in a death grip, claws out, chomping on your thumb with their razor-sharp teeth.

If you’ve ever wondered what’s behind some of their crazier behaviours, we’re here to give you a glimpse into what drives them.

The zoomies

While cats sleep most of the day, or maybe because of this, cats have a lot of pent-up energy. Because domestic kitties don’t have to worry about catching their food, they have no way of expending this energy, which results in a case of the zoomies. Once they’ve got rid of all that energy, they’ll be back to snoozing in their favourite patch of sun.

If your cat tends to get the zoomies in the middle of the night – which is not quite as cute – make sure they’re getting enough exercise during the day, so they snooze when you snooze.

Foot attack

There you are, sitting and minding your own business, foot innocently dangling just above the ground when predator cat pounces. While it may not seem like it, your cat doesn’t have a vendetta against your foot. Rather, it’s practising its hunting skills and your foot just happens to be the ideal target, or pouncing on your foot is the perfect way to get your attention.


Whether it’s lying across your keyboard or sitting right in front of your TV screen, cats know how to get in the way, especially when you’ve got important work to do. However, they’re not trying to annoy you, they’re just trying to get your attention. After all, it’s not because keyboards are particularly comfortable.


Is pushing stuff onto the ground another attention-grabbing behaviour? Not according to animal behaviourists, who say this is part of their prey drive, or a way for them to explore the area around them. Cats’ paw pads are very sensitive, so by pushing and swatting at objects they can find out if something is safe or not.

Their favourite box

It’s every cat owner's nightmare. Buying their cat an expensive toy or climbing tree, only to have them play with the box instead. It’s not because they’re immaterial and don’t appreciate the gift. Rather, the box is a nice, safe little space for them to hide in and stay cosy. It’s also theorised that boxes mimic tight enclosed spaces that cats would have used in the wild, either as a place to hide from their prey, or to provide security.

So, a lot of strange kitty behaviours have reasonable explanations that relate back to their natural hunting instincts, or their desire for love and attention. If your cat starts exhibiting new unusual behaviours, or you’re concerned, it’s worth checking in with your vet to make sure everything’s ok.