Our pets sometimes act in ways that we may not understand. As strange as they may seem, most of these behaviors are healthy and harmless. Learn more about five common pet behaviors.
1. Why do pets play with their food?
Have you noticed your cat toying with her food? She might be pretending to hunt! Cats have a natural predator instinct and an inner drive to hunt. If your cat isn’t able to stalk prey, she may try to meet this need by playing with her food. This is nothing to worry about, but you may want to try giving her a toy that looks like prey.
Does your dog like to push his food bowl around? He might be bored and feeling playful. This is also another way for your dog to explore his environment. Luckily, this behavior is usually harmless.
Although playing with food is typically normal, if you notice other unusual strange food-related behaviors, such as eating less, reach out to your veterinarian.
2. Why do dogs kick after pooping?
Does your dog like to kick up the grass and dirt after he poops? This is a harmless behavior called ground-scratching. Your dog’s post-poop kicking is a form of communication that uses both chemical and visual components. Dogs like to show off their kicks to other dogs as a way to display their presence.
It can also be used to intimidate other dogs or mark territory. The odor from urine doesn’t last long, but the slashes left on the ground from kicking leave a longer lasting scent.
3. Why do dogs scoot their butts?
Seeing our dogs scoot their butts across the floor can be a funny sight, but this behavior is most likely a sign of irritation. Some common causes of irritation include:
Clippers or other grooming products used around your pet’s bottom can cause irritation. Check around your pet’s bottom for razor burns or small scratches.
Anal gland problems
Dogs have two small anal sacs on either side of their bottom. These glands release a small liquid when dogs poop, which leaves a mark for other dogs to scent. If the anal sacs become blocked or inflamed, then your dog might scoot to try to help the pain. You may want to consider talking to your veterinarian about having your pet’s anal glands expressed.
If your dog recently had diarrhea, he could be dehydrated and tired. If his bottom is messy, your dog may be uncomfortable and may try scooting to try to make himself feel better. Try cleaning your dog’s bottom and giving him a bath to help him feel comfortable again.
4. Why do cats like catnip?
We all know how much cats love catnip, but what is it about this product that makes our feline friends go crazy? This plant is part of the mint family and it contains an oil called nepetalactone that most cats love. The oil enters the nose, activating sensory nerves. Then, signals are sent to parts of your cat’s brain that control emotions and regulate body functions. Once this happens, your cat may start bouncing off the walls or become extremely relaxed and content.
5. Why does my cat head-butt me?
Our feline friends like to rub their faces on their owners, and it can seem like a head-butt. Cats have glands in their face that contain pheromones. When they rub their face on people or objects, these pheromones are released, marking the cat’s territory. This gesture is a sign of affection from your cat and means she is happy. You may notice your cat purring, laying down, or closing her eyes when she head-butts you.
Curious about other strange pet behaviors? Check out these articles.
- Why does my pet do that — and should I call my vet?
- Why does my pet do that? Vol. 2
- Why does my pet do that? Vol. 3
- Why does my pet do that? Vol. 4
- Why does my pet do that? Vol. 5