Why does my cat do that?

Feline expert answers News 6 employees questions about their cats

ORLANDO, Fla. – In response to News 6 executive producer Ashleigh Coran's "Why does my dog do that?" article, News 6 reporter Nadeen Yanes wanted to know: why does my cat do that? 

News 6 employees sent in pictures and questions that Dr. Angela Avok, from Bay Hill Animal Cat Hospital, answered for us this week. 

Here are the questions: 

1. Why does my cat insist on being in the bathroom with me while I’m using it? Even with the door closed, she’s constantly scratching at the door trying to get in. And when I let her in she immediately wants out. So frustrating! -- From News 6 anchor/reporter Amanda Castro.

"Cats are very curious and want to know what could be behind the door that they can’t see. What could you be doing in there, and why can’t it involve her? Once she’s in and the door is closed, it may be activating her discomfort at being “trapped,” so she wants out again. (She also could just be wanting your undivided attention, and what better way than to have you do her bidding by opening and closing doors at her direction?)

2. I had a cat who had a problem with chewing wires. I had to protect them to avoid the possibility of electrocution. Of all the cats I’ve had and been around, only one had that habit, although they virtually all had a chewing habit of some sort. Why would a cat be so attracted to something like wires as to actively seek it out? -- From News 6 producer Ryan Burkett

"Chewing wires can be dangerous, so great job protecting your cat from electrocution. Cats sometimes like the oral sensation they get from chewing on wires (kittens teething comes to mind). More exciting is the “dangly toy” that they see hanging from the outlet or coming down from the desk. He can bat at it, pounce on it, and “kill” it by chewing. If your cat does chew cords, a trip to the veterinarian may be in order. Swallowing wires can be trouble for the digestive tract, and chewing live electrical wires could cause mild to severe electrocution."

3. I have one cat that likes to chew on my hair while I’m sleeping. My other cat likes to claw at our plantation shutters at around 4 a.m. every morning.  Why is that? -- From News 6 anchor Lisa Bell

"Your cats love you!! Cats will groom each other when they are bonded, and they are showing you their friendship by grooming you too! They want your attention whenever they want it, and that’s usually very early in the morning. It is important not to let your cat train you to have interactions during your sleep time. While it is very hard to do so, by having no reaction you can help extinguish this behavior. (Whether its getting up to play with them or telling them to stop, it really doesn’t matter to your kitty – it is still attention!) I know it is REALLY hard to do, but after 2 or 3 weeks of not getting noticed for the behavior, they will move on from that behavior."

4. My cats love drinking out of water faucets and the reason for that, is because cats (domestic & wild) love running water. Why? -- From News 6 producer Haley Coomes

"One theory is that there is an evolutionary aspect where cats used to have to find their own clean water sources. When it comes to water, cats can have diverse wants and needs. Some cats prefer running water. Some like very cold water, and like ice cubes placed in their water bowl. Some will only drink filtered water. I know one cat that will only drink water out of a coffee cup that is placed in the middle of her owner’s bathtub. To each her own, I say! Place water in different areas of your home and in different types of containers and see which your kitty likes best. As for my cat that likes me to turn the faucet on for him every morning for a drink? I think he just likes to know that I’m his servant and will do anything he asks because he’s just got that cute face I can’t say no to."

5. Why does my cat constantly lick my dog’s face? -- From News 6 special projects executive producer Angel Blazquez 

"It’s so great that your dog and cat are such good friends! And like any good friend, your cat wants your dog to look his best. Cats naturally groom their preferred associates as a sign of affection."

6. Why do my cats have a circus at night and have a sudden burst of energy when everyone is trying to sleep? -- From News 6 Reporter Nadeen Yanes

"Ah the cat circus…putting on nightly shows in homes everywhere for decades! Cats are typically more nocturnal than we are. In the outdoors, they will hunt at night and be more active in general at night, while sleeping during the day. In our homes, we tend to go off to work or school during the day and our cats spend much of this time resting. So when we are ready to sleep, they are ready to expend all that energy they’ve been building up. The best thing you can do for this is to give your cat a lot of attention during the day, and have playtime (and dinner) right before bedtime. Your cat will then want to groom himself after eating and have a nice long sleep."

7. My cat has this toy and puts it in her mouth and meows with it in her mouth. Her meows get louder and closer until she drops the toy on my bed. Why does she do that? -- From News 6 Reporter Nadeen Yanes

"This seems to be a behavior that goes back to the hunting instincts of cats. She is trying to get attention to show off her hunting prowess. This behavior can start at a very early age. I’ve seen a 3-week-old kitten toddling around the room with her new toy in her mouth making cute little chirping noises, and she still does this two years later. This can also be a sign of separation anxiety, and I know a cat that will walk around with a fuzzy ball in his mouth only when he is feeling alone and his owner has a busy schedule. If your cat seems distressed, discuss options for anxiety with your veterinarian."

8. My cat loves to scratch cloth furniture, not leather. I've tried other scratchers. Why does she do that?

"Scratching is a normal and important behavior for cats. It helps to stretch their body, keep their claws sharp, leave scent markers (pheromones), and keeps claw motion function intact – kinda like why we go to the gym. Different cats like different textures (cloth, sisal rope, cardboard, wood, etc.), and your cat may prefer the feel of that particular cloth. In addition, some cats like horizontal scratchers and some like vertical ones. It may take time to find something your kitty likes, and also time to move her to the things you would like her to scratch and not the things you don’t (like your cloth furniture.) Talk with your veterinarian about products that are now available to help train your cat to an approved scratching post, how to trim your cat’s claws, pheromones that help reduce stress, environmental enrichment, and temporary caps that can be placed on the nails while you are retraining."

9. Is there such a thing as "Tortitude"? -- From News 6 Reporter Nadeen Yanes

"Tortitude is usually described as being a bit feisty, headstrong, and demanding. There is no scientific evidence that link hair coat patterns and personality. But plenty of people have stories about their cats having Tortitude. The vast majority of the torties I see are very sweet and loving cats, and tend to bond closely with their owners. However, when they get a little spirited during examinations or treatments at Bay Hill Cat Hospital, we like to tell them their tortie is showing!"

10. One of my cats goes to corners on the house and jumps up and down.  Almost like she is trying to climb the wall. Why does my cat do that? -- From News 6 producer Tiffany Anthony

"That is a stumper! If there are no rodents hiding in the walls, or tiny insects in the corners, it may just be something that she likes to do. As we like to say, 'Cats are weird…but we are so happy they are as they are fun to watch!'"

11. My cat likes to eat the bubbles and drink the bubble bath water when I'm in the bath. She also likes to lick lotion and other things off my skin. Why does my cat do that? -- From News 6 producer Tiffany Anthony 

"The bath water has many things that can entice a cat. First, you are in the tub, and you are her person. Second, the water is moving and some cats like moving water. Third, the water is fresh. She’s hit the trifecta! As far as licking your skin, cats like to lick all kinds of things. They seem to be intrigued by new scents and flavors. It could be the oils in the lotion, or she just likes to groom you to tell her she cares. If your cat seems to not feel well after grooming you, touch base with your veterinarian."

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