6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations
There seem to be two kinds of people in the world: those who don't understand cats, and those who think cats are kind of douchebags.
Unfortunately for cat lovers, science has kind of come down on the side of that second group. Research has revealed that a lot of the quirky and even cute things your kitty does are actually signs that your cat is kind of a dick.
Meowing to Imitate a Baby Human
Cats have many different ways of communicating, but the meow is every cat's go-to vocalization when it wants to tell us something; be it, "I'm hungry," "pay attention to me" or "I just took a dump, go clean it up." However, far from the one-dimensional barking sound that dogs use to communicate, cats are like living stereo equalizers that are able to fine tune the pitches and tones of their meows... so they can better manipulate you into doing what they want.
A recent study has shown that people subconsciously can tell the difference between a pleading or soliciting meow and a run of the mill, casual one just by listening to sound clips taken from different felines in different situations. The subjects said the soliciting sounds came across as more urgent and less pleasant than a normal meow, much like the cries a human baby makes when she's hungry.
In fact, further studies have proven that a cat's cry for food or attention shares a remarkable similarity in frequency to a baby's cry. It's not coincidence- it's pure, kitty evil genius.
Using their expertise in Soviet-style subliminal advertising, cats adjust their purrs and meows to include this frequency which then prompts their owners into responding to them more quickly. Like well trained animals ourselves, we respond because, not only is the sound annoying to us, but it also stimulates our natural instinct to immediately nurture anything that sounds like our offspring, even if it is covered in fur and named Mr. Bojangles.
Leaving Their Poop Uncovered As An Insult
One of the major perks to owning a cat over, say, a dog or a horse, is that all cats instinctively drop their waste into neat little litter boxes, eliminating the need for frequent "walkies" and the palpable awkwardness that comes with the public use of pooper-scoopers and plastic baggies. Cats instinctively seek to bury their droppings, so it works out for everybody.
Contrary to popular assumptions though, this behavior doesn't come from Snowball's obsessive compulsive cleanliness, but rather an evolutionary holdover from before felines were domesticated and had more dangerous predators than the vacuum cleaner to worry about.
Burying the poop prevents detection by their enemies, but there's another layer to it, which is that they do it to avoid challenging the dominant cat of the group. It kind of makes sense, if burying the poop is a sign that they fear another, larger animal, then leaving it uncovered would be a pretty aggressive act. "No one here is bad enough to fuck with me. Enjoy my shit."
So... what do you suppose it means when your cat doesn't bother to cover his poop?
Yep, some cats intentionally leave their crap uncovered or in conspicuous locations (such as on a doormat or in your sister's bed) in order to communicate to us that they are the dominant member of the household, and that this territory is theirs.
In the wacky world of feline politics, feces act as little, smelly flags that clearly dictate the boundaries of each cat's domain. In the wild, these flags are intended to be seen, and smelled, by other cats, a sign that this is the stomping grounds of a badass kitty.
I claim this bed in the name of Admiral Bootiekins!
When it comes to the shared domain with humans that domesticated cats enjoy, the same territorial rules still apply, so a housecat who leaves his waste out in the open is sending the message to us that he is El Presidente, and that we should be covering up our shit, so as not to offend him.
And guess what? We do. We helpfully flush away our poop and your cat probably thinks it's done entirely to avoid offending him. Yes, if you want to take back your house, it's time to poop in kitty's bed.
Rubbing Against You to Declare Ownership
By nature cats are hard to read. They're not like dogs, hopping around with joy when you walk in the door, or slinking away with shame when caught eating the garbage. No, cats have mastered an expression of almost disdainful indifference that they seem to wear regardless of their mood.
However, as any spinster will tell you, a cat's affection is obvious when its purring and rubbing its face and body against your leg. It's like the animal is giving you a little kitty hug the only way it knows how!
The problem with that, though, is when cats rub up against their owners, it has nothing to do with affection at all, but instead is kitty's way of claiming you as its property.
I own you, motherfucker!
Cats, like many other animals, are packed full of pheromone-oozing scent glands that are primarily used to communicate with other cats on such hot topics as identity, sexual availability and territorial ownership. The most active and important glands that a cat uses to send these messages are located on the tail, the side of the body and the face. Thus, when a cat rubs up against your legs or slides its face along your hand, it is engaging these glands in order to leave its unique scent on you.
That scent in turn communicates to any other animals in the vicinity that not only is it, say, female and horny, but that you, the human, belong to her. When a cat brushes against your legs, it's less a furry hug and more of a prison yard tattoo. One that reads, "Owned By: Mittens" and, "Single Siamese Female, 8, seeking uncut Tom for a romp in the alley."
Imitating Snakes to Intimidate You
Anyone who has ever witnessed a visceral deathmatch between two angry cats is intimately aware of the blood curdling noises the cute little animals are able to create. Besides the demonically drawn out "Mrrrroww" that emanates from the very bowels of Hell itself, when a cat feels threatened, they always turn to the tried and true hiss.
Lots of animals make this noise when in the throes of battle, but why? Why is a sudden rush of moist air from such a small creature so frightening to other creatures that cats use it time and time again?
It turns out that when a cat pushes its ears down, bares its fangs, squints its slivered eyes and hisses, it closely resembles another animal that is naturally feared and avoided by most predators: the snake. And apparently the resemblance is completely intentional.
Cats, like many other animals, from butterflies to birds, instinctively employ the art of mimicry in order to best defend themselves from attack. Just like David Blaine in Las Vegas, a cornered cat relies on deception and misdirection in order to avoid being destroyed by its audience, and since most animals have a natural fear of venomous snakes, a sudden hiss accompanied by a spray of saliva coming from a head that resembles the shape of a python's will cause even the most determined and bloodthirsty hunter to think twice.
So the next time you piss off your kitty and it hisses at you, it's not just showing its disapproval. It's pretending to be something that can kill you.
Obsessively Getting Rid of the Stench of Humans
Gee, cats are such clean animals, aren't they? Always licking their fur and grooming themselves. They must really care about being sanitary, clean-cut pets...
Hmmm... that's strange. Fluffy seems to groom himself a whole lot after you pet him. What, did you have some peanut butter on your fingers he has to get off? Maybe he's allergic to your touch and licking it makes him feel better?
No, he's most likely trying to get your stench off of him.
Cats have glands that are stimulated when they tug on their fur, that ooze their own scent. Licking the fur kicks those glands into high gear, making him smell more like himself and ridding him of the terrible, terrible stink of you. It'd be like if after every time you hugged your Mom, she immediately ran down the hall and took a shower.
Also, have you ever had a cat suddenly start peeing everywhere after you bring a new girl or guy home? Peeing on their clothes, or in the rooms they spend time in? It's sort of the same principle, its trying to erase all signs of his or her scent from the area.
Bringing Home Dead Animals to Show You Suck at Hunting
Cats love murder. Mice, birds and exposed ankles often find themselves the unwitting prey of one of the few animal species on Earth that seemingly kills for fun. Thus, many a cat owner has also had the morbid pleasure of being presented with their pet's fresh kill. Fluffy will come home and drop the bleeding carcass of a bird on your shoe with an expectant look, as if you were going to gobble it up right then and there.
Dig in rookie! Or ain't ya got the balls?
Why does she do it? Because Fluffy does expect you to gobble it up right then and there.
Most cat people will tell you that cats are instinctual hunters and even when they are satiated by last night's canned tuna, they will still take down a low flying sparrow if the opportunity presents itself, just for kicks. Then after successfully nabbing their quarry, the proud pet will then present it to the dominant group leader (her human owner) as a gift. While perfectly logical, that assumption is slightly incorrect and only half the story.
The dead bird, seemingly gift wrapped in ruffled feathers and crimson ribbon, isn't actually an offering to the owner at all, but more like a training exercise. See, cats teach their kittens and other dependent family members how to hunt and catch prey in gradual steps. When Fluffy dropped the corpse on your shoe, that was lesson number one in her teaching curriculum. She has noticed your appalling lack of hunting skills and inability to catch your own food, and is trying to teach you, as she would one of her kittens, how to feed yourself.
So instead of being appalled or grossed out the next time your cat brings you a fresh kill, eat up, and then prepare yourself for lesson two. That's where your formally cute kitten kombatant teaches you the importance of fatalities.
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For more explanations for animal behavior, check out 6 Insane Dog Behaviors Explained by Evolution and 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 12.4.2009) to see Brockway and DOB dressed as cats and competing in Kitty Kombat.
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