Purring is often correctly associated with your cat being happy and comfortable. It can, however, have other meanings. Cats may purr when they are nervous, injured, or sick as a way to comfort themselves. There are some theories that the vibrations of purring may actually have a healing effect. Kittens will purr to help tell their mother where they are. It’s also been shown that domesticated cats may purr to manipulate their owners into a particular behavior…who’s training who now?
If you’re unsure what your cat’s purr may indicate, watch their other body language. If they are relaxed or loving, chances are that’s a good purr.
For some cats, staying hidden away can be part of their natural behavior. However, hiding for extended periods of time or a change in behavior for normally social cats could be a sign of pain, injury, stress, or anxiety.
A chirping sound from your cat is usually a sign they are excited or stimulated. Many owners will witness this behavior when their cat sees a bird or other “prey” through a window outside or when they are attacking a toy. The sound may also hearken back to kittenhood, as chirping is a way mothers communicate with kittens.
Cats begin kneading as kittens while nursing as a way to stimulate the flow of milk from their mother. The reasons for behavior continuing into adulthood are up for debate. Some theorize that cats connect the movement to the contentment and security of their mother. This may explain why some cats will knead your lap, as they look to you for comfort and care. Another theory suggests the motion is meant to prepare a space to lie down or to mark territory using the scent glands in their paws. It also might just be a great way to stretch!
You’ve probably noticed your cats rubbing their heads and face on seemingly random objects; they’ll rub on the corner of a box, on their fellow cats, your hands, or the edge of the book you’re trying to read.
They’re not just scratching an itch or trying to get you to stop reading and pay attention to them. Cats have scent glands located around their head and neck. This rubbing, called “bunting”, deposits pheromones from the glands.
Reasons for leaving the scents behind can vary. Bunting can be a method of marking their presence, a way to cope with anxiety, a sign of affection, or a sign that they are comfortable and relaxed. The rubbing can also act as a method for your cat to pick up scents from the object.
It’s often stated that one human year is equal to seven cat or dog years, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. Cats mature very quickly in their younger years, with the rate slowing in later years, so it’s not as simple as multiplying the “real years” by a number. The folks over at Calculator Cat have have a handy system and a breakdown to make it a bit easier.
However you convert it, many house cats live well into their teens, with some even living as long as twenty years or more.