Caitlyn loves animals of all species and sizes. Yes, that includes creepy-crawly bugs and snakes.
For as long as humans have had canines by their side, people have wondered why they do what they do. When cats entered the picture and became a family pet, there were even more questions. Why do cats raise their tails to people and other pets? Who do dogs stare at their human when using the bathroom? How come the cat/dog seems to like one family member more than others? Why do cats rub themselves on their human's legs? How come dogs hate mailmen?
These questions actually do have answers thanks to studying animal behavior. Read on to find out some interesting facts about our furry friends!
Why Does My Dog Stare At Me While Using The Bathroom?
Anyone who owns a dog has probably suffered that awkwardly long moment where their dog is hunched over, defecating in the grass, and staring at them the entire time. The behavior seems really weird to us - most people would prefer not making eye contact while using the bathroom - but the reason behind it is not only really simple, it's also rather touching.
The reason dogs often look up at their owners while using the bathroom is because they are in an incredibly vulnerable position and can't watch for danger themselves. They are showing they trust their owner enough to know they are being watched out for and can use the bathroom on the lawn in peace.
Why Do Cats Purr?
Cats are already mysterious beings and humans have wondered about their sounds and movements for centuries. One of the biggest questions the cat has us asking is: What is this rumbling sound they keep making and what does it mean?
Most people associate purring, that rumbling sound that vibrates through their chest, as a happy noise that means they like whoever they are purring at, and this is believed to be correct. Cats first begin purring when they are kittens, making the sound to their mother when she feeds them. The reason why they continue that into adulthood is one many animal behaviorists have tried to figure out over the years.
One possible explanation of why they have adapted this behavior from their youth is an interesting one that shows just how smart cats are. If a cat ever needs something from their human, they need a way to let them know. Sometimes meowing just doesn't cut it, so what do they do?
Cats are incredibly intelligent creatures, and some cat behavior experts believe they have somehow learned how to replicate the frequency of a crying baby in their purring. So, that aggressive purring sound cats sometimes make (especially in the morning) is them trying to get people to pay attention to them- much like how a human would a crying baby.
That's pretty clever!
Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom?
There are a couple of reasons why our furry friends like to follow us into the bathroom. Much like how they stare at humans when they go to the bathroom, a dog will follow their human into the bathroom so they can watch after us too.
Another reason may simply be because they want to stay by their favorite human's side. Many dog breeds have it bred into them to latch onto one person specifically, so they will often keep close to one member of the family. That includes in the bathroom!
Why Does My Dog Walk Around in a Circle Before Laying Down?
Dogs have many behaviors that have people scratching their heads, but none more so than why they will circle around a spot a few times before settling into it to sleep. It's fun to watch them try to lie down because of this, but it makes one wonder why they do it. Why can't they just flop over into a spot in the sun?
It is believed that this behavior comes from when they weren't domesticated by humans. In the wild, dogs will circle over a spot to make it into a comfortable nest for them to sleep in, crushing down the grass and moving sticks and rocks out of the way. So in the home, they are doing this to make a nest before they can relax and go to sleep.
Why Does My Cat Bring Dead Animals in the House?
Nothing is more disgusting than finding a dead mouse or bird at the paws of a furry feline friend, but perhaps this gesture shouldn't be so looked down upon.
Mother cats often bring stunned prey to their kittens in order to teach them how to hunt, so bringing the prey to us could be them trying to teach humans how to catch their own food and feed their families. It could also be their way of helping provide for the family or a gift of thanks for us taking care of them too.
Whatever the reason, cats are trying to show us how much they care- or that they think we can't sufficiently care for ourselves.
Why Does My Cat Hate Water?
This is one of the most well-known cat behaviors, yet is still one that baffles humans to this day. In television shows, cats are often shown to be highly hydrophobic and unable to even go near a bit of water, and while it is often dramatized for entertainment purposes it is true that cats generally despise water- specifically larger bodies.
So, why are they so terrified of this vital liquid? There are a few theories as to why cats won't set foot or whisker into a splash of water.
One theory says that because the domestic cat is a descendant of the Arabian wild cat - a feline who lived in a place with where little land water - their fear comes from not knowing what it is. And this ancestor, unlike tigers, had no reason to swim, so our domesticated cats have no instinct or inclination to do so.
Another theory suggests the fear comes from a triggered panic response to drowning when the cat becomes waterlogged, causing them to lash out and seek escape.
Obviously, this isn't true for every cat- some loved to go in water or be walked on leashes. But in general, it is probably best not to throw them in the tub or try to bathe them in the sink. Cats are generally able to keep themselves clean on their own.
Why Does My Dog Lick Me in the Mouth?
Many people have felt had a dog lick them in the mouth, sometimes even getting the dog's tongue in their mouth if they aren't prepared. Why dogs do this is to their humans actually comes from their pack instincts.
In a dog pack, dogs will often show their submission to another member by licking them in the mouth. So really, they are just telling us they know we are the leader of the pack.
Still kind of gross, though.
Why Does My Cat Chew on Weird Things?
Cats eat a lot of weird and gross things: grass, bugs, lizards, and mice are just a few things in their diet. One thing that many cat owners notice, however, is that some cats like to munch on hard plastic things, rubber objects, and even cardboard. They often don't eat these things, however, usually just spitting it out on the ground.
Why do they chew on weird things around the house?
It could possibly be from boredom or anxiety from being stuck in the house. Cats are outdoor creatures who need space and things to chase, so being stuck inside all the time offers very little stimulation and is against their very nature. Chewing on hard plastics or rubber items around the house is their way of expressing this feeling.
Keeping an eye on them is necessary because if they do happen to swallow something like that, it could become life-threatening and they will need to be taken to the vet right away.
A great way to keep them from eating or chewing is to offer them stimulation in other ways. Giving them 1-on-1 attention and playtime can be very helpful, and having toys for them to play with around the house can give them something safe to exercise their pent-up energy on instead of the rubberband on the ground.
Why Does My Cat Love Sitting in Boxes?
Anyone who orders packages regularly knows that a cat's most favorite thing is not what's inside the box, but the box itself. There are many pictures all over the internet of cats sitting, sleeping, and cramming themselves into boxes of all shapes and sizes. It's adorable to see, but the reason why do they hide in boxes? This behavior comes from their wild instincts.
Cats hide in small spaces, like boxes, because it makes them feel safe and protected. In the wild, cats will hide in small dark spaces to avoid threats in their habitat. So when they curl up in a box instead of their new bed, it's so they can feel safe.
Why Does My Dog Chase Their Tail?
Nothing is better than watching a dog chase their tail around and around. It gives humans a laugh, but is there any reason why a dog chases their own tail, or sometimes the tails of other dogs? Though there is no solid scientific reason as to why dogs chase their tails, there are a few ideas.
One thought is that when they see their tail out of the corner of their eye, it kicks their prey drive into gear and they give chase. Much like when dogs chase cars, cats, rabbits, and squirrels. Anything that runs from a dog is then seen as something to chase down, which is why it is advised not to run away from or towards a dog, even if you know them.
Another thought is that they do it out of boredom. They thump their tail on the ground, which gets their own attention, and then they try and grab it for fun. It serves as a way of self-entertainment.
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
If a dog is eating feces, whether they are dog, cat, or another animal, there can be a few explanations as to why they do. A lot of dogs who suffer from malnourishment, deficiencies, or who are underfed will often try to make up for that by eating the feces of other animals. If a dog is eating poop on their walks, they may need a visit to the vet or a diet change.
Another reason they eat feces is out of boredom or if they are seeking attention. Dogs are animals that need a lot of exercise and stimulation, and if they aren't getting it, strange and sometimes naughty behaviors can come out of it. Eating cat feces, chewing clothes and shoes, biting their feet, and other odd behaviors can be 'fixed' simply by exercising the dog more. Bigger dogs especially need plenty of exercise.
Some dogs may also eat feces to avoid punishment from their humans. If they are punished often for going to the bathroom in the house, they may begin to eat it in order to avoid getting in trouble with their humans. Other times, they eat feces because they are feeling stressed out, or if they are stuck in a small place for long periods of time. Dogs care a lot about cleanliness, in both their environment and their own bodies, so if there is poop (or vomit) in their space, they will sometimes eat it.
Finally, mother dogs will eat the feces of their young, which is perfectly healthy and natural. This is done to keep the 'den' clean and free from germs so the puppies will not fall ill. Also, mother dogs lick their behinds in order stimulate their bowels so they will function correctly.
Why Does My Dog's Tail Wag in a Circle?
Dogs communicate with each other, and with humans, in many ways. Since they can't speak, a lot of what they feel and think is in their body language. Wagging is one people have associated with happiness, but the type of wag can actually mean different things. A 'normal' wag can mean they are happy to see someone, that they are happy, or that they are excited about something. When their tail wags in a circular motion, however, the meaning changes slightly.
Dogs tend to 'circle wag' only to a few certain people or animals, and it means they really like that person or pet! They will also do it if they are particularly or happy about something.
Why Does My Dog Hate the Mailman?
It is shown often in the media how much dogs hate the mailman, but why is it that they bark and chase the people trying to deliver the mail to the house? Dogs are very territorial, so when someone they don't know (and therefore not part of the pack) crosses into their territory, they become defensive and will try to make the intruder leave. They have no understanding that the person is not a threat to their home and family.
They will also react this way to other dogs and strange people on their territory. They want to protect their space and their family.
Why Does My Dog Chew on My Underwear?
There is nothing more annoying than when dogs destroy the clothes of their owners. Socks, underwear, brassieres, and shoes often become the chew things of the family dog, and sometimes they only chew one person's clothes! Why do they do this?
Dogs will chew on the clothes a lot of the time because it smells strongly of their family members. Most of a dog's world is the scents around them, so if something has a strong scent, they are attracted to it. Human dirty clothes such as socks and underwear contain strong human scents, so dogs will grab these things and hold onto them because it smells like their favorite human! With the chewing, dogs often chew and eat things they like and feel like shouldn't be wasted.
So when they eat our clothes, it just means they really love us. Just be sure to pick them up and keep them out of reach to avoid the dogs munching on them again!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Caitlyn Booth
Melissa Meadow from United States on November 08, 2018:
I have cats and dogs and both do many of the things listed here in this informative article. We've speculated about several of these behaviors and what they may mean and your information here has given great food for thought.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 08, 2018:
We have experienced many of these behaviors in our cats and dogs over the years. I am smiling right now thinking of how much fun our Dusty had jumping into the boxes as they were emptied of Christmas decorations. Getting the boxes back out to refill them sometimes took extra time before he would vacate them.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 08, 2018:
Hi Caitlyn, this is very interesting. My Chipper follows most of the traits you have described here, and he is something special.
Very good hub.
The Little Shaman from Macon, GA on November 08, 2018:
My cat eats boxes. :(