Cats are known for their independent yet loyal personas. Their curious personalities keep them pouncing until they crash for those well-known cat naps. They're vocal creatures, meowing especially for food, love and affection. Typical cat behavior includes purring, excessive napping and grooming, kneading and, unfortunately, spraying.
Purring and Content
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The sound of a cat purring means he's content, especially when love and affection is involved. But that happy sound also means your feline companion feels safe in his environment. It's not unusual to hear a kitten purr as he nurses from his mother. Still, purring doesn't always mean a happy cat. Purring, especially loudly, can also mean a cat is scared or in pain and is using the vocalization as a coping mechanism.
Lots of Cat Naps
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Unlike dogs, cats are known to find their favorite spot in the house and curl up for a nap, some up to 16 hours a day. Cats generally sleep twice as much as other mammals. This need for lots of sleep is fueled by the bursts of energy many cats have in playing or for wild cats, chasing their food. But don't be fooled by the lazy persona. Even while asleep, cats have a natural instinct to always be on the alert.
A Well-Groomed Kitty
Cats love to be squeaky clean. They typically spend 30 to 50 percent of their day grooming themselves, according to the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. This behavior is innate, as cats in the wild feel the need to clean the blood off themselves from their prey. However, take notice if your feline companion is spending too much time grooming himself. It could indicate psychological or dermatological problems.
Kneading -- a motion of pushing their paws in and out -- is an instinctive trait. Cats use this trait for comfort, such as making a soft bed for themselves, especially on the laps of their owners. But cats also use this motion as a way to mark their territory since they have scent glands in their paw pads. When a cat kneads in your lap, he's marking you as his own, warning other cats to stay away. Cats also spray urine as a way to mark their territory. Although spraying, which can be a social, sexual or territorial behavior, is seen more in unneutered male cats, unspayed females are also guilty of this expression.
Crystal Owens is the managing editor at a Northern Virginia newspaper with more than 10 years experience in journalism. She has worked as a reporter in Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, covering various topics from crime to politics to health care. She studied communications at the University of North Florida.