Understanding Strange Cat Behavior

Strange cat behavior may be indicative of minor to serious medical problems, stress or learned behavior. What owners perceive as strange feline behavior may also be normal for cats.

Withdrawal and Hiding

Some cats are more self-sufficient than others and may not enjoy spending a lot of time with their owners and other animals. However, if the cat behavior suddenly changes and she becomes more withdrawn, she may be either ill or stressed. Cats who are ill or stressed may also prefer to hide in dark, enclosed spaces because they feel more in control of their environments.

Loss of Appetite

A cat who suddenly stops eating or eats very little may be ill or stressed. If the cat is not eating, the owner can attempt to encourage the cat to eat by providing her with fresh food in her hiding space or getting liquid vitamins from a vet to sprinkle over the cat's food. If a cat refuses to eat altogether, she should be seen by a vet immediately to discuss this strange cat behavior.

Overly Fatigued Cat Behavior

Cats are naturally prone to spending large amounts of time sleeping. However, they should still have bouts of energy throughout the day. A cat who spends more time sleeping than usual and cannot be tempted to play may be stressed or ill.

Incessant Cat Crying

Incessant crying in cats can be indicative of a number of things. The cat may be in heat if she is not spayed or the cat may be in pain, especially if she's an older cat. However, the crying may be learned cat behavior. The cat may have learned that she will get attention, food, playtime or whatever it is she wants from her owner when she cries.

For example, if an owner rushes to the cat and plays with her when she's crying during the day, the cat may try to bother the owner at night by crying for attention at that time. This learned behavior must be untaught by the owner, who must ignore a cat when she cries and only give her attention when she doesn't cry excessively.

Running Around and Flipping

Many days, often late in the evening, a cat may "freak out." She may run up and down stairs or from run to room, jumping off furniture at fast speeds, chasing her own tail and generally seem strange. She may do this even without the influence of a substance such as cat nip. This is normal, non-worrisome behavior for many cats, especially indoor-only cats. A cat acting strangely in this way is burning off all of the energy she's accumulated by resting during the day.

If owners want to lessen this behavior, they should be sure to play with their cats regularly to help her burn off energy.

Owners who suspect that strange cat behavior may be the result of a medical problem should have their cats seen by a vet as soon as possible. If the behavior is the result of stress or learned behavior, training and the passage of time should improve the cat's behavior.