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Could Your Cat’s Behavior be a Sign of Illness?

by MetLife Pet Insurance
6 years ago


We love our cats—even when they do things that appear just a little…strange. My cat, Kiggy, who was an indoor/outdoor cat, would come paw at my nose so that I would open the window and let him out in the morning. A few times in my teenage laziness, I refused such notion; it was then that he would sit at the edge of my bed and literally leap from the bed to the closed window—face first. Those crows from the old Windex commercials? They had nothing on my kitty.

Much of the time, our cats’ quirks are just harmless—and often humorous—behaviors. Sometimes though, our cats’ odd tendencies could be signs that something may be wrong with our feline counterpart.

Fluffy black, white, and brown cat with green eyes laying comfortably in the tall green grass

Here are some common quirks that cats may display, and what they could mean:

  1. Finger Licking: while it could just mean that your cat enjoys the taste of your Japanese cherry blossom hand lotion, if done excessively, it could be a sign of anxiety. This behavior is associated with nursing and is a source of comfort. If your beloved kitty is doing this in excess, just be sure to talk to your vet.
  2. Sneezing: Oh those pesky allergies! Did you know that they can affect your pet too? Other causes of sneezing could be a virus or even tumors. If this behavior persists consider taking your feline friend in for a checkup.
  3. Sleeping all day… staying up all night: Does it get to about 3 a.m. and all of a sudden your cat decides, “Oh this is a fabulous opportunity for running and jumping across the bed a hundred times”? While cats are typically nocturnal by nature (their eyes adjust to catch their unsuspecting and often sleeping prey), they usually adjust their schedule to the activity in the household. If this behavior comes on suddenly in an older cat, see your veterinarian. It could be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
  4. Rubbing against you: Is your cat rubbing her face against your legs, face, or chest? This is a sign of affection. Cats have scent glands in their cheeks, so when they rub against you, they are leaving that scent on you. It’s a little odd, but completely normal—and kind of adorable.
  5. Eating grass: Eating grass and similar plants in small doses is fairly harmless. It can actually help with digestion, however, in large amounts, grass works as a laxative or may induce vomiting. If your cat is prone to eating plants, be cautious of the plants you keep around the house. Easter lilies, for example, are highly toxic to cats. They can even prove fatal.

These are just a few of many quirks that cats may exhibit. Read more about cat behavior.

Does your cat have a harmless, albeit, humorous behavior? We want to hear about it! Send your story and a photo of your feline friend to We may just share it with other pet parents like yourself!

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