5 strange kitten behavior explained

They’re as funny as they are cute, and that’s why so many of us love kittens. This is also the reason why more than 2 million cat videos on YouTube have been viewed more than 25 billion times. This is evident from an article published on and last updated in 2018. Undoubtedly, these numbers have continued to grow in recent years.

If you’ve recently adopted a kitten, lots of fun, laughter, and surprises await in a bundle of kindness. Here are five quirky, but common, kitten behaviors that can confuse you or make you laugh out loud.

Photo: VeraOsco; Mariia Skovpen | Getty Images

Why do kittens suckle on cloth?

On average, kittens breastfeed for the first eight to ten weeks of life. In the first 12 weeks, they learn valuable social skills from their mothers and littermates. If they are separated from their cat family too soon, they can become insecure. Such behavior is sucking on blankets, wool or a favorite towel. This behavior provides comfort and is reminiscent of the feeling of being safe with mom while breastfeeding.

If you notice the behavior excessively, it can also be a sign of stress as the kitten tries to restore those feelings of familiarity and comfort. What can you do?

  • Provide a safe space for your kitten to adjust to the new scents of your home when you first bring him home. Wait until she feels brave enough to venture into other parts of your home before you give her the full run of the house.
  • Use toys and treats to pull your kitten out of its bowl.
  • Because cats feel safe when they are high up and can watch their world from a safe position, you can help your kitten feel safe by providing vertical spaces.

Photo: cynoclub | Getty Image

Why do kittens have wrestling matches?

Play is important for cats and kittens. Playing with their littermates improves their hunting skills, which they need to catch prey in the wild. Her first playmates are her littermates. They hunt, rough and wrestle with one another, usually taking turns chasing and knocking out the upper and lower positions.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you are gambling or fighting for real money. How do you know? A real catfight:

  • Hissing and growling with claws clawed out, ears pulled back and hair standing up.
  • Includes a bite that breaks the skin.
  • Often has a cat consistently up or down.
  • Usually occurs in cats who don’t know each other.

Why do kittens have to knead?

Kneading is another comfort behavior that is left over from grooming. Kittens are often referred to as cookies because they look like they’re kneading bread dough. They do this to stimulate their mothers’ milk flow.

Adult cats:

  • Knead a soft surface before lying on it to sleep.
  • Knead to mark their territory because they have scent glands in their paw pads.
  • Knead on your lap for the ultimate compliment – your cat will mark you safe.

Photo: Lightspruch | Getty Image

Why do kittens sleep or play in their litter boxes?

Cats value their bathrooms and prefer a clean room. They instinctively bury their waste to prevent predators and prey from smelling their scent. When they see their mothers using the litter box or when you put them in one, kittens start pretty quickly.

Kittens may like their litter boxes so much that they play or even sleep in them. It is normal for kittens to spend extra time digging and even playing in their litter. Since the scent glands in their paw pads give off a recognizable odor, they may feel safe enough to fall asleep on their litter. Insure yourself:

  • The litter box is clean enough to indulge in these normal kitten behaviors
  • Your kitten can get in and out of the box independently. You may need to have low sided one.

Why do kittens bite and scratch their hands?

It is instinctual for kittens to bite and paw anything that moves, including your fingers and toes. While it may be cute, you don’t want this behavior to continue into adulthood. Always:

  • Direct this behavior onto toys and away from your fingers. Provide suitable scratching surfaces to meet your kitten’s scratching needs.
  • A biting kitten may also be teething. Chew toys can help. Just like teething rings for human toddlers, kitten chew toys are available that you can freeze to numb the pain.

When raising a well behaved kitten, keep in mind that whatever you reward, intentional or unintentional, is repeated. Provide ample playtime to redirect unwanted behaviors and safe spaces to keep Kitty feeling safe.

Featured image: Juliia Alekseeva | Getty Images

Continue reading: Basic litter training for kittens


Related Articles