Strange pet behaviours explained

If you’re a pet owner, you’ve no doubt caught your furkid doing some pretty silly stuff, from head-butting you to sniffing other animals’ butts.

Here are eight of the more common strange pet behaviours explained. Odd as they may be, the good news is that for the most part, they’re pretty normal.

8 Weird things your pet does (and what they mean)

  1. Your dog walks around in circles before lying down

    Have you noticed your dog walking round and round in tight little circles before flopping down for a nap? This behaviour is ingrained from prehistoric times, according to animal experts. Dogs living in the wild would need to trample down the grass or under brush in the area where they wanted to make a nest – a comfy spot to sleep. Moreover, these movements may have chased away snakes, insects or other critters that would otherwise have bugged them while they slept.

    Even though many dogs today sleep on special beds (or in your bed!), this behaviour has remained hard-wired.

  2. Your cat brings you dead animals – despite having ample food

    Cats may have been domesticated for ten thousand years, but the instinct to hunt remains strong. Wild cats usually eat several small meals a day – hence regular hunting – plus their guts are designed to help them easily digest raw meat. Cats also hunt to teach their kittens how to survive – and even if your kitty is sterilised, they may try to pass on their hunting wisdom anyway… to you!

  3. Your dog sniffs other dogs’ bums

    Although scientists aren’t 100% sure of the reason for this, the likelihood is that dogs communicate through anal scents.

    Dogs not only have the most sophisticated noses in all the animal kingdom, but they also have a sense of smell that’s up to 100,000 more powerful than ours. Dogs have anal sacs that secrete highly potent, chemical-laden scents that pass information on to other mutts. So, butt-sniffing is a way for dogs to communicate via chemicals, and it’s one of the many examples of chemical communication in the animal kingdom.

  4. Your cat loves to play in boxes

    Bought your kitty a new bed, but she prefers the box? Don’t take it personally – she doesn’t hate your taste in decor. It’s believed that box-loving behaviour is instinctive: in the wild, cats seek out confined spaces that will protect them from predators and enable them to stalk prey undetected.

    Plus, cats love to hide. Give them a box, and they’re happy as a pig in a sty. Boxes offer them safety, security, a great hiding spot and, best of all, a protected space to return to after they’ve chased their prey… or your toes!

  5. Your dog chases his tail

    No, your pooch isn’t losing his marbles. There are a few explanations for this dizzying behaviour. Firstly, it may be genetically passed down from dogs’ days of hunting, where anything moving triggered their survival instinct, and they immediately thought, ‘attack!’. Secondly, it could be an itch caused by ticks or fleas.

    However, if the behaviour becomes excessive, it’s worth a visit to the vet. It could be a indication that your pooch is suffering from the canine version of obsessive compulsive disorder, called canine compulsive disorder, and may be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals. Studies have also found that tail-chasing behaviour is more prevalent in shier dogs and dogs who were separated from their mothers at an earlier age.

  6. Your cat kneads you

    Although scientists haven’t proven anything conclusive, studies have shown that this behaviour comes from kittenhood, when babies knead the area around their moms’ teats to stimulate milk flow. And, like dogs, this behaviour may also date back thousands of years, to a time when cats would trample the ground to create a soft place to sleep. Finally, it may be a way stretching – something cats love to do.

  7. Your dog eats poop

    From butt-sniffing to poop-eating, your dog may seem overly obsessed with bottoms. Although you may chalk it up to odd doggy behaviour, it’s worth taking note of it if happens regularly. Known as coprophagia, it can be a symptom of a health condition like diabetes or Cushing’s syndrome, or a lack of nutrients.

    However, poop-grazing can simply be a result of boredom, or a sign of dogs’ innate scavenging behaviour.

  8. Your cat loves bumping up against your forehead

    If you thought cats were aloof and unloving, think again. This scent-spreading behaviour indicates that you’re part of their group – just like when cats rub their faces against your skin. The action, known as bunting, releases their scent and helps them bond with you. Bunting and rubbing are affectionate gestures, reserved exclusively for social, friendly, comforting and bonding purposes. Awww, isn’t that precious?

Love them right back? Spoil your furkids with something special

Visit our online vet shop for quality food, medication, yummy treats and more. We’ll deliver directly to your door – and you can even set up repeat orders for food, flea treatment and other essentials.

And remember: if you’re concerned about any of your pet’s behaviour, don’t take a chance. Get them to the vet ASAP to put your mind at ease. Happy bonding… and bunting!

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