Yes, there's a reason your kitty loves boxes.

Oh, those mysterious felines. Their behaviors may seem curious, but there's almost always an explanation. Yes, all cats are unique in their own ways, but many of their mannerisms are quite common. (Including why your pet insists on sitting in a box that's way too small for them.) If you're wondering as to why your kitty loves to purr, or hates belly rubs, check out what the experts have to say about cats' conduct.

cat rubbing check on wooden pole outside
Credit: Nataba/Getty Images

Why does my cat purr?

Cats can say several things with a purr. Although they generally purr as a sign of happiness, they also may turn on the purring because they've learned that it gets them what they want—more attention, more petting. However, purring can also indicate fear, says Lisa Radosta, D.V.M., a veterinary behaviorist with Florida Veterinary Behavior Service in West Palm Beach. "I often hear cats purr when I'm examining them, and I'm sure it's not because they're enjoying it," Radosta says. Their body language can clue you in to the real reason: Pinned-back ears, a thumping tail, fur looking puffed up, and an arched back signal fear.

Why does my cat rub their cheeks on things?

Cats have glands in their cheeks (and eight other spots, including their chin, forehead, and tail) that release pheromones. Rubbing their cheeks against something in effect claims that spot by marking it with their scent. Your cat could also be trying to cover up other scents already in that spot.

Why does my cat check out boxes and baskets?

Cats have an instinct to investigate things, says Theresa DePorter, D.V.M., a veterinary behaviorist with Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. And cats consider small, confined spaces safe spots to relax and sleep.

Why does my cat give me head butts?

When a cat nudges your hand when you reach to pet it, it's a sign the cat is comfortable with you. More specifically, when a cat touches its nose to an outreached hand, that means the cat accepts you. "It's like a kitty handshake," DePorter says. Cats do this only with people or cats they're comfortable around. By touching its nose to you, a cat is giving you permission to pet spots it likes. A favorite is from above the eyes to the back of the neck.

Why does my cat hate belly rubs?

Cats notoriously don't like their bellies touched. Why? It isn't natural; you'll never see cats grooming each other's stomachs.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
June 10, 2020
My cat love tummy rubs! It all depends on the fact that your cat was a kitten whenh you got him. I've had all my life (I'm 70 yes old) I've found that as a kitten you can teach them things that may be counter their instincts. As in the case of tummy rubs. I began the tummy rubs as soon as I got my kittens, in fact on the ride home. I've also taught them to get wet without them biting you, as in getting a flea dip or having gotten dirty enough to need a bath. The bath is a must with all my cats. I forgot with 1 of my cats & got bit in process of the above flea dip. These must be done while they are kittens as they are open to learning whatever you want them to learn. As adults it's harder or impossible to teach these particular things to them. This is my experience over a lifetime love affair with them.