Things Your Pet Does That Actually Mean Something

Our pets are mysterious creatures. Even though we love and live with them, we still know very little about their actual behaviors, even when we think we do. Although each pet may be unique in their own way, many of them have to same types of behaviors that other people who have the same pet can relate to. Ever wondered why your furry friends have such strange behaviors? Well, here’s the explanation behind some of your pet’s most interesting behaviors.

Why Cats Hide In Boxes

Cat inside box
Felipe Rodriguez/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Felipe Rodriguez/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

More often than not, if you have a cat and leave an empty box lying around, it will most likely become their new favorite toy/place to hide. This goes for suitcases, laundry baskets, or any other container with an opening.

As it turns out, hiding is instinctual cats, as they love a good place where they feel they can’t be snuck up on from the side or behind. In the wild, cats specifically look for small spaces to hide, so in the home, boxes and other objects work just fine.

Cats Opening Their Mouth Halfway

Cat with mouth open
JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images
JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

When a cat awkwardly opens its mouth, it’s known as the Flehmen response, and usually looks like your cat is going to break into a snarl. However, in reality, the cat is just responding to scent hormones.

Cats use scent hormones or pheromones to communicate with one another or mark its territory or signify its gender. When a cat makes that face, it means that they have pheromones trapped in their mouth that they’re analyzing using their nose.

Why Dogs Walk In A Circle Before Lying Down

Dog laying down in grass
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you’ve ever watched your dog lay down on their bed or the floor, you may have caught them walking in a circle before finally lying down. Although most dogs no longer need to do this, it’s an evolutionary trait used by wild dogs to trample long grass around them in order to sleep more comfortably.

It’s also used as a way to check for rodents, snakes, and insects as well as mark their territory. Although few domesticated dogs need to worry about any of these issues, the instinct remains.

Why Cats Lick Their Owners

Cat with tongue
David Ebener/picture alliance via Getty Images
David Ebener/picture alliance via Getty Images

Although when cats lick themselves or they’re young it’s usually for grooming purposes, that’s not the case when it comes to their human. If your cat licks you, it’s usually a sign of affection.

Kittens lick to ease anxiety, and much like a hug between humans, cats do it to show you matter to them and are part of their family. Cats also give off pheromones when they lick, so it’s also possible that they’re marking you as their territory.

Why Cats Sleep In The Sink

Cat sleeping in the sink
Twitter/Harish Gadhavi
Twitter/Harish Gadhavi

A bathroom can be the ultimate space for any cat. There are no shortages of sinks, counters, tile floors, bathtubs, or toilet paper rolls for them to play with. Besides playing in the bathroom, you may have noticed that cats also like to sometimes sleep in the bathtub, particularly the sink. But why?

Mostly, this is because the sink is the perfect size area for most cats to fit into. Not only is it comfortable, but it also provides them with the sense of safety they need. They might also enjoy licking the moisture from the faucet.

Rabbits Grunting

Rabbit in the grass
Hohlfeld/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Hohlfeld/ullstein bild via Getty Images

If your rabbit is grunting at you, it usually means that they are angry or possibly feel threatened. If you’re not careful, a grunt can sometimes result in a bite. Rabbits will sometimes do this if they’re annoyed or if you’re cleaning their cage and rearranging their things.

This is because rabbits are creatures of habit and may become increasingly annoyed if they don’t have immediate access to their cage or feel like their space is being intruded on.

Dog’s Smelling All Over Each Other

Dog sniffing another dog
WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images
WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen two dogs meet for the first time or the thousandth time, you’ve noticed that they smell each other everywhere, especially where the sun don’t shine. However, this rather odd behavior is similar to a simple handshake between humans, although there’s more to it. Dogs and cats have an organ in their nose known as Jacob’s organ.

This allows them to ignore particular smells when sniffing each other’s behinds. It also allows them to detect a specific scent given off by the other dog that gives them information about one another, such as if they’re male or female, their mood, and much more.

Why Dogs Sit/Lay On Your Feet

Dog laying on owners feet
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

When your dog sits on your feet, it may not be the most comfortable, but it’s an ancestral pact instinct. It’s a way to both stay warm and to protect themselves as well as the leader of the pack. If your dog lays on your feet, it’s most likely a submissive dog and a sign they consider you the leader of their pack.

However, it can also mean that they’re scared and need more emotional support. Dogs with separation anxiety may do this to be as close to their owner as possible or as a way of demonstrating ownership over their owner.

Rabbits Spreading Out Their Droppings

Rabbit in cage
Andreas Arnold/picture alliance via Getty Images
Andreas Arnold/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you notice that your rabbit’s droppings aren’t in a pile, but are scattered all around, this means that they are marking their territory. They usually do this either when they are placed in a new environment or if another rabbit is introduced into their area.

This practice can be both temporary or ongoing. However, if a rabbit is continuously leaving its droppings in piles, it can be an indicator that it needs more litter box training.

Cats Eating Grass

Cat eating grass
Claudius THIRIET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Claudius THIRIET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen outdoor cats or allow yours to go outside on occasion, you may have noticed that they like to eat blades of grass. This is natural because the juice from the grass contains folic acid, an essential nutrient to any cat’s health. If you see your cat grazing, it could mean that they’re supplementing a dietary deficiency.

Eating grass can also help them with digestion which can act as a natural laxative or can be used to induce vomiting. Although there’s nothing wrong with them eating grass every so often, they shouldn’t need to do it regularly.

Following You Into The Bathroom

Cat on toilet
Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

Pets that love their owners tend to follow them everywhere, even places that you don’t necessarily need them, such as the bathroom. If you have pets, you know that unless you close the door, you can bet your pet is going to follow you into the bathroom.

If your dog follows you into the bathroom, it’s most likely due to pack mentality, and they’ll feel vulnerable if left alone. If your cat follows you, it’s usually because they feel the need to know everything that’s going on in their territory.

Why Dogs Chase Their Tails

Dog chasing its tail
PetMD/Pinterest
PetMD/Pinterest

There are few things more entertaining than watching your dog endlessly run in circles trying to chase their tail. However, there’s no one real reason why your dog does it. It could be that they’re bored, have too much energy, or a sign that they need human interaction.

However, it could also mean that there’s something wrong with your dog, such as they have fleas, worms, or other kinds of medical issues. If it seems your dog is chasing its tail for more than just entertainment, you might want to take them into the vet.

Why Dogs Lick Your Face

Dog licking face
Angus Mordant for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Angus Mordant for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Although not everyone finds it as enjoyable as others, when a dog licks your face, it’s a sign that they consider you their friend. In a sense, it’s a gesture of peace, and they’re suppressing any aggression.

It also makes your dog happy, as licking helps them to release endorphins, otherwise known as “feel good” hormones. However, if you don’t want a dog licking all over your face, don’t push them away. Turn your head to the side and yawn. They’ll get the message.

Why Your Hamster Is Bumping Into Things

Hamsters in a ball
Harald Lange/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Harald Lange/ullstein bild via Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen your hamster bumping its flanks or hips against things, that doesn’t mean that anything is wrong or that it’s uncoordinated. What its really doing is marking its territory.

Hamsters have scents glands in those areas that other hamsters can smell, although the precise location of these glands varies depending on the species of hamster. So, if you see your hamster doing this, just know that it’s making others known that is their space!

Why Cats Scratch At Everything

Cat scratching post
Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While it can be incredibly annoying when your cats ruin things by scratching at them, it doesn’t mean that they’re a bad cat. Cats do this to express excitement, stretch their claws and paws, remove a dead outer layer of their claws, or to mark their territory.

Also, it’s important to remember that scratching shouldn’t be discouraged. Instead, teach them where it’s okay to scratch by purchasing them scratching boards or train them to know which places are off-limits.

Rabbits Flopping On Their Side

Rabbit laying down
Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images
Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images

To some people, watching their rabbit suddenly flop down on their side can be concerning. Some believe that their rabbit is experiencing a seizure or may be trying to demonstrate to their owner that something is wrong.

Yet, flopping is usually the sign of a content rabbit. They will also look very relaxed, their legs won’t be moving, and their eyes will be closed. Flopping is a totally natural behavior and you should be happy to see it.

Hedgehog Quills Coming Off

Young hedgehog
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you notice the quills coming off of your young hedgehog, there’s no need to fear, this is totally normal. Just like children lose their baby teeth, young hedgehogs lose their quills.

If this is happening, the chances are that they also might not be in the best of moods, and it’s crucial to handle them with extra care. Furthermore, if an adult hedgehog is losing their quills, it could be a sign that they are under extreme stress or sick.

Why Cats Rub Their Head Against You

Kitten rubbing against hand
Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Cats have a funny habit of rubbing or bumping their head against people. Although it can feel good for humans too, it feels especially good for cats who use it as a way to mark their ownership over someone. They can also do it as a form of greeting or gathering information about someone.

It can also be a sign that they want to be pet since most cats prefer to be scratched or pet on their heads. if you see them rubbing their heads on other objects like furniture, they’re most likely spreading their scent.

Hamsters Constantly Chewing

Hamster chewing on corn
Harald Lange/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Harald Lange/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Some people might think that if their hamster is constantly chewing on things that it might be feeling anxious or is somehow in pain. However, this is perfectly normal behavior that they do in order to grind/file down their teeth.

Their front teeth are always growing, so they need to be filed down to the length they prefer daily. Because of this, it’s important that you provide them with things to chew on such as blocks of wood or crunchy food.

Hedgehogs Anointing Themselves

Hedgehog anointing itself
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you see a hedgehog vigorously licking something and then going over their quills with their tongue, this practice is known as “anointing themselves.” When a hedgehog discovers a new and exciting scent, they will typically lick at it until it develops a kind of froth in its mouth from the scent.

They will then use their tongue to cover their quills with the froth, thereby anointing itself with the new scent. You won’t see very many other animals doing this!

Why Cats Knead On You

Kitten and cat
Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

One way to tell if your cat especially loves you is if they knead their paws on any part of your body. This motion is instinctual from birth, as kittens knead on their mothers to stimulate milk production.

So, this action continues into adulthood, and they press on people to show their affection. However, this practice can sometimes be painful if your cat isn’t careful. Instead of reprimanding them, provide a barrier such as a blanket so they can knead to their heart’s content.

Why Dogs Howl Along To Music

Dog howling outside
Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images
Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images

If you’ve ever seen a dog howl along to music, unfortunately, it’s not because it’s their favorite song. It’s ancestral dog behavior and is a practice commonly seen in wild wolves who howl to each other to communicate.

Impressively, dogs also have a sense of pitch, and when multiple dogs join in, they will all howl at a different note. However, music also has the power to influence a dog’s mood. Fast and loud music like heavy metal can agitate them, whereas classical music has the ability to soothe them.

Why A Guinea Pig Freezes

Brown and white guinea pig
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen a guinea pig stop whatever it’s doing and go completely motionless, this is known as freezing. Guinea pigs tend to do this when they sense danger, hear an unfamiliar sound, or are introduced to something new in their environment.

This is a natural reaction which they do in order to make themselves appear to be invisible or warn others in the group that there’s danger. Often, freezing is accompanied by a short vibrating sound.

Dogs Sticking The Head Out Of Car Windows

Dog out the window
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Big or small, a lot of dogs like to stick their head out of the window when they’re riding int he car. While it could be that they like all of the stimulation and the wind blowing in their faces, the most likely reason is for all the smells.

The more air that passes through their olfactory membranes in their nose, the more scents that they can pick up on. While most people assume this is a harmless act, letting your dog stick its head out the window can lead to ear infections.

Why Cats Bring You “Presents”

Cat Crouching
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Although not everyone appreciates when their cat leaves them dead birds or mice on the doorstep or inside the house, they’re definitely not trying to annoy you. What they’re really doing is sharing their bounty with you as a sign of respect and affection.

Cats also bring their young dead prey to show them how to hunt, so this could also mean they’re trying to teach you how to hunt for yourself. If your cat is constantly bringing you these gifts, it might be a good idea to buy them toys to stimulate them instead.

Guinea Pig Teeth Chattering

Black and white guinea pig
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If a guinea pig is chattering its teeth like humans do when they’re cold, they’re most likely extremely agitated by whatever is happening. Chattering their teeth is a behavioral response to extreme anger so if you’re the one causing them distress, it’s important that you back up and leave them alone.

If you ignore this action, it’s highly possible that they will try to defend themselves by biting you or whoever is causing them so much stress.

Why Dogs Roll Around In The Grass

Dog rolling in grass
Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Although it may be odd to watch your dog roll around in the grass, looking like they’re just bored, that’s not what’s going on. This is a common behavior for dogs that is inherited from their distant cousin, the wolf.

In the wild, wolves roll around in new smells, whereas dogs typically roll around to get rid of unwanted scents. They can also be trying to alleviate an itch and can be a sign that they might have a skin disorder.

Why Cats Always Land On Their Feet

Cat jumping
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One of the most common-known facts about felines is that they have the incredible ability to always land on their feet. Cats are extremely flexible creatures and are also born with 30 vertebrae and a vestibular system that allows them to know where they are in relation to the ground at all times.

Of course, even though they almost always land on their feet, this doesn’t make them impervious to fall-related injuries. The height of the fall can result in broken legs or other serious injuries.

Guinea Pigs Jumping

Guinea pig jumping
Tollkühn/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Tollkühn/ullstein bild via Getty Images

One behavior common for guinea pigs is to jump in the air, run around, turning in the other direction, and jumping again. This is an action referred to as “popcorning.” Not only is it extremely cute, but it’s also a sign that you have a happy, excited, or playful guinea pig.

This is typical for young guineas who can jump an impressive height, although it is still observed in adults who aren’t capable of jumping as high.

Why Dogs Steal Socks

Dog with sock in its mouth
Pinterest/P D
Pinterest/P D

For anyone who has a dog, they most likely also have a lot of single socks because the dog stole them. Stealing socks can be a learned behavior that your dog does when they want attention.

They know if you see them stealing or have a sock in their mouth, you’ll most likely run after them, therefore giving them attention. However, since most socks are also designed to be comfortable, dogs can like the texture in their mouth and use it as a replacement for a toy.