If you have a cat, or have been to someone’s house who has a cat, then you know they have a number of distinct behaviors. Some of those behaviors are common, but a couple might seem pretty strange. Here are the explanations behind 5 common cat behaviors.

1. Rubbing

It’s very common for cats to rub up against their owners and objects. When cats perform this action, they are leaving their unique scent, as if they are claiming ownership. The most important and active glands that a cat uses to send these messages are located on the side of the body, face and tail. That’s why you notice sometimes a cat will use just their head and cheeks or at other times will engage their full body.

Your kitty may even head-butt you. It’s their way of saying that they feel safe and trust you. Additionally, it’s one of their methods of sharing facial pheromones with you. Behaviorists have named this action as “bunting.”

2. Nail Biting

Biting and chewing the claws is pretty normal behavior for some cats.  This is done as a part of their grooming routine, removing the loose outer sheath by chewing the claw. Your cat could also be telling you that they need a nail trim. If you haven’t had their nails cut in a while, you should get that taken care of. Lastly, it’s possible that your cat is anxious, and this is a bad habit (just like humans biting their nails when bored or nervous). As this habit may be difficult to break, see if you can find the root of the problem to determine if it actually is due to nerves.

3. Kneading

Kneading is when your cat rhythmically presses their paws up and down on top of a soft object, such as a blanket, bed or even your lap. This behavior is also known as “making biscuits”. Kneading is a behavioral instinct that begins shortly after birth. When kittens are suckling milk from their mother, they move their paws against her mammary glands to stimulate milk release.

In adulthood, your cat kneads because they are happy and content, likely associating the motion with comforts of its mother and nursing. They are also trying to mark you with their scent or relieve anxiety. This is usually performed by a cat prior to relaxing, and many cats will purr at the same time.

4. Random Sprinting

Have you seen your cat randomly start sprinting in the house at super fast speeds? You’re probably thinking they’ve gone crazy, but there’s a super simple explanation for this. Most house cats have extreme amounts of energy that get pent up and need to be released. You want to make sure that you are playing with your cat regularly so they can exercise and get their energy out. The more you play with them, the less likely they are to have random sprints.

5. Laying in Boxes and Other Small Spaces 

An amazon package came in the mail…woo! You open the box to take out your item, and 2 minutes later you look over and see your cat sitting or laying in the box. Probably one of the cutest sights ever. But why does your cat do this? Cats in the wild need to be stealthy in order to survive. Sleeping in the middle of an open field makes them vulnerable to predators, but hiding in a small den, makes it harder for predators to find them.