Cat laying on wooden floor

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat knead his paws?

A: Taking so many naps is hard work, and for some cats, kneading against the floor is like a nice stretch after a well-earned rest. They may also do it to mark territory, comfort themselves, as an instinct to start a mother’s milk or, if the kneading is done on your lap, as a sign of affection. For females, it can also indicate that they’re in heat and ready to look for a suitable mate. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

Cat in litter box

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why did my cat go to the bathroom outside the litter box?

A: Litter box issues can be a sign of a medical condition, like a problem with the urinary bladder or kidneys. Be sure to check in with your veterinarian just in case. However, it also may be as simple as the litter box needs to be clean or moved to a more private location. It could also be a behavioral issue caused by stress or anxiety related to a new baby or guests in the home, for instance. Learn more from our friends at the ASPCA®.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

Dog eating food

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog hide food?

A: Your canine may be hiding meals to save for later. This is an instinctual drive (called caching) inherited from wild ancestors who couldn’t always count on their next meal and had to hide leftovers from scavengers. It’s like creating a “food bank.” Shy or timid pups who feel anxious around other animals may also secret away food to eat by themselves later. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

Golden Retriever laying outside

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog walk in circles before lying down?

A:  It mostly means your dog is ready for bed. Your furry friend is going old school, walking around to find a spot for a final pat down before resting.  However, in some cases, it may be a sign of discomfort from arthritis or an upset stomach. If your canine is looking uncomfortable when circling, give your veterinarian a call. Learn more about compulsive behavior in dogs from our friends at the ASPCA®.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

Child kissing cat

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat head butt me?

A: Cats use this familiar move to show affection and possession. Glands in their foreheads leave a subtle gift of scent behind. So, the next time your cat sneaks up and starts head bumping, think of it as his or her way of saying, “I love you, you’re mine.” Learn more 

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

Dog rolling on ground

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog roll around in stuff that smells?

A: A popular theory is that your rolling dog is trying to get rid of other scents. Canines have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans, and a strong fragrance may drive your poor pooch crazy. To cover up the troublesome odor, your dog might dive into your dirty clothes or garbage. If you find your dog rolling in feces, it could signal a behavioral issue that you should discuss with your veterinarian. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

Jack Russell Terrier on a walk

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog want to eat gross stuff when he’s on a walk?

A: To us, garbage lying on the ground is nasty. To your pet, it’s a tasty investigation. There’s a whole mess of reasons why this might occur. If your pet is overly anxious, bored or just plain curious, a piece of trash might appear to be a snack. Another reason might have to do with a lack of nutrients, primarily vitamin B1. Learn more about coprophagia (eating feces) and pica (eating things that aren't food) from our friends at the ASPCA®.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

cat with food bowl

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat cover his food?

A: When cats cover their food, they’re taking a cue from their ancestors (a practice referred to as “caching”). It’s their way of hiding the scent of their tasty meal from scavengers—or in a housecat’s case, other pets. Finicky cats may also cover their food to let you know they’d prefer something else to eat. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

While some cat and dog behaviors can be quite amusing, others can be cause for concern. Here are four you shouldn’t ignore:

1. Excessive belching– Your pet might suffer a burping spell after drinking too quickly, but a lot of belching can be a sign of acid reflux.

2. Obsessive licking– Constant licking may be due to a simple skin irritation, but left untreated it can lead to sores and infections.

3. Compulsive pacing– Pets sometimes pace or circle when getting ready to sleep, but done obsessively, it can indicate anxiety.

4. Litter box issues– Going outside the box could be your cat’s way of telling you it needs cleaning. However, it can also point to a bladder problem.

Behaviors like these can result in stress for the whole household. That’s why we include coverage for behavioral issues with plan Levels 3 and 4. Get a quote to see your plan options.

And, be sure to consult with your veterinarian if your pet has these or any other concerning behaviors.

Tags: , ,

pet parents

Basenji sleeping

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog run or bark while sleeping?

A: Your dog is probably dreaming, just like a person who walks or talks in their sleep. Dogs experience the same stages of sleep as humans, including rapid eye movement (REM), which is the time when we might move around. Older canines spend more than 10% of their time asleep in the REM stage, while puppies are in dreamland for a more considerable amount of time. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

WELCOME,
PET PARENTS!

As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, a 7-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.