Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Why does my cat...? Common cat questions answered

Owning a cat can certainly be a learning curve as you work out what they are trying to tell you with their various meows, purrs and quirky behaviours.

When they can’t tell you exactly what they’re thinking, it’s a challenge to translate their subtle, and not-so-subtle, signs into something you can understand.

long-haired tabby cat lying on the floor

The trick is to look at things from your cat’s point of view, but to do that you need to know how they think and why they do the things they do.

To answer some of the most common questions from worried cat owners, we’ve produced some handy video guides on cat behaviours starring our lovely cartoon cat Beryl.

Why does my cat keep hiding? 

Hiding is a natural behaviour for cats as it helps them to feel safe, especially if they’re in a stressful situation.

Sudden noises, unfamiliar people or even the presence of other cats can all make your cat want to find a safe place to hide away so it’s important to give them the opportunity to do so.

To find out what to do if your cat is hiding more than usual, watch our video guide. It’s important to remember that if your cat is hiding for long periods of time, it’s best to speak to your vet to rule out any medical problems.

Why does my cat scratch the furniture? 

When your cat starts digging their claws into your sofa or carpet, it is understandably very frustrating. However, getting angry and punishing the cat will only make the problem worse.

The best thing to do is to give your cat another outlet for their natural scratching behaviour, such as a scratch post.

For more tips on preventing your cat from damaging your furniture, watch our video.

Why does my cat wake me up at night?

Many cat owners will be familiar with their cats waking them up in the early hours of the morning, whether it’s a paw in the face, an urgent meow or knocking something off the side.

Quite often we will indulge their cry for attention by getting up to feed them, but this will only encourage them to do it more.

If you would like a lie in, watch our video to discover some tricks for switching off your cat alarm clock.

Why does my cat toilet outside the litter tray?

It’s never nice to have to clean up after your cat when they’ve made a mess on the floor, but the reason behind their little accident could be quite simple.

For example, it may be that their current toilet isn’t suitable for them, so take a look at our video below to find out how to create the perfect cat loo.

Why does my cat attack me? 

Playing with your cat is a great way to bond with them, but sometimes the play can be painful when they choose to pounce on your hands and feet.

To keep your fingers and toes safe, there are some simple things you can do, including a clever distraction technique and feeding games. Watch our video to find out more.

For more help and advice for dealing with your cat’s problem behaviours, visit the Cats Protection website


  1. My kitten is nearly six months old i have let her go in the garden but i am not sure how long i should stay in the garden with her i try and get her in after a hour i know she has got to go out eventually on her own but i am scared she won't come back i love her so much . i havehad cats before and they are older now and they come back

    1. We recommend letting cats out for the first few times on their own not long before a meal, this is so that they are hungry and are more likely to come back to the house for their meal. What you can do is wean yourself from being with her, by slowly reducing down the time you are with her and going back to sit in the house, perhaps by a window so that you can still keep an eye on her if needs be.

      Cats are very territorial animals and their core territory is very important to them. The core territory is where their key resources, like food and water, will be. This is usually either a set room in the house or the whole house depending on your setup. Provided there are no issues here then your kitten is likely to return home to where she feels safe. Cats will generally stray for one of two reasons;

      1. There is something wrong with their home environment which means they do not see it as their core territory, we see this sometimes in very busy households with shy cats.
      2. They are being reinforced for roaming, ie they may be being fed by a neighbour and as such it is rewarding to roam.

      We hope this helps!