Odd Cat Behavior At Night

by Sue



I have a cat behavior question about my cat Bella, who I obtained through a rescue shelter. We think she is between 1 and 2 years old.

At night she likes to jump on me and lay either on my stomach or my side depending on which is available. She then likes to be near my mouth and smells my breath. When she tires of being on my she always gets off and lays with her butt right in my face and her tail up! She is spayed so I don't really understand this behavior. She does it several times a night.

She also like to play bite. I know that she was found outside during the winter and it was evident that she had had kittens, but they were nowhere to be found.

Reply from Liz (Editor): I think she likes to lay near you for a couple of reasons - probably in part for warmth (you know how addicted to heat many cats are!) and for reassurance - she loves you and is happy to sleep near you.

I imagine she likes to feel your breath on her as reassurance too. This may be, in part, because she was a stray at one point - I've sometimes found cats that were strays at one time are often really grateful to have a home, and can be very affectionate to their owners as a result.

Sticking her butt in your face may seem a bit anti-social (!) but in the cat behavior world it's an accepted and social thing to do to another cat - they have scent glands in that area that give off a unique smell. When a cat sticks its butt in another's face, it's identifying itself to the other cat, and it's actually a sign of friendship and acceptance. So this odd behavior is her way of saying she likes you and accepts you as a fellow feline!

Play biting is something that some cats like to do. I'd recommend discouraging this, or it's possible to end up with a nasty bite. This page gives advice on how to do this:

How to Discourage Angry Cat Behavior During Play

Thank you for your question and for the lovely photo of Bella - I love her sitting position!

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