PurringTo cat lovers, nothing is more satisfying than a deep and resounding purr emanating from their cat as they scratch behind their ears or rub their belly. Cats may purr for a variety of reasons, but this behavior almost always indicates utter contentment on the part of a feline. Purring may also have beneficial powers, such as pain relief and the promotion of healing in injured animals. But the most important role for purring is probably between a mother and her kittens. Newborn cats are able to purr within the first few days of life, and this behavior may help mothers bond with and keep track of her litter.
The Sideways HopThis particular cat quirk can be alarming upon first sight, so try to remain calm if you notice it in your cat. Called the "sideways hop," it's a special favorite of the young and playful. It usually begins with a fluffed-up tail and all four legs stretched taut. Then, the cat will arch its back, turn its body sideways, and bounce toward you or whoever may be the "target." Keep in mind that the sideways hop is rarely an aggressive maneuver, but you are expected to play along. According to feline etiquette, the best response is to get down on all fours and perform a similar hop in return.
Water SnobberyIn addition to food, most cat guardians graciously provide a bowl of fresh water each day for their cats. However, this is a futile effort. The water bowl is almost always the last choice of liquid libation for felines. For reasons not well understood, cats will pursue all other aqueous options, including toilet water and algae-filled plant run-off, before drinking the fluid in their water bowls. Some attribute this tendency to a preference for running water, citing the ubiquitous pre-drink paw-swirl behavior as an example of cats' desire for beverages that move. But this explanation seems unlikely considering cats' top choice for thirst quenching: whatever water happens to be in their guardian's glass.
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