Cat Behaviour - What is normal?

by Gem
(UK)

hello!

I recently re homed a 5 year old cat. She was being very badly bullied by the other cats in her old household. In addition she before that she had previously been owned by someone did not take care of her properly. This resulted in her losing lots of weight due to mass parasite infection.

She has settled into my home well (I think!) she is spoiled with lots of toys and fun things to do/play with.
I work in the day, but she has toys which are designed for 'lone' play.
In addition I play with her for at least half an hour every day(if not more!). She is very affectionate and will happily sleep next to me on the bed.
She has been checked by the vet and she is now healthy and well.

However there are some behavioural things which I am not sure are normal (or more accurately, I don't understand!)

1. When I am stroking her she will sometimes 'clean me' this is often quite vigorous and she seems to really enjoy doing it.

Answer by KAte
My cat does this too and is a sign of affection, mutual cleaning is a bonding exercise.

2. Sometimes it seems like she is 'digging' through the mattress, or the sofa. What does this behaviour mean?

Answer by Kate
Not sure, sometimes this is a throw back to the kneading of their mothers tummy for milk, others it is just their imagination working over time and they are digging to get at some imaginary object, again my cat does this from time to time.

3.Sometimes when she is in a playful mood and I stroke her she will 'attack me'. She will grab my arm or hand and then start biting it. She often kicks with her back legs too. This doesn't hurt much (apart from when she kicks as she has her claws out!)and she never bites me hard enough to pierce the skin.
Is she doing this because she wants to play with me, like she would with another cat? or is it that she dislikes me? or she is bored and feels frustrated? (i love her very much and really hope its not this!)

Answer by Kate
No this is play but play which needs to be discoraged as she could get carried away and bite too hard. when she does this just quickly and quietly place her on the floor and look away. this is a negative response to this behavior and she will eventually learn not to do it. when she doesn't do it, lost of praise and fuss. only toys should be used in play not hands or feet.

Thank you for such a great informative website!

comment from Kate

Sounds to me like this cat has finally fallen on her feet and has a very idyllic home with you. :)

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