We do not always understand the behavior of our pets. Indeed, our cats and dogs sometimes act in a way that is incomprehensible to us. However, by looking back a little bit, many years before they were domesticated, we can find some likely answers to explain their actions. Dogs are domesticated wolves, so the social behaviors of the wolf pack explain a lot of what they do. Cats, on the other hand, were solitary hunters, with a variety of adaptations that they have not yet lost. However, some of the reasons behind these behaviors are quite surprising, such as why cats purr and what it means when dogs wag their tails… So here is a list of things your beloved pet does during the day and what each of them means.
1. Taking refuge in a box
It is no secret that cats love cardboard boxes. From small indoor cats to large cats, they love spending their free time in boxes. They like to sit in boxes, even if they are often too small for them. It seems that, at least for domestic cats, boxes reduce their stress by providing them with a safe enclosed space. Also, cats like places where they can observe others without being seen. They like to hide from predators and prey, what the boxes allow them to do or at least that’s the impression they have.
In humans, yawning can sometimes be perceived as boredom or fatigue. However, for dogs, it is quite different. Your dog’s yawning is not necessarily a sign of fatigue but is often a sign of peaceful behavior. They do it to show you friendship and peace, to you or another dog. And they probably interpret your yawn in the same way.
Although yawning may have served a more physiological purpose, in the beginning, it has evolved into a form of communication. As with many dog behaviors, it has evolved as an integral part of their social pack behavior. Hierarchy and domination are very important in a pack, so communication is important.
3. Your pet brings you a gift
If you have ever wondered why your pet brings you “little gifts”, know that it is simply to show you all the happiness and affection it feels for you. Of course, it’s not fun to find an injured bird or rodent in your home, but your cat doesn’t understand your repulsion. This one came out and caught this animal just for you.
4. Your dog makes your eyes soft
If your dog makes you beautiful soft eyes, it’s because he wants you to understand that he loves you more than anything in the world! It is a sign of great trust and adoration towards you. There is no sign of malice in this adorable behavior!
5. Your pet is resting on you
If your dog tends to sit with all his weight on you, he hopes to receive more love from you. Stop for a moment what you’re doing to cuddle him!
6. It follows you wherever you go
When they are small, dogs tend to do everything with their mothers and siblings. In other words, if your dog follows you everywhere, it is because he considers you as his family and wants to do everything he can with you. The prospect of separating from you, even for 5 minutes, is unthinkable for him.
7. He sleeps in your bed
Does your dog like to sneak into your bed when you’re not there? If this seems extremely unpleasant to you, know that it is a beautiful proof of love. Indeed, your dog considers that sleeping in your bed while you are away is the best way to stay close to you.
8. He feels your emotions
When you are not well, your dog tries to comfort you and show you that he loves you. Don’t refuse this love and hug her! Let’s bet you’ll probably feel better after a while stuck against your pet.
9. He licks your face and feet
A dog licking his master’s feet is a sign of submission, which means that he sees you as the leader of the pack or his family. When a dog licks your face, whether you like it or not, it’s because he loves you! In fact, by doing so, your pet shows you that it considers you a friend by removing any aggressive or controlling behavior.
10. He is seeking your consent
You may have noticed that sometimes when you talk to your dog, he tilts his head to the side. That’s very sweet, but why is he doing that? Well, little research has been done on this subject, so scientists do not have a clear answer, but they have some plausible hypotheses.
There are two possible reasons for the head tilting. Dogs may lean their heads to better see your facial expression, as it can be difficult to see around a long snout. Maybe they do it to hear you better by adjusting their drooping ears. In any case, your dog believes that your opinion is important. Studies have even shown that a dog may prefer a dose of love from you rather than a treat.
11. Your dog loves it when you come home
Every time you leave home, your dog feels afraid that he will never see you again. So, when you return, he can only rejoice to see you return, relieved not to have been abandoned. His excitement is his way of showing you that he is happy to see you.
12. He stays with you after a meal
When you feed your dog, he often falls on the defensive for fear that someone will steal his meal. If he stays close to you after eating, it’s a sign that he has a lot of confidence in you and that you are his favorite person to stay with after being forcibly fed!
13. Taking the snout
When two dogs hang out together and one seems to bite the snout of the other, it may be a little shocking to the owners, but it’s not something to worry about. It is just a social behavior that dogs inherited from their ancestors the wolves. Dogs affirm their social relations in this way.
The snout is usually taken between dogs who know each other well, but unsafe dogs may also ask a human to do so. If your puppy approaches you while showing you his snout, you can gently grab him and reassure him that you will take care of him. He’ll be happy to hear about it.
14. For the love of catnip
Cats are known to love catnip. They rub their bodies everywhere and some even lick them. This behavior is a response to a chemical compound, called nepetalactone, that catnip produces. For plants, nepetalactone keeps insects away, but for cats, it does something very different.
Scientists believe that nepetalactone is similar to feline pheromones, which are chemicals that animals use to communicate. The nepetalactone molecule enters the cat’s nose and then binds to the same receptor to which a pheromone would bind, which effectively tells the cat’s brain that there are tons of pheromones around.
15. Catnip in the brain
The researchers studied the effects of catnip on the cat’s brain and found that it, through the nepetalactone molecule, stimulates three areas of the cat’s brain. It affects the olfactory bulb, which treats odors, the tonsil, which is linked to emotions and decisions, and the hypothalamus, which is involved in several things, including the sexual response.
Stimulating the hypothalamus can be the reason cats roll, which cats do when they are in heat. This may also be the reason why kittens do not normally react to catnip until they reach sexual maturity. But not all adult cats get wild around catnip, because the reaction is genetic.
16. Why do dogs pant?
You’re probably used to your puppy panting with his mouth open and his tongue out, but do you know why he does that? Dogs pant to cool themselves because the evaporation of their saliva eliminates heat. Humans sweat to do this, but dogs only have sweat glands on their legs, which prevents them from getting rid of a lot of heat in this way.
When breathing quickly and hard, the dog evaporates more water. Leaving the tongue hanging also increases the amount of saliva that evaporates and cools the blood flowing through the tongue. All mammals pant under certain conditions, such as when it is really hot or because of excessive effort.
17. Your pet is shaking
Have you ever taken an unwanted shower when your wet dog was shaking intensely? This behavior has evolved for a very important reason: to keep the dog warm. Fur must be dry to keep an animal warm, as it cannot retain air when wet. Since an animal can suffer from hypothermia when wet in cold weather, it is crucial to dry quickly.
18. Your cat is clawing on the couch
Not only is scratching good for their claws and to mark their territory, but it also helps cats stretch their back and shoulder muscles. So maybe your cat is avoiding your little scratching post because it can’t stretch well enough.
And if your cat doesn’t have enough reasons to scratch your furniture, it seems that scratching is also a stress relief and emotional release. Your cat can do this when she is anxious, excited or frustrated. Whatever the reason your cat scratches, to keep it away from furniture and carpet, you should give it a large scraper.
19. Your dog chases you into the bathroom
Dogs don’t seem to want to give you privacy. They tend to follow their owners into the bathroom, which can be a little uncomfortable, to say the least. Of course, it’s nice to have a bathroom buddy when you’re in the woods at night, but in your own home, it’s useless. Despite this, dogs have their pack mentality and they don’t see intimacy the same way you do.
The wolf’s ancestry is to blame for this behavior. Since you are part of your dog’s pack, he is only showing his loyalty. Or maybe it’s just very curious to know what you do when you close the door.
20. Rolling on the grass
When dogs go outside, they like to roll in the grass. Why do they insist on doing so? It may be another residual behavior of their ancestors the wolves. The wolves will roll in an interesting scent to put it on their bodies and then bring the scent home.
The pack then sniffs the perfume and can even follow it back to its origin. Maybe your dog finds an interesting smell and brings it to you because you are his family. Or maybe he’s rolling in the grass for a whole other reason. There are other possible explanations.
21. Your cat’s appetite for grass
When you leave your cat outside, he gets a little sun and starts nibbling on grass. And then he probably vomits up the grass he just ate. Cats can’t digest plants (although they can get a vitamin from them), so why did they bother to eat it in the first place?
Cats are likely to eat grass to release other indigestible materials into their digestive tract: the bones, fur, and feathers of their prey. Your cat may not eat live animals now, but it is quite difficult to get rid of behavior that natural selection has been working on for millions of years.