Why Is My Cat Acting Weird? 10 Vet Reviewed Reasons

From manic midnight zoomies to suddenly hiding away from you, cats do some pretty strange things. You know your cat’s “normal” behavior best, so it can be alarming when they do something that’s not only weird, but also out of the ordinary for their personality. The sudden onset of certain behaviors can certainly be troubling, since they can be signs of illness or anxiety. Here are 10 reasons your cat may be acting weird and what to do about each one.

The 10 Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Acting Weird

“Weird” is a very broad word that can cover a lot of behaviors. That being said, cats can act weird for a variety of reasons. These 10 are some of the most common. However, it’s important to remember that this list is not all-inclusive, so always contact your vet if you’re concerned about your cat’s behavior. Now without further ado, here are some reasons your cat may be acting weird.

1. They Got into Catnip

Did you know that a cat’s responsiveness to catnip is thought to be a genetic trait? An estimated 30–50% of cats don’t feel anything when they play with catnip. After smelling catnip most cats react by rolling, flipping and rubbing. Some cats will also display signs such as enlarged pupils and frantic running. They might become more affectionate or more aggressive depending on their personal experience.

After the initial 10–15-minute surge of emotions, cats tend to mellow out, so usually nothing needs to be done if you’re sure it was catnip they got into. However, if you suspect they got into another plant, or if your cat doesn’t stop acting weird after about 30 minutes, it’s best to go ahead and contact your vet.


 2. They’re Sniffing

If your cat is sitting or standing in a certain spot with their mouth just hanging open for a few seconds, they could just be sniffing. Unlike humans, cats possess a special sensory tool called the vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ in the roof of their mouth. Their Jacobson’s organ allows them to take in more scents than they could with their nose alone. When you see your cat staring ahead with their mouth slightly parted, they’re not crazy. They’re just using their Jacobson’s organ. This behavior should only last a few seconds at a time, so if your cat has their mouth open for longer and appears to be breathing through their mouth, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible as it may be a signs of breathing difficulties.


3. Stress

Cats get anxious—a lot—because change stresses them out. More serious life transitions, such as moving to a new home or adopting another pet, can make them feel especially shaken. Too much stress too often can take a toll on their overall health. It’s important to spend extra time with your cat during these seasons of life to encourage them to feel stable, loved, and wanted.


4. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) or Other Illness

FLUTD is a general term for a range of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra of cats. These can range from stress induced cystitis, to an emergency blocked urethra. If your cat is having trouble urinating or has suddenly started urinating outside of their litter box, take them to the vet to figure out what’s wrong. The solution could be as simple as reducing the stress levels in the house and giving them prescribed medication, but more involved lifestyle changes might be necessary if your cat has a serious condition.

Other illnesses can also cause your cat to act weird, but signs of other illnesses can vary depending on the illness. Cats can hide illnesses really well, but if your cat seems to be in pain or distress, is acting more lethargic than usual, is vomiting or has diarrhea, or just seems off in any way, contact your vet for advice.


5. They’re in Heat

If you have an unaltered female cat over 4 months old, congratulations: you probably have a heat monster on your hands. They may not breathe fire, but a cat in heat may start acting weird. Signs of a cat going into heat include loud yowling, spraying pee, extending their tail upwards in a suggestive pose, and rubbing their body against you and the furniture. This phase lasts for about 2 weeks in female cats, and then repeats a few weeks later during the mating season unless pregnancy occurs. Males don’t have reproductive cycles, so they may display these behaviors 24/7, year-round. If you suspect this is why your cat is acting weird, contact your vet about spay or neuter surgery.


 6. Overstimulation

An overly excited cat may literally bounce off the walls. A vigorous cat fight, a huff of catnip, or an exquisite new cardboard box from your Amazon order can easily put them over the edge. Unless your cat is putting themselves into danger or is injured, it’s best to let them calm down on their own.


7. Seizure

Cats may shake their head on occasion, but if they’re having a seizure, they will usually shake and twitch involuntarily and this can involve the whole body. They may also drool and lose bowel and bladder control. Before and after seizures cats also have a period of time when their behavior is different, they can hide away or seek out attention and may be lethargic and not themselves. Call your vet immediately if you believe your cat is having a seizure. In the meantime, set your cat on the ground if they’re not already so they don’t injure themselves by accidentally falling, and it can help your vet if you take a video of the episode.


8. Fleas

If your cat is voluntarily shaking and scratching more than usual, these tiny parasites might be to blame. These small creatures can wreak a lot of havoc, passing on tapeworms to your cat and even causing anemia due to the loss of blood in severe cases. If you suspect or know your cat has fleas, then you should contact your vet to ask about the best flea treatment for your cat. A single female flea can lay up to 40–50 eggs a day, so it’s important to get on top of the problem as soon as possible and prevent recurrent infestations.


9. Ear Mites

A cat that has ear mites will frequently scratch or shake their head. Your cat’s ears should normally be clean and dry, so seeing tiny dark specks that look like coffee grounds or excessive wax can be a sign of ear mites. It’s a fairly common problem especially in kittens, but you’ll want to take your cat to the vet to get their ears cleaned and for vet-prescribed drops to kill the mites.


10. Ear Infection

Ear infections with no underlying cause are rare in cats. Usually, allergies or a prolonged case of ear mites are the root reasons for ear infections, regardless of whether they’re fungal or bacterial. Most cat ear infections start in the outer ear canal, but it’s important to take your cat to the vet for treatment before the infection has a chance to spread into the middle or inner ear where hearing damage can happen.

Conclusion

Cats are quirky, and some cat behaviors aren’t anything serious and will resolve on their own. They’re just a bonus of cat ownership! But sudden strange behaviors can be a cause for concern for caring pet parents. Always feel free to call your vet if you’re worried about your cat due to weird or unusual behaviors, especially if they’ve stopped eating, drinking, or are having trouble urinating.


What To Do If Your Dog Or Cat Is Stung By A Bee

<img class="dpsp-post-pinterest-image-hidden-inner dpsp-post-pinterest-image-hidden-single" src="data:;base64, Exploring new places with your pets often includes spending time outdoors. And being out in...

A Comprehensive Guide to Dog Breeds

Dogs have been our loyal companions for centuries, and their diverse breeds bring joy and excitement to countless households...

Most Calm Dog Breeds: 10 Pups with Chill Vibes

If you’re considering adopting a new dog, energy level is probably one of the biggest factors to think about....

Best Crash-Tested Dog Harnesses For The Car

When choosing from the crash-tested dog harnesses available, your primary concern is probably keeping your pup safe in the...

Create Fun DIY Toys for Your Pets

Welcome to our guide on creating fun DIY toys for your beloved pets! As passionate pet owners and seasoned...

Why Does My Cat Like Plastic Bags So Much? 5 Reasons & Safety Tips

Cat owners love to watch their kitties play with the toys they buy them. It’s fun to watch...

Why Is My Cat’s Third Eyelid Showing? 5 Vet Reviewed Reasons & Advice

Cats do not see the world in the same way that humans do. Their eye anatomy is different, and their eyes glow due to...

Why Does My Cat Like Plastic Bags So Much? 5 Reasons & Safety Tips

Cat owners love to watch their kitties play with the toys they buy them. It’s fun to watch them bat at objects and...

How To Be A Considerate House Guest With Pets

<img class="dpsp-post-pinterest-image-hidden-inner dpsp-post-pinterest-image-hidden-single" src="data:;base64, Do you have a friends-and-family road trip coming up? Are you worried that your pup or cat’s lack of manners...

Cat vs. Dog: Which Pet is Best for Me?

Adopting a pet can bring joy, friendship, and unconditional love into your life, and even improve your mental health and well-being. But if you’ve...

Why Do Cats Have Black Lips? How This Trait Evolved

Cats are fascinating animals, not only because of their silly antics but also how close they are to their wild counterparts. Domestication has...

Top Friendly Cats: Pawsitively Adorable Breeds That Form Purrfect Bonds

Hey there, fellow feline enthusiasts! 🐾 Are you ready to dive into a whisker-licking good time as we explore the world of our favorite...

What Is a Rescue Dog? And Why They Are The Best Pets

Are you thinking about getting a dog? Maybe a rescue dog? What exactly is a rescue dog anyway? While it may seem like a...

Ready for Cuteness Overload? Meet the 15 Cutest Dog Breeds Ever

Here’s the truth about cute dogs: Every dog is cute in their own way. But we’ll admit that some breeds are more traditionally cute...

How to Cat Proof Your House: Preparing Your Home for Cat Adoption

Ever heard that age-old saying about curiosity and the cat? Well, it couldn’t be more true. Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures, always on the...