Cats gonna cat
June 20, 2016 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Most mornings, when I get out of bed, my 2-year-old cat jumps into the just-vacated spot and digs furiously into the sheet. Then he usually runs around the house at full speed. What's going on here?

I know the answer is probably just "cats are weird," but does this have some kind of significance? The cat (Max) does not do this when my husband gets up. Max is very attached to both of us, and he's done this since he was a kitten (we've had him since 8 weeks). It's not a problem, just mysterious.

Cat tax paid
posted by mchorn to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He's looking to see if you've left any part of your soul in bed. Then he chases it around the room until it floats out the window.

(really tho: I think it's just joyful exuberance at you being up and awake! What a hilarious ritual to wake up to!)
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:23 AM on June 20, 2016 [38 favorites]

The answer is indeed, that cats are weird. The digging might be because the movement of the sheets triggered his prey hunter instincts, or he really enjoys the warmth/scents.

The running around the house at full speed thing is firmly "normal cat behavior" They do this. It always seems to happen when they're highly stimulated (which the digging probably triggers) and, for reasons I don't understand, are frequently first thing in the morning.
posted by INFJ at 7:24 AM on June 20, 2016

Cats have scent glands in their paw pads. He might like marking the spot that was yours because you belong to him then he runs around because well... cat.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:28 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

My husband knew a cat who, in a very narrow room, was known to run around the room, parkouring up the couch and across the ceiling and down the other side. Only the sheets thing is a mystery at all.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:36 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I do this! It's because my human (I only have one tho) is my favoritest human and I know we're going to have some great conversation and ear-scritching (I rub her legs) before she goes off for nap-time. I don't know where she naps all day? But she clearly does so I spend all my favoritest energy getting her scent and spreading it around the house before that. That way she also knows her home will be ready when she gets back for dinner time.

Sometimes she goes away for really long naps and I get worried because it's like, did she lose the scent? So the daily part when it's nice and strong in the morning is important.
posted by Susu pitchounette at 7:39 AM on June 20, 2016 [28 favorites]

when my cat acts like this it's related to scents. i would go so far to say that my husband is 'his person' but he goes nuts for the way i smell and his nut-i-tude seems related to where i am in my cycle. after he comes up from all the digging does he have that open mouthed weird cat face? if so, it's all about the smells. as for the running of the cats, that's just energy/excitement/cat stuff. our dude does it most often right after pooping but sometimes the spirit just takes him.
posted by nadawi at 8:56 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think because cat; an endearing ritual wherein the cat masks her usual condescension to favor her human with an affectionate gesture.

Our Snyps* has a similar ritual. When she sees me stirring of a morning, she hops up onto the foot of the bed, waits for me to leave, then heads directly to the lower edge of my pillow and begins to knead the area with her front paws. But then she doesn't run around the house (that would be unseemly for a matron of her standing in our little catpack). Instead, she curls up on the warm spot and closes her eyes. I think she naps, but with her it's hard to tell. She has a don't bother me squint that I can't distinguish from an actual catnap.

So, warm spot + my human's scent = catnappy sweet dreams.

The sprinting you describe is a familiar ritual. Our catpack practices it several times a week. They have established a well-defined track, starting from my office, across the living room and into the master bedroom; from there they take a lap around the bed, then back to the office. All this at a flat out, belly dragging, butt-sliding run, their tails corkscrewing wildly on the turns. I believe they particularly enjoy the dogleg turn at the bedroom door, where they negotiate a power slide on the hardwood floor.

They seem to be chasing one another, but the order of march often gets turned around when they come charging out of the bedroom. Now and then they take opposite tracks around the bed, and meet in the corner with much fussing and thumping, making those cat sounds that I think mean oops. Sometimes they decide to make an acrobatic leap in the middle of the living room--they may be jumping over the cateater (invisible to humans) that haunts our house. I'm guessing. Certainly they have a rational explanation for these antics, even if they don't care to share it.

This is usually a pre-supper ritual, when the fab four have gathered to wait for the small treat mrs. mule gives them in the evening.

*Spay Neuter Your Pet; we named her after the organization that helped subsidize the neutering and spaying of the local herd of feral cats. Snyps was the first to be captured. She decided to live with us rather than face the world awaiting the other feral cats.
posted by mule98J at 9:22 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Smell theories are most consistent with cat; he's really, really into my smell in particular (sweaty armpits, shoes I've worn all day). He's just as excited when my husband gets up--cat runs to him as soon as there's any noise, but to rub against his legs, not dig furiously into his spot in the bed. Thanks all!
posted by mchorn at 4:13 PM on June 20, 2016

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