Why is my cat bonkers?
December 28, 2005 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Whenever I breath in and out really rapidly and loudly (just for fun), my cat goes bonkers. She starts rolling around the floor and meowing. Sometimes, if I'm sitting and she's across the room and I do it, she runs up to me and slaps me with her paw and runs away. Why does she do this??
posted by adrober to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
Maybe she thinks you are flehming.
posted by matildaben at 10:12 AM on December 28, 2005

My guess is she thinks you're excited, and want to play. Hence the 'tag'.
posted by Jairus at 10:25 AM on December 28, 2005

because she likes to

sorry, but there are many things that cats do that will forever be a mystery to inferior species such as ourselves
posted by pyramid termite at 10:27 AM on December 28, 2005

I have a friend who's dog will start barking and go crazy when you start to count backwards. Something about the tone of your voice when you do it, apparently... who knows what they pick up on.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:41 AM on December 28, 2005

I had a cat who would get really pissed and start attacking me when I did that, although I was just exhaling quickly, "Heh, Heh, Heh...", like the staccato exhaling portion of Lamaze (childbirth) breathing.

Sorry, no help -- I don't understand it either.
posted by LordSludge at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2005

One of my cats will RUN from wherever she is in the house if anyone sneezes. She then fixes the sneezer (or often, the accused sneezer) with a stern look, and saunters away. I've been thinking about giving her a saddle with a pack of kleenex attached, but the girlfriend thinks that might be cruel. I say it's WHAT SHE WANTS.
posted by weirdoactor at 10:55 AM on December 28, 2005

Cats just react to some sounds. I guess it's simply because for some reason their brains register it as the sound a prey makes and when there is no prey they just get confused a little. Just like they can pinpoint that mouse going through the grass they can pinpoint the sound you make when breathing strangely.
posted by fred_ashmore at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2005

She thinks you are about to get aggressive, or that you are injured.

The next time she's distressed, notice how she's breathing -- rapidly, shallowly. You probably won't hear it, because little cat breaths aren't exactly sonic booms. But if you look at her sides, you'll see rapid movement. Cats breathe this way when they are sick, or when they're about to throw down.

When you breathe this way, it's visible but also very audible, especially if you are trying to be loud. So, she's putting her paw on your face to say, "What's wrong, you hurt?" When it's clear you're not, you get a well-deserved smack in the face, because what you're saying to her is that you're pissed at her, and no cat worth her salt is going to tolerate that kind of business from a mere human.
posted by melissa may at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2005

PS. I do this too, mainly because it's hilarious and worth getting smacked around for.
posted by melissa may at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2005

Now I have something to try when I get home.

Except my cats are not declawed, so I may suffer for it. Hah! (Actually they're quite good with their spiny little mitts... I probably won't get sliced..)

Sorry. to provide something useful and not preachy to the thread: Why does my cat do that?

It doesn't address your question specifically, but my guess is you're triggering some sort of hunting instinct in your cat.
posted by twiggy at 11:43 AM on December 28, 2005

Mine does this as well. Comes up and bites me. This is an otherwise friendly cat.
posted by arh07 at 12:14 PM on December 28, 2005

I don't know the answer. But I've had three cats, and all of them would get agitated by this. So it's not an isolated thing for cats.
posted by teece at 12:51 PM on December 28, 2005

Hm. I'll have to see if this bothers any of the three cats in my house.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2005

Yeah, I'll have to try that with mine. I know I giggle a lot when we play 'chase' and that seems to get them really excited.
posted by mk1gti at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2005

Thank you for asking this question. I tried this, and my cat runs right up to me and sticks his face in mine with the most worried look.
posted by Fat Guy at 2:20 PM on December 28, 2005

The quick loud breathing thing is the only thing that will get my cat to turn his head when he's in "ignore all humans" mode.

He's not spry enough to come smack us though... Generally he looks at us disdainfully for a moment and then goes back to pretending we don't exist.
posted by FortyT-wo at 3:11 PM on December 28, 2005

in case somebody cares: my parents have 2 dogs that bark when you press a certain lightswitch in the house.. it's 1 out of ~25-30 lightswitches

cats are definitely superior to humans (cats and naked mole rats)
posted by suni at 4:50 PM on December 28, 2005

If we sneeze, we hear a little meow coming from wherever she is at the time, even if shes asleep. I tried doing the breathing thing, and she didn't seem to care. Cats are so weird, thats why we love em :)
posted by phox at 5:26 PM on December 28, 2005

Oliver hates it when I do this. I do it by breathing rapidly through my nose. He gets really violent - he'll smack me and occasionally tries to bite me. Abigail runs away. My Mum's cat ignores it.

By the way, this is an AskMe I've been intending to ask for the longest time. Thanks!
posted by deborah at 6:53 PM on December 28, 2005

I just tried this with my cat. He just looked at me in with a very concerned look on his face. Of course, I'm sick right now, so he's been sitting on me for the past 24 hours looking concerned anyway.

That said, when I sneeze or cough, he looks alarmed. Never smacks or bites, though.
posted by bedhead at 8:12 PM on December 28, 2005

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