Your pet's weird but actually normal behaviours explained

Why do cats follow you to the toilet?
Why do cats follow you to the toilet? Photo: Reddit user lmvo23

It's no secret that pets do some strange things, and if they weren't so cute it would just be weird.

That said, being able to communicate with your pet is something most pet owners have wished for.

To make things a little easier for animal owners out there, (dog and cat only, sorry) here's a list of odd behaviours that are actually quite normal and what they mean.

Cat behaviours

Army rolling when they see you

Don't mistake this for your cat wanting its belly scratched; your hands might be clawed. They do, however, want attention. Take note of what you are doing when the rolling happens. Perhaps you are getting ready for work?

"Cats love routine, so once a pattern is established, the rolling also becomes a comforting kitty ritual, writes Shojai. "Giving her that attention "pays" her for rolling - that's positive reinforcement of the behaviour - so she'll repeat the rolling again the next time she wants more of the same."

Head-butting you, especially at 4am

While head-butting is generally considered aggressive, this is actually your cat's way of showing you affection. Cats have scent glands on their head which they mark you with but also pick up your own scent.

The behaviour is also known as "bunting", this motion is said to release endorphins for the cat and you.


Won't let you pee alone

Earlier this year a Reddit thread received attention after user Epistaxiophobia asked why cats follow people to the bathroom. It turns out, it's quite common. Cat expert Amy Shojai told About Home there are a couple of reasons cats follow their humans to the bathroom. Firstly, for cats who seek cooler spots to sit, the bathroom is ideal. Another reason could be due to your routine.

"For instance, when you awake in the morning and run to brush your teeth (before filling the cat food bowl), it only takes a couple of days for cats to remember the routine and race you to the bathroom first - and then pester you to move on to their bowl," Shojai wrote.

Dog behaviours

Photo: Tumblr

Dragging their bum along the ground

At first glance this might seem funny to a dog owner, but the reality is their anal glands may need emptying.

According to the Kennel Club, anal glands can fill for a number of reasons. "Most commonly when the dog's stools are soft (for example, after a few days of diarrhoea), so insufficient pressure has been exerted to empty the glands."

Your dog "scooting" their bum on the ground may be an attempt to empty their glands. If you are concerned about any redness, swelling or discharge around your dog's anus, see your vet.

Walks in circles before lying down

Habits are hard to kick especially when they date back to prehistoric times.

According to Live Science, dogs have kept their ancestors survival instincts. "This behaviour was hard-wired into the dog's ancestors as a way to build a safe 'nest,'" said Leslie Irvine, author of If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection With Animals.

Cocks head to one side

It's hard to know for sure, but experts believe this behaviour is a reaction to sound and the dog is trying to make sense of what they've heard.

"Some experts believe that dogs tilt their heads when they think there is a possibility that what is being said could lead to something important to the dog - an activity they enjoy," writes Linda Fiorella for Vet Street.

Seeing dogs can understand some words in the human language, the head tilt could be used for concentration when listening to words.