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Those who live with a cat never get bored: among sudden "ambushes", escapes, hiding places, games and climbing, our feline friends still retain many of the behaviors that have allowed them to survive in the wild for millions of years. That's why in our eyes, some of these habits seem so bizarre: for cats, our home is a jungle to explore, full of prey and imaginary enemies.

Inspired by a TED video, we selected the apparently strangest cat gestures, which we report along with their scientific explanation.

Why do they climb to the highest places in the house? In nature, the strong equilibrist qualities and ad hoc sculpted muscles have always allowed the cats to reach advantageous positions and explore the surroundings from above, in search of prey. And even if today they certainly don't need to go up on the tents, to see where we put the biscuits, they are still instinctively programmed to dominate the house with a single glance. The physics of cats

Why do they attack every little object that comes into play? In freedom, cats are opportunistic predators and feed on whatever prey is available. In general they recover small meals, and to stay full, they hunt and eat several times a day, in reduced doses. This is why they "stick" on balls, stoppers, small toys, and prefer to eat several times, but with small portions. Why are cats so selective about food?

Why are they peeking and venturing into strange places? In natural environments, prey naturally tends to hide in inaccessible places. The instinct that drives home cats to venture into the nooks or ends up into empty shopping bags is a legacy of curiosity that ensured their survival throughout their evolutionary history (and which filled their stomachs).

Why are nails done on the couch? It's not like you hate your sofa, new carpet or newly fitted curtains. They simply do what they have always done in nature: smooth the claws to be ready to use them to hunt, climb or defend themselves. For their wild ancestors, having sharp nails was a matter of survival. And yesterday as today, this activity also has the advantage of relaxing the leg muscles, and relieving some stress. Do you know what your cat says? Find out with a test

Why do they fall asleep in the strangest places? Because in those places they feel safe. In nature, cats have not only hunted. They have also been the object of the unwelcome aims of other predators. Falling asleep in places that are difficult to reach, or unpredictable, is a form of defense when they are most vulnerable.

Why are they so careful about cleaning? For the same reason, they particularly appreciate that their litter box is clean and free of unpleasant odors. It is not (only) a question of hygiene: the smell of urine would easily attract a nearby predator, revealing their position. There is therefore an important survival instinct behind the apparent tendency to be picky. 10 scientific reasons to live with a cat

Why do they purr? One of their best known behaviors is also the one with the most mysterious reasons. Cats produce the characteristic "rumbling" when they are hungry or stressed, when they are happy or when they need to attract our attention. But for some studies, the particular frequency to which purrs are emitted (between 25 and 150 hertz) would also have a tissue regenerative function, and could serve to repair damaged bones or muscles.

Why do they love boxes? At least for three reasons: the first, more obvious, is the instinctive need to hide from predators. The second is the anti-stress function of empty cardboard envelopes: it has been shown that cats with a box available are better suited to new environments, because they have a place to escape when they perceive hostility. The third has to do with temperature. Cardboard is a perfect insulator, and cats need temperatures around 10 degrees higher than ours (between 30 and 36 ° C).

Why do they rub the jaw on the hands of those who caress them? They do it to mark the human with their own smell: the cat presses against the hands, or against the legs, the upper part of the head, then one side of the mouth and finally rubs the whole side, twisting the tail slightly. He often repeats the operation several times, before moving away, sitting down and starting to lick his hips. Cats in fact have odoriferous glands, also used to mark the territory, especially on the temples, along the jaw, at the base of the tail, on the pads of the legs. For this, after rubbing himself he sits and licks himself. It is "tasting".

Why do they need to eat grass? In reality, house cats, properly fed to their needs, do not need grass. Those who live free, on the other hand, ingest grass especially to vomit the non-digestible parts of what they have eaten, for example feathers and bird feathers or mouse hair. The herb, usually belonging to the grass family, therefore serves to free the stomach of useless residues, inducing vomiting. Even domestic cats can still find irresistible, as a form of play or nibbling, catnip, or catnip (Nepeta cataria), perhaps because it contains nepetalactone, a terpene, which is considered to be a surrogate for feline sex pheromones.

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Inspired by a TED video, we selected the apparently strangest cat gestures, which we report along with their scientific explanation.