Skipping acts in cats: what is it?

Cats are real experts when it comes to skipping. They suddenly start cleaning themselves or suddenly make seemingly unsubstantiated chattering noises. But what are acts of skipping and what triggers them? Just switch off and calm down, this cat thinks and licks itself as part of a harmless skipping act - Shutterstock / Rapeepan Chamnong

We humans, too, "use" skipping actions on a daily basis - they are gestures and activities that we do unconsciously when we find ourselves in a stressful situation or are between two stimuli or equally motivated actions. There are many forms of how a skipping act can express itself.

For example, we touch our heads to do something or suddenly look at our smartphones to hide uncertainty. The main goal of the action is self-calming - through the subconsciously created distraction, we take the stress or decision situation to a certain extent. Cats do this too.

This is how skipping acts are expressed in cats

Have you ever watched your velvet paw sitting at the window, chattering oddly or making strange "quack-quack" sounds? This happens, for example, when a bird is in sight but not within reach - your cat thinks: "Man, I want to hunt it" - but cannot get out of the apartment at the same time. What follows is a skip action in the form of chattering to calm yourself and cool the situation.

Even in very harmless game situations, cats always tend to show skipping actions. In one moment the funny stuffed mouse is played and in the other moment your kitty suddenly cleans itself extensively, even though her cat fur is sparkling clean. This does not mean that your fur nose has a cleaning problem - it simply has excess energy in it that it just cannot let out. By cleaning, she breaks it down, "de-stresses" itself, so to speak.

Typical forms of skipping in cats:

If you observe the following, apparently senseless, activities in your cat, it is probably a skipping act:

  • Cleaning / Licking: Suddenly cleaning the fur is a common skip action in cats and occurs, for example, when the kitty does not understand something. Usually, people lick eagerly over the chest or side flank to cool down the situation.
  • chatter: You can see the chatter when your cat is between two charms - she wants to do something, but she can't. In order to calm down, the chattering sounds are made unconsciously.
  • sniff at: Sniffing objects is also one of the typical skipping actions of cats. While we humans may scratch our heads in stressful situations, the velvet paws simply go on a sniff tour - often the owner is looked over his nose.
  • Nibble / sucking: Nibbling and sucking on or on objects is also typical and is usually shown when the animals are in stressful situations. To reduce stress, you simply chew or suck for a short time - on wool, furniture, towels, the owner's hair, etc.
  • Chasing tail: Like dogs, some cats react by chasing their tails.

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From skipping to OCD?

Skipping acts in cats, like dogs or us humans, are quite normal and absolutely not worrying. However, if you notice that your cat is often caught up in seemingly illogical motivated actions, caution is advised. She may be suffering from chronic stress.

While occasional self-calming is not bad in stressful or tricky situations and is part of normal cat behavior, repetitive, conspicuous behavior can be a symptom of OCD. Read more in the guide "Obsessive Compulsive Disorders in Cats: How Do They Express Themselves?".