They’re cute, they’re lovable, and judging by the 26 billion views on over 2 million YouTube videos of them, one thing is certain: cats are very entertaining. But their strange feline behaviors, both amusing and baffling, leave many of us asking: Why do cats do that? Tony Buffington explains the science behind some of your cat’s strangest behaviors.








  • feline – belonging or relating to the cat family
  • baffling – impossible to understand
  • to pounce – to suddenly jump toward and seize something with or as if with claws
  • to bounce – to move up and down
  • to cram – to completely fill (e.g. a container) to the point of overflowing
  • to purr – (of a cat) to make a continuous quiet low sound because it is happy
  • predator – an animal that kills and eats other animals
  • carnivores – meat eaters
  • prey  – an animal hunted for food
  • perplexing – confusing
  • vantage – a position giving a strategic advantage, commanding perspective, a good view
  • to stalk – to follow an animal as closely as possible without being seen/heard, usually in order to catch or kill them
  • propensity – the fact that someone is likely to behave in a particular (especially  bad) way
  • claw – a sharp curved nail on an animal
  • to rip to shreds – to cause a lot of damage to something
  • ancestor – a member of your family who lived a long time ago
  • to thrive – to grow or develop well
  • tissue – in animals and plants, tissue consists of cells that are similar to each other in appearance and that fulfil the same function
  • stealthy – doing things quietly or secretly
  • to outsmart – to gain an advantage over someone using tricks or your intelligence


  • Are you a cat lover? Do you own one?
  • Do you find cats` behavior baffling at times?
  • Did you have to adapt your house in some way in order to have a cat?
  • Does your cat destroy things in your house? What`s been the biggest damage? How did you react?
  • Do you believe that cats` purring has some healing abilities?
  • How would you comment such a hilarious caption?: “Cat owner? Nah. Owned by a cat.”


Practice Makes Perfect

Below there is an extract from the video you`ve just watched. Fill in the gaps with the words from Glossary. Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI8NsYIyQ2A  to check your answers.

These somewhat strange (1) ……. behaviors, both amusing and (2) ……, leave many of us asking, “Why do cats do that?” Throughout time, cats were simultaneously solitary (3) …….. of smaller animals and (4) …… for larger (5) …… . As both predator and prey, survival of their species depended on crucial instinctual behaviors which we still observe in wild and domestic cats today. While the feline actions of your house cat might seem (6) …….., in the wild, these same behaviors naturally bred into cats for millions of years, would make your pet a super cat. Enabled by their keen balancing abilities, cats climb high (7) …….. points to survey their territory and spot prey in the wild. Cats are opportunistic and hunt whenever prey is available. Since most cat prey are small, cats in the wild needed to eat many times each day, and use a (8)……, (9) ……, kill, eat strategy to stay fed. Also, small prey tend to hide in tiny spaces in their natural environments, so that`s one explanation for cats` (10) ……. to reach into containers and openings.

(…) Your cat is (11)  …….. chairs, sofas, pillows to (11) ……   to keep her claws in tip-top shape because this is exactly what her ancestors did to survive.

ANSWERS: 1. feline; 2. baffling; 3. predators; 4. prey; 5. carnivores; 6. perplexing; 7. vantage; 8. stalk; 9. pounce; 10. propensity; 11. ripping (to) shreds

Answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever ripped anything  (e.g .a letter) to shreds? What? Why?
  • How does it feel when you manage to outsmart  your opponent in a game?
  • Do you know a lot about your ancestors? Have you ever generated a family tree?
  • Have you ever felt perplexed hearing  an unconventional job description?
  • Have you ever been baffled by somebody`s strange behavior?

Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!

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