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Pets Q&A: Why does cat prefer sitting on hard objects rather than soft ones?

Joan Morris, The Mercury News on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

DEAR JOAN — Why do you think a cat would move from lying on a nice comfortable bed to lie on a knitting loom or some other lumpy item that I put on the bed? They all seem to do that.

Linda, Antioch, California

DEAR LINDA: Oh, I do so love trying to unravel the mystery that is the cat.

There are a few reasons for your cat's choice of knobby objects, and the explanation could be any or all of them. Or none of them.


The first reason is that our cats love us. They love us so much that they are drawn to objects that we've touched because a strong scent of us lingers.

Even if we don't think that we have a particularly strong aroma, a cat's sense of smell is vastly greater than ours, and they can detect our scent on anything we've touched.

A second reason is that our cats hate us. Not really, but they are territorial and believe that everything in that territory belongs to them. To prove it, they have to put their own scent on it.

A third reason is jealousy. You've been paying way too much attention to that knitting loom or computer or book or spouse. To make sure you refocus your attention back where it rightfully belongs — on them — they will put themselves between you and the object that has been distracting you.


Another reason is that cats like small, warm spaces. That's why you'll often find them in boxes, whether they fit or not, and other cozy spots. It's not so much about physical comfort but in feeling safe. When they are in a box or other contained space, they can easily survey the area, and they aren't likely to be surprised by a sneak attack.

It's possible your cat sees the knitting loom and decides it is boxlike enough to be a good lounging place. That's the theory about why cats will sit on a piece of paper. They see the defined space and aren't too concerned about whether it has sides or not. It is a small, defined space.

And lastly, cats can be intrigued by textures, sometimes preferring the satin duvet, sometimes curling up on the wool shirt we just laid out to wear. Your cat might find the lumpy texture of the knitting loom quite appealing.

DEAR JOAN: Why are some hummingbirds territorial? My neighbor across the street gets lots of hummingbirds and yet I have one that will not let any others come near it. Even if I put two feeders out there, he or she protects both of them and chases others away.

A few years ago when I was standing in my garden, a hummingbird landed on my head and sat there for a few minutes. I felt totally blessed!

Jean, Lake Elsinore, California

DEAR JEAN: Some hummingbirds guard feeders for the same reason some humans bought up all the toilet paper at the start of the pandemic — they fear it will be in short supply.

To reduce the aggression, you can put out lots more feeders in the same area so that the bird, perhaps, will realize there is plenty for all — or will tire itself out trying to protect them all. You also can locate feeders away from each other so that the bully hummer doesn't see the other birds feeding.

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