Understanding the natural behaviours of cats
February 21, 2023
Cats don’t just provide companionship; they also have interesting natural behaviours they need to exercise. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five most common natural behaviours of cats and why understanding them is so important.
Cats love to hunt at dusk & dawn
But should you let them?
Cats are natural hunters. Even domesticated cats have an instinct to hunt. This is why they often chase small animals, such as mice, birds, and insects. Cats also love to play with their prey, even if it isn’t something they actually want to eat. This is bad news for wildlife and Conservationists are calling for cats to be put on a curfew.
A cat’s desire to hunt is linked to our second behaviour fact … that cats are crepuscular, which means they are most active during twilight in the early evening and at dawn.
You can encourage your outdoor cat to spend more time indoors by playing with ‘prey-driven’ toys – like a toy on a stick or piece of string – during the early evening, as well as feeding them earlier. If your cat seems stressed and wants to go out though, you should let them out.
According to our veterinary team, whilst they love to hunt & play outside, statistically, indoor cats live a lot longer than outdoor cats. This means it’s worth understanding that if you have an indoor cat, you should provide enrichment that allows them to exhibit their crepuscular hunting behaviour, such as the toys mentioned above.
Is your cat clean, curious & social?
Cats are very clean animals. They spend a lot of time grooming themselves, and they will even clean their owners if you allow it. This is because cats have scent glands that release pheromones that other cats can recognise. By grooming themselves, cats are able to keep their scent in check.
Cats are also very curious. They are always on the lookout for new things to explore and play with. This is why they love boxes and hiding places. They also love to climb and explore high places, such as shelves and windowsills. If you have an indoor cat, do make sure you give them plenty of places to explore around the house.
Finally, most cats are very social. They like to be around people and other cats, and they will often form strong bonds with their owners. Cats also like to communicate with humans through meowing and body language so make sure you find time to play with them every day. Some cats, however, prefer to avoid other cats…
More understanding means happier cats
Cats are amazing pets with unique natural behaviours. Understanding why cats from your local area do what they do is one of the keys to being able to provide the best possible home for your feline friend.
Is your cat a clean, curious & social crepuscular hunter? Or do they exhibit other behaviours that are not on our list? Please do share your cat behaviour experiences with your vet on your next routine visit.