8. Hunters: domestic cat
Domestic cats need to have the opportunity to exhibit hunting behaviour
Owners often wonder why their cat wakes them up at 4am, but domestic cats, like their descendants, are still crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk). Because hunting is not hunger driven, domestic cats are still highly motivated to hunt and have a need to perform successful ‘kills’ to avoid frustration and release endorphins.
They are drawn to movement, so interactive play with toys that mimic their prey helps cats to exhibit this natural behaviour and may reduce the desire to seek out such behaviour elsewhere. Some cats have different preferences when it comes to play styles, so experiment with interactive play in the air verses toy dashing across the floor.
Cats that hunt will often bring prey back to the safety of the core territory e.g. the house. This is similar to how African wildcats behave.
Did you know that only around one in four hunting trips are successful?
The domestic cat’s digestive system is suited to eating small meals frequently, mirroring the hunting activities of the African wildcat. Dry food provided in feeding balls or scattered around the house provides cats with the opportunity to spend more of their day seeking out their meal.
Kittens should be allowed free access to food from kittenhood. If not given this opportunity when young they may not learn to self-regulate their intake later in life.
Video (no sound): Cats are drawn to movement, so interactive play with toys that mimic their prey helps cats to exhibit this natural behaviour.
Domestic cats still have the natural instinct to exhibit hunting behaviour.Original image URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackhynes/271394321/ Image author - Jack Hynes , licence - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Cats need to perform successful 'kills' to avoid frustration.Image author - Bredhurst Adoption Centre , licence - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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