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How to Satisfy Your Cat’s Natural Instincts

Love them or hate them, cats have a reputation for being finicky, peculiar and sometimes downright mystifying. What’s up with knocking items off of tables? Why the obsession with the kitchen counter? Why pee in the plant when there’s a perfectly good litter box five feet away?  

Strange or “bad” cat behavior can be attributed to what they really are — animals in a confined space. Let’s face it: Cats are the most adept hunters of the animal kingdom, insanely curious and like their environment pristine. And for some cats, living in a house or apartment just doesn’t cut it. Luckily though, you can satisfy your cat’s natural instincts by making a few simple adjustments to your home and your routine. The result will be a happier cat and a happier you!

Your Cat’s Natural Instinct Is to Hunt

Have you ever been walking around your home minding your own business when your cat pops out of nowhere on two legs and attacks your feet? Though sometimes terrifying and painful for you, this is your cat satisfying their natural instincts to hunt. Cats are called king of the jungle for a reason — because they’re excellent at stalking and killing prey. It’s practically what they were born to do.

A few simple toys coupled with active daily playtime will satisfy your cat’s urge to hunt. A laser pointer, a feather toy or even a piece of yarn will keep your cat’s body and mind active and engaged. Try to play with your cat for a least 30 minutes a day. They’ll look forward to this time with you and it’s a great way for the two of you to bond. Don’t expect them to be in the mood for it all the time, though. You know. Because cats.

Your Cat’s Natural Instinct Is to Have Things Pristine

Five minutes. 15 minutes. 45 minutes… this is how long a cat can take to bathe themselves. Cats do this for a number of reasons — to feel safe from predators, self-soothe, rid themselves of parasites — and much more. They also have certain ideas about their litter box. Like it shouldn’t have poop or pee in it, especially another cat’s!

Bottom line, cats like things clean. If your cat is going outside of the litter box, it could be because it’s not clean enough. (It could also be a sign their health is compromised) So buckle up and resign yourself to cleaning it at least once a day. Have more than one cat? You might need multiple boxes.

Your Cat’s Natural Instinct Is to Be Left Alone

Contrary to popular belief, cats are social animals. But they are solitary hunters, unlike dogs who hunt in packs. So, while they do appreciate love and attention, they generally like it on their own terms.

If you’ve ever tried to love up on a cat who was eating, grooming, hunting or engaged in other catlike activity, you probably learned the hard way that they weren’t into it. Let them come to you for affection, let them hide when they want to be alone and generally let them be until they give you a clue otherwise. They do run the house, after all.

Your Cat’s Natural Instinct Is to Get High

Not off of catnip though. If you’ve ever come home to find your cat sitting on top of the refrigerator, this is your cat’s natural instinct to be able to survey their surroundings. So, instead of getting annoyed when your cat is sitting on the counter, try to understand that this is how they feel safe. A cat tree or a stylish mounted perch will allow your cat to escape what’s going on down below, feed their stalky instincts and allow them to feel like they have a space of their own to chill out.

Feeding your cat’s natural instincts will make your cat happier and healthier and will help curb some of the behavior that you may find annoying. Will they still occasionally pounce on your face while you sleep? Sure. They’re cats. And that thing about knocking items off of surfaces? Cats do that because they like to toy with their prey. It also gets your attention. Oh, and it’s fun for them. So just indulge and love them for the aloof playful weirdos they are.

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