Embracing the Inner Jungle Cat: Why You Need to Exercise Your Cat’s Hunting Instincts

cat enrichment

What does the average day of most indoor cats consist of? Sleeping, eating, fiddling with a toy mouse, scratching up your favorite sofa and then - back to bed.

Seems like quite the lifestyle to us mere humans. Lounging in the sun all day and eating bowl after bowl that magically appears whenever the bipedal can-opener is around. What’s really going on in that fluffy little feline brain though?

Turns out, most of the time — it’s boredom.

cat boredom

Let’s talk about why fluffy not only needs physical but mental stimulation. Then, learn ways you can easily help make their lives more fulfilling.

Embrace Their Wild Side

Our beloved sofa-scratching companions come from a long line of wild cat ancestors who hunt on a daily basis. Even when they’re not hungry, they just do it for fun! So, it’s sort of a no-brainer that your furry master gets bored easily when living a full-time indoor lifestyle. It’s probably one of the reasons they’re scratching up that sofa of yours. Cats have been domesticated to live happily ever after with their owners — yet they still retain that natural hunting and foraging behavior. This underlying behavior is why it’s important for you to provide your cat with mentally stimulating toys.

Similar to the wild cats at the zoo, indoor cats need mental stimulation to fulfill their natural urge to hunt. Boredom seems like a minor issue, but studies have shown that this leads to behavioral issues. In fact, upon speaking to a few veterinarians, our suspicions were confirmed. We found that most clinical behavior problems or emotional disorders in cats stemmed from a lack of mental stimulation in their home environment. Think about it: how would you feel if you were cooped up in a box all day with nothing to do? Exactly, that’s how your cat feels.

fight cat boredom

It’s Really Not That Serious, Right? Wrong!

Now, we know what you’re thinking: well, I don’t want my cat to go outside because I live in a big city. Or, I don’t want my cat to kill live animals. Or perhaps even, I’m worried my cat won’t find his way home and get eaten by coyotes. All of these concerns are completely valid as pet parents. It’s important to protect them by analyzing the outdoor environment where we live. If it’s not safe outside, then it truly is best to keep our domesticated friends indoors.

Regardless, as with any child, our cats need space and activities to do or they may become rebellious. Domestic cats can still “hunt” indoors and adapt to satisfy their needs within a home environment. They just need a little help from their loving humans.

Now, we’re sure you have cat toys for your feline friend but ask yourself this. Are they mentally stimulating enough? A ball isn’t going to satisfy most cats innate desire to hunt because they want to be challenged. And, sure, it’s great that they can watch the birds out the window, but that can just build up frustration due to the inability to actually hunt them!

What Your Cat Really Wants (What They Really, Really Want)

Remember, cats live for the hunt: stalking, chasing and pouncing on prey—just as their ancestors would do in the wild. For example, this is why cats love laser pointers because they’re rapid moving, impossible to catch, and exercise all of their hunting skills. Vets even recommend ending the laser pointer play session on one of the other cat toys in your home.  The benefit being, that your cat gets a reward at the end. Who knows, maybe she’ll even bring you the reward like a proud little feline soldier. Of course, this is her expressing her devotion to you.

Puzzle feeders are another great way to truly embrace your cat’s hunting ability. These interactive toys reward your cat with food at the end. This mimics the process your cat would go through in the wild. It gets them thinking, sniffing, scratching, hunting, and eventually enjoying their “prize” at the end.

Cat Amazing puzzle feeder

Cat Amazing to the Rescue (literally- we have a Shelter & Enrichment Program)

Cat Amazing does just that and has been approved by veterinarians as a great way to embrace your cat’s natural hunting instincts. The average cat will eat out of a bowl where he can eat till his heart's content. Why not challenge them for hours with the various levels our toy has to offer? You can even add toys along with their favorite treats. Here’s an idea—try ending your laser pointer play sessions on the Cat Amazing. Talk about the ultimate day of fun!

There’s an infinite number of possibilities that you, as a cat owner, can provide to your feline friend.  Break her cycle of boredom and embrace her natural instincts. We promise, you’ll be glad you did!