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How to Better Understand Your Cat

To understand cats, we must first understand how they behave in their natural environment. Even if your cat lives indoors, its behaviors result from their survival value in the wild. In their natural environment, cats hunt for food, hide from predators (often by climbing), and defend their home territories. Indoors, these behaviors may look hostile (biting and scratching) or spiteful (climbing and marking), and we may not like them.

The keys to enjoying cats in our lives are to:

1. provide acceptable outlets for their natural behaviors, and 

2. reduce their exposure to threats.

We will describe natural behaviors of cats, and how the indoor environment can be modified to permit cats to engage in them in appropriate ways. Cats, unlike dogs and other domestic animals, are not a pack or herd species, which explains a lot about their behavior. Pack species that are predators are mostly group hunters of large prey, whereas the prey species, cattle and horses for example, developed groups for self-protection. In contrast cats are solitary hunters of small prey. This strategy resulted in important differences in cat behavior, which has been carefully studied. We can use our understanding of cat behavior to improve the environment of the indoor cats that share our lives.

Learn more about their natural sleeping, hiding, eating, grooming, hunting and socializing instincts.