Cat parents are all too familiar with the sometimes-startling experience of cat hunting or pouncing. They will find a dead bird, mouse, or other small creature around your house. Or they will slowly creep towards the object of desire and pounce. Frequently, it’s pretty funny to observe, but why? Cats hunt or pounce as an instinctive behavior and may do it just for the fun of being playful. Let’s dive into the cats’ world to find out the truth.
Reasons for cats’ hunting or pouncing at home
- It’s in their nature.
All cats, wild and domestic, belong to the animal group known as felines. They are natural hunters, having descended from cats in the wild who would hunt for their prey by pouncing. So when they hunt and pounce indoors, it’s because it is in their nature to do so.
- They want to play.
Another possible reason why cats pounce is that they just want to play. A typical scenario is when your pouncing cat would hide from you under a piece of furniture and instantly jump on you. Apart from this, they may also tap you with their paws or lightly bite you.
- It may be due to agitation or anxiety.
A cat may also exhibit pouncing behaviors when they are agitated or anxious. More often than not, it is likely to be triggered by the environment they’re in. For example, if there is a sudden loud noise such as vacuum cleaners, a cat might feel stressed and use pouncing as an outlet for their agitation.
Strategies for addressing hunting and pouncing
- Choose the right toys: Opt for toys that mimic prey, such as mice or birds. These items are perfect for hunting and pouncing play. Avoid string-type toys that can be dangerous if ingested.
- Set up an obstacle course: Create an obstacle course using household items, such as boxes or cushions. This will encourage your cat to jump and climb, enhancing their playtime.
- Incorporate treats: Use treats to encourage your cat to play and explore. Try hiding treats in different areas of the room to enhance their hunting experience.
- Play with your cat: Take an active role in your cat’s playtime. Use a fishing rod toy to mimic prey and encourage your cat to pounce and hunt.
- End playtime with a cool-down: After playtime, end with a cool-down activity, such as grooming or cuddles. This will help transition your cat back to a calm state.