Guide to cats: The Inquisitive Cat

2nd November 2017

A curious cat


By their very nature, cats like to explore, hide in nooks and crannies or tap things to see if there is some reaction so like the favourite saying, ‘look before you leap’ this natural curiosity is not without risk hence the well-known proverb ‘curiosity killed the cat’.

Kittens and young cats are exceedingly curious and inquisitive. They will be into everything and sometimes into difficulty; stuck up a tree perhaps or trapped inside a space it got into easily enough but cannot get out of. This curiosity is understandable though because the young cat has a very short space of time, maybe six months or so, to discover all it needs to know for life as an adult cat. It must learn to hunt, become familiar with its surroundings and possibly to defend itself.

A curious cat up a tree

Have you noticed your cats’ curiosity when the fridge or larder door is opened, even if it cannot possibly be hungry having just eaten? Studies have shown that the survival urge to hunt and search for food is stronger than the hunger itself. Cats will continue to hunt for food even after their hunger is fully satisfied.

Cat’s natural curiosity is essential as it is always on the lookout for food. We can mimic this activity when playing ‘cat and mouse’ with pieces of string or a toy on the end of a rod and string. The cat is hyper-sensitive to the smallest movement of the string or toy, just as it would be with real pray it had caught and stunned and will test its responsiveness with a tap of the paw.

Next time: Humans and cats 

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