Cats are known for their intense instincts. Somehow they seem far less removed from their wild cat ancestors. Their prey drive is fierce, independence is typically high, and in many cases tend to become more active at night. Some even appear to look down their noses at you, like royalty. Their regality projects the feeling that nothing fazes them, that they are the top of the food chain in this territory, and thus will not be intimidated into doing anything they don’t want to do. They are insanely smart, and often outsmart their owners into thinking they cannot be trained due to their independence and royal mentality. They are fascinating creatures, but do not be fooled, they can be trained, can fall victim to boredom, and can be easily scared.
If this is the type of cat in your home, we do have some tips for you to help keep your cats instincts sharp, keep him/her mentally stimulated, and to keep them from becoming the other type of cat we’ve all heard of. The so called scared-y cat.
Top Tip #1: Simulate hunting in play
Cats need to have aerobic exercise, just like dogs do. They obviously don’t need as much as dogs, but about fifteen minutes twice a day will do the trick.The best way to do this is by using their favorite toy to simulate hunting. A feather on a line used as a lure is one of the best ways to get your cat to run, jump, and climb just as cats would do in the wild to catch their prey. This type of behavior not only keeps them mentally stimulated, but also gets them the exercise they need. This also helps to prevent and sometimes eliminate behavioral problems such as house-soiling.
Top Tip #2: Let your cat be up high
Many wild cats spend their time up in trees, where they can actively look for prey, while also feel safe from predation themselves. Most domestic cats enjoy this feeling as well. If your cat is particularly fearful, sometimes giving the the ability to climb to a high perch in the room (via cat trees, shelves, other tall furniture), will alleviate stress. Cats like to look down on the world around them remember, so allow them to. Also giving cats a place to look out of a window helps mentally stimulate them as well by watching birds, squirrels and other critters outside.
Top Tip #3: Train your cat!
Clicker training is not just for dogs. Cats are actually known for making the connection between the click (or bridge) and their favorite treat much faster than most canines. Not only does this also increase mental stimulation, but it also increases the bond between you and your cat. He/she will begin to see you as his/her partner in crime. You can teach them to do all sorts of tricks, from sit and down to jumping through hoops. And come on, it is one cool party trick to show your friends that your cat is better trained than their dog. So get yourself a clicker, and start unlocking your cats intelligence, improving behavior and cat-esteem.