Just like their big cat cousins, your feline friend’s behaviour is driven by a wide range of natural instincts. By understanding these, you’ll get a much better idea about why they do the things they do. That way, you won’t fall into the trap of thinking your cat’s being naughty or stubborn … and you’ll realise instead that they are just being cat!
By learning these natural behaviours, you’ll better understand the things your cat is trying to communicate – and so your relationship will flourish. Your cat is communicating with you all the time – you just have to watch and listen!
By nature, your cat is a solitary creature. They like to spend time alone, especially when they're asleep or on the prowl. Your cat also has a powerful instinct to hunt at night – a natural urge that won't be dampened even if you feed them regularly through the day.
It’s important to let your cat express their natural behaviour. If they want to spend time alone, make sure there are places in your home to which they can retreat. Like most cats, they'll probably like enclosed areas such as cardboard boxes or cat beds.
You’ll find more details in our article on cat's hunting instincts
A born hunter
In the wild, all big cats are natural hunters. Your feline companion is just the same, which is why it’s important to encourage their instinctive desire to go hunting. Don’t worry, that doesn’t have to mean birds or mice – a simple cat toy should do the trick! Fishing rod toys, for example, are a great way for you and your cat to play together, while allowing them to show off their natural hunting skills. Let them win every now and then, and your cat will be brimming with pride!
If your cat exercises their hunting abilities inside the home, there’s less chance of them bringing you any prey they might catch outside. However, if you do find a bird or mouse on the doorstep, remember that your cat’s just finishing their hunt in the place thry feel most safe. They're not being naughty, and it isn’t a gift – they're simply demonstrating that there’s no place like home!
A nose for communication
Like their cousins in the wild, your cat communicates using scented messages, which they leave by scratching, spraying urine and rubbing. So when your cat rubs themselves on walls, furniture or doors, what they're actually doing is marking their territory. And if they rub against your legs, they're really paying you a compliment by telling you that you belong to them!
Scratching leaves visual messages, so it helps to keep your cat's claws nice and sharp. Make sure your cat has a specific area in the house where they're allowed – even encouraged – to scratch. To stop them from ruining your furniture, give them a special scratching post.