A Cat's Natural Instincts

Have you ever wondered why your cat does the things they do? While some things are probably down to your cat’s quirky and individual personality, some behaviours are instinctive. Understanding what these instincts are and where they come from can help you better understand your cat.

Night time activities

Cats’ sleep cycles aren’t the same as ours. Cats are crepuscular, which means they are most alert at the times of dawn and dusk. This can be why sometimes your cat might wake from a nap and have a sudden burst of energy in the evening – it’s just their instincts gearing up to hunt, even if they don’t actually have to go out and catch their dinner.

Some cats may spend much of the night outdoors, especially when the weather is warmer. Their eyesight is much better than ours in the dark, and they have their soft fur to keep them warm.

Territory markers

Often a cat will rub their body on furniture, your leg or visitors. This is because a cat is instinctively territorial. They have scent glands in various places all over their bodies, and they are simply marking their territory by putting their scent on their surroundings. In the wild, cats would use their scent to warn other cats to stay clear of their area.

Independent spirit

Have you ever tried to have a cuddle with your cat and got the cold shoulder? This kind of behaviour can make some cat owners feel like their cats don’t need them. This too, is normal. Unlike dogs, cats are independent creatures and, although they like to be social when it suits them, they can easily entertain themselves for hours.

So, if your cat ignores you it’s not because they don’t love you – they just need some quality alone time.

Cat attack

Cats love to hide, stalk and pounce on toys or food – or sometimes on your feet in the morning! This is another instinctive behaviour that we still see in big cats in the wild when they stalk their prey. It might look cute when your cat does it, but stalking and pouncing are important survival skills which your cat puts a lot of effort into perfecting.

All cats are unique and they all have their own special personalities. Some of their instinctive behaviours might seem odd, but to your cat they are important tools to survive in the wild.

Providing your cat with plenty of toys to play with and plenty of spaces to hide and stalk will help them to keep their instinctive skills sharp, and have fun while they do it. 

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