UNDERSTANDING YOUR CAT

Cats are solitary animals and like to spend some time alone, whether sleeping or prowling. They are also predators who prefer to hunt at night, and this instinct is maintained, even when humans provide them with food on a regular basis. Your pet should be allowed to express her natural cat behavior and instincts. Allow her to spend time alone if she chooses. Provide her with areas of retreat so that in a busy household she can hide away when she needs to. Cats like enclosed areas, such as cardboard boxes or commercially available cat beds, where they can retreat and rest. Don't be surprised at how much time your cat spends resting; her instincts tell her to conserve her energy so she can go out and hunt late at night. Cats also like to sleep high-up and if they are scared they look for the highest spot they can find in order to hide away. If possible, try to provide your cat with a retreat that is located high-up.

Allow your cat to hunt. The "prey" does not have to be a live bird or a mouse your cat will enjoy hunting even when her prey is a cat toy fashioned after a bird or mouse. Fishing rod toys, for example, are excellent for interactive play between you and your cat, and allow her to show off her natural hunting behavior. Let her capture the toy prey occasionally and she'll beam with pride. Play is particularly important for cats and if you humor her hunting skills inside the house, you'll limit the amount of "gifts" that she'll bring you from outside even though those gifts are just methods of cat communication. Cats don't bring you headless birds or mice to scare you or to be difficult; they do it because they are proud of what they have caught and want to show you. If you ignore her or reprimand her, she'll think you're not happy with the catch and bring you something better next time.