Why Do Cats Stalk Things?

Cats stalk things due to predator instinct.

Your cat is staring intently at something in the distance. He hunkers down, his tail swishing back and forth ever-so-slightly. Then he rises, just a bit, and stalks forward in his crouched position, inching closer to the mouse toy that is bearing his intense scrutiny. You wonder to yourself: why do cats stalk things?

Stalking is Part of Being a Cat

The answer to why cats stalk things is a fairly simple one on the surface: it's just part of being a cat. Fish swim, birds fly, and cats stalk things. They weren't always housecats, after all, and in the wild, cats hunt to survive. Stalking allows them to get closer to their prey before pouncing. This saves them time and much-needed energy, helping them to survive. Here are some interesting things about cat-stalking behavior:

Cats Need to Stalk Even When They Get Their Food from a Bowl

In their well-appointed indoor homes, with food bowls and attentive humans, cats no longer need to hunt for their meals, but they still have a strong urge to stalk and pounce on prey-like objects. If this urge isn't satisfied, cats may become depressed, frustrated, or lethargic. Or they may set their sights—and claws—on human body parts to fulfill their innate desire to stalk. You may find that you're unable to walk through your home without having your ankles attacked by a furious feline ball of fur.

Interactive Play Satisfies a Cat's Desires to Stalk and Pounce

Daily interactive play lets your cat hone his stalking and hunting talents in ways that are acceptable to both of you. Interactive playing that focuses on simulated hunting scenarios may also offer additional advantages, such as:

How to Help Your Cat Practice Stalking and Hunting Techniques

Your cat is predisposed to enjoy play-stalking and hunting, but there are many things that you can do that will improve the quality of the experience for him. Here are some tips to help you and your kitty get the most from daily "play with a purpose" sessions:

Two More Great Benefits of Interactive Play-Stalking and Hunting

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