Q: Dear Nora,
My cat, Fiona, has lived inside for her entire life. She has never had to hunt for her food. Still, she stalks and “hunts” at any opportunity. Why does she do this if she knows I’ll dependably feed her twice a day?
A: Unlike many other domesticated animals, cats still maintain very strong instincts from their wildcat ancestors. Some behaviorists say domestic cats still have three paws in the jungle. That means that even though your domestic cat is thankful for the food, love, and indoor safety, her instincts will drive her to stalk and pounce even if she’s not particularly hungry.
The instinct to hunt is a key component to your cat’s health since it keeps her body and mind active. If you don’t already, encourage her inner-hunter by adding a wand toy or laser pointer to playtime!