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Post No.: 0376hunt

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Let’s talk about cats and why we love to hunt!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

We’ve hopefully now debunked the existence of linear dominance hierarchies in dogs in Post No.: 0360, so sure thing Fluffs. You should obviously take the lead on this one.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Okay. Dogs are omnivores but cats are what are called obligate carnivores. This means that cats must eat meat in order to get all of the essential amino acids they need to survive. Free-living cats will hunt ~30 times a day, with about a third of these attempts being successful.

 

This means that we tend to want to eat small but frequent meals. Some cats will overeat during mealtimes though, possibly due to stress and competition for food resources with other cats in the same household.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Like for dogs, some cat foods are quite calorie-dense too so you might want to make them work for their food, such as by putting pieces of kibble around the house for them to find or by using interactive food puzzle toys.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

That’s a good idea. Cats will still tend to hunt even if well fed at home though – in fact, many hunting expeditions occur just after a meal, perhaps because a cat is still hungry, wants more variety in her/his diet or they’re just opportunistic meals.

 

Well, put simply, cats naturally love to hunt! But the drives to hunt and kill are controlled separately so if a cat isn’t that hungry then she/he might play with her/his prey rather than just kill it or kill it immediately.

 

Sorry. It’s just down to our nature.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

That explains why you’re out every dawn and dusk.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

I personally have extremely strong urges to hunt but I’ve never felt the need to kill what I catch so far – at least anything I catch that’s furry, fluffy or feathery – because I feel fed enough when at home. You know I pre-fur to go non-lethal on my stealth missions and side quests anyway.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

You leave your poor prey dazed and confused about what happened after they’re set free again. I often recognise the same individuals getting caught several nights in a row!

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Some never learn. Especially Mrs and Mr Waddle from Number 22. Sitting ducks. Literally!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

The number of hunts shows us that cats like to be highly active. Although cats don’t need to be walked like dogs and can cope better when left alone for long periods, cats need short but frequent play sessions – between 5-30 minutes long each, depending on the individual cat – to keep them mentally and physically stimulated and to reduce the chances of them developing behavioural problems. The style of play will emulate predatory behaviours like chasing and stunning prey, and using inanimate objects and toys that resemble the sizes and textures of prey species can simulate this.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Even so, we cats can get bored with toys quickly because they don’t quite give us the same feedback as live prey. So rotate the toys frequently and/or end a session with a small food reward to simulate a capture and reduce frustrations. These toys don’t need to be expensive – we cats and dogs don’t care about brands or price tags! Just make sure they’re suitable and safe for us. Even cardboard boxes are great fun!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

You’ve got your own favourite box!

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Yep. Although far less than for dogs, human attention is important for us too. But some cats want more human attention than others so attention should be given on the individual cat’s terms. Also, solicitation by a cat doesn’t always mean that they want food – they might just want to play or be stroked.

 

Cats can be trained via conditioning too, just like dogs and other animals that can learn – so clicker training can also work with cats after a cat has been conditioned to associate the sound of the clicker with a food reward. (Clickers are used because the clicks are absolutely consistent, unlike human voices from one moment to another sometimes.) Actions that already resemble part of the cat specie’s natural repertoire are easier to train, such as a task that involves a paw swipe or swat rather than a task that requires us to try to move an object with our tails. This principle is again generally true for other animals too.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

The incentive and thus motivation matters too but, unlike dogs, cats are less bothered about receiving praise than food rewards, toys or play. Different individual cats or dogs may prefer different things too – for example, some like to be stroked on the chest and some don’t, and some prefer different food treats – so you’ll need to experiment to find these out.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Play is learning, and playing games with a human improves the human-cat bond too. Cats may be quite independent animals but many still enjoy regular contact with their owners, for stroking or for simply napping on, and so should have regular opportunities to access their owner if desired.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Some may think that training a cat is impossible or unnecessary, but owners do need to have control of their pets otherwise they’d run amok and be a danger to themselves and others. Like with children, pets do need to learn the rules for appropriate behaviour. They need to be habituated to the human world they’re being asked to live in, and this human world has rules, such as not drinking from the toilet or pooing on the carpets. So like socialisation – ongoing training is important too.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Our next shared post will focus on training; probably training dogs in particular. If an animal is intelligent enough and can learn then it’ll broadly learn on the basis of ‘if doing something is rewarding then it’ll be repeated more, and if doing something is punishing then it’ll be repeated less’.

 

Now intelligence is a hypothetical construct and it depends on what we count as intelligent behaviour? Humans tend to count ‘obedience to humans’ as the measure of the intelligence of another animal species, such as cats or dogs. But perhaps it would be considered smarter for us animals to not behave like such willing subordinates to humans or be so easily manipulable by the temptation of some mere food(?!)

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Well are humans always smarter if they obey authority or respond well to manipulated extrinsic incentives like money or rewarding feelings like after hearing a ‘ping’ from receiving a new text message, or when taking recreational drugs?

 

…Anyway, we cats and dogs often use humans for our own ends too, such as to get some treats, or a toy from under the sofa, just by putting on an irresistibly cute stare.

 

Suckers!

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Thanks for wiping our crusty butt nuggets too. xD

 

Meow!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Mutts and moggies aren’t human babies but it’s overall better to care too much than too little.

 

See you next time. Woof! (Puppy eyes)

 

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