The Journey to the Food Bowl: Exploration
Photo provided by Friskies Explorer TiggerSmith.
When you put your cat’s food bowl on the floor and she comes running for dinner you may not realize all that happens as a part of her journey to her meal. Many environmental factors contribute to the path she takes to get there. Let’s take a look at one part of the journey.
Exploration.The hunter in your cat is always searching for something exciting. For an indoor cat who isn’t on the lookout for real mice the way outdoor cats would be, playtime opportunities where she can “capture” her toys are very rewarding. If you engage your cat in a couple of interactive play sessions a day, it helps the release of the “feel-good” brain chemicals. Studies have shown that cats enjoy the stimulating activity of searching for potential prey. For an indoor cat, that “prey” can be the toy target on the end of the fishing pole toy or even a fuzzy fake mouse peeking out from behind the leg of a chair.
After enjoying herself as the Mighty Hunter, your cat’s next logical step is to enjoy her food reward. If you feed your cat on a schedule (as opposed to free-feeding), conduct little play sessions before meals. It’s a natural progression when it comes to cat behavior.
If you free-feed, do your play sessions with kitty and then make a big production out of refilling the bowl. Before you refill or top off the food, provide an opportunity for exploration and stimulation.
Do you play with your cat before meals?
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