Why are cats so curious?

Whether shopping bags, new toys or an empty box - our fur noses love to carefully sniff out and explore unknown objects. But why are cats so curious? In fact, it is a natural instinct that resides in the house tigers and ensures their survival in the wild. "Nanu? What's that?" Wondered this curious cat. Does she mean the camera? - Shutterstock /

Cats are not the only creatures that are curious and benefit from their urge to research. Curiosity also determines part of their natural behavior in other animals and humans. Those who are curious discover new sources of resources, learn new things and become smarter over time.

This can be observed especially in children: as babies they try to understand everything literally, they put everything possible in their mouths to examine it. Later they pester their parents with questions and want to know everything: "Why is that?", "What is it?" or "What are you doing?" - With these and other questions, children try to understand their environment better.

Exploration behavior: Why cats are curious

Cats also want to better understand their environment so that they can orient themselves more easily and safely. They are always looking for potential feed sources and safe retreats. Fear and curiosity are in constant interplay. While fear leads to avoidance behavior, curiosity manifests itself in so-called exploration behavior or exploration behavior. A curious cat very carefully approaches an unknown object or strange terrain. She is always on guard, alert and ready to escape if a danger suddenly arises or if the strange object turns out to be potentially dangerous.

If cats are in "exploration mode", they are highly concentrated, all the senses are wide awake. Slowly, she sneaks up to the object under examination step by step and sniffs it out extensively. Perhaps she is cautiously padding around, eyeing the object attentively or nudging it with her paw. If nothing happens that scares them, curiosity prevails and the cat becomes braver. She dares to get closer, maybe she dares to nibble on the object or use the unknown area for a break. Should you ever observe your cat during such exploratory behavior, do not disturb her in any way. Otherwise she could get a fright and show less curiosity in the future, but be more fearful.

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How to encourage your cat's curiosity

As long as it does not degenerate into dangerous high spirits and recklessness, curiosity is a very positive quality that needs to be encouraged. When playing with your cat, you can challenge your curious instinct and thus train your intelligence - with fun and ease. Address all of your cat's senses: the sense of smell, hearing, sight, touch, taste and thinking.

Surprise your cat from time to time with a new toy - you can also easily make cat toys yourself. With valerian or catnip, the toys smell seductively for your velvet paw. Game fishing, which you can move back and forth at different speeds, is exciting for the cat's eyes and also stimulates their hunting instinct. Anything rustling and crackling could be potential prey - your kitty will certainly be curious when she hears a ball of paper roll over the floor.

A fiddling board appeals to several senses of your fur nose: it sniffs out the treats that are hidden in it, has to look up where they are and then come up with a solution strategy to get to them. Then she has to prove dexterity by pawing the treats out of the fiddle board. Switch back and forth between the toys so it doesn't get boring.

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