Hunting Play

Cats have a strong instinct for predatory behavior that consists of searching for, capturing, and killing prey. ​Failing to  provide adequate hunting-style play, can result in behavioral disorders like obesity, over-grooming, or misdirected aggressive behavior.


Allow the cat to stalk and capture and then reward the cat with a treat.

Allow the cat to express as many aspects of the predatory sequence as possible by providing play and feeding activities. Feeding devices and practices that require the cat to actively acquire food are especially effective.


The following suggestions may be helpful in providing hunting-type play for your cat:

  • Hide food in multiple locations that your cats are known to frequent

  • Scatter or toss kibble for cats to chase

  • Puzzle feeders encourage work and problem solving similar to foraging in the wild

  • Move a rod or wand with a fur or feather toy on the end in a way that mimics flying prey swooping through the air. Let the cat catch the toy on the end of the rod or wand to simulate a capture

  • In multi-cat households, owners should play with individual cats at separate times and locations.

  • Avoid purchasing toys with small, ingestible parts and bells, or remove these components prior to play. Never allow free access or unsupervised play.

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