It’s healthy to hunt: How to handle your cat’s natural instinct

Hunting is one of the most controversial aspects of cat behaviour. Even the most passionate cat lovers can find it difficult to accept their beloved family pet’s tendency to leave a dead bird or mouse on the doorstep every now and then!

The instinct to stalk prey is still present in most cats, despite the fact they generally receive plenty of food as domestic animals. Of course, cats were originally brought into cohabitation with humans for their fearsome rodent-killing skills. This ability may not be so important to us today, but the predatory habit remains a highly recognisable feature of our feline friends.

Wanting to limit the number of ‘surprises’ your cat brings home from its outdoor adventures is understandable, but trying to curb the desire to hunt too extensively is likely to leave your pet feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your cat stays healthy and happy while keeping its hunting behaviour under control:

Make sure your cat has enough food

 Grey and white cat in the kitchen trying to reach the counter top

Feeding your cat well won’t stop it hunting altogether, but their desire to chase down rodents will undoubtedly grow if they aren’t fed enough. Make sure your kitty has sufficient food at meal times and they may feel less inclined to head outside and see what they can find!

Keep your cat inside at night

Grey and white cat lay on a rug in front of the fire

Cats are largely nocturnal and tend to be more successful hunting at night when there are more potential targets around and they can move with even greater stealth. Many owners don’t like to confine their pets to the house all the time, but keeping them in at night and letting them roam free during the day can keep a lid on their hunting exploits.

Put a bell on your cat’s collar

 

 

Adding a bell to the collar that jingles whenever your cat moves is another way to limit their hunting prowess. The sound should alert birds and other prey if your cat is creeping up on them, although particularly gifted hunters may still find a way to make a catch!

Provide an alternative at playtime

 Kitten playing with FroliCat Pounce

Playing with them is one of the great pleasures of cat ownership. It’s possible to use play sessions to keep your cat stimulated and put its hunting skills into practice, without any poor animals being harmed!

Toys like the FroliCat® CHEESE™ Automatic Cat Teaser are ideal for this kind of play. Two mice pop out of each side of the Swiss cheese block, providing surprises that can keep your cats engaged and on the hunt for long stretches of time. The Play While You Are Away mode also allows spontaneous playtime throughout the day.

Alternatively, the FroliCat® POUNCE™ Rotating Cat Teaser is another popular toy of this type, with the unpredictable movements of the mouse encouraging your cat to watch, chase and pounce.

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Christmas is coming! How to spend quality festive time with your pet

The countdown to Christmas has begun! Which undoubtedly means lots of fun for all the family. However, looking after pets can be a challenge amid all the socialising, present buying and general hustle and bustle of the festive period.

To help you through we’ve put together a few tips on spending quality time with your cat or dog at this time of year.

Here’s how to make sure their Christmas is as enjoyable as yours:

Exercise as normal

hound in Christmas hat relaxing on the sofa

Regular walks provide a great opportunity to relax with your dog and keeping the routine will help them to stay healthy. This means they’re less likely to become unsettled by all the extra activity around the house.

The social calendar can get very hectic at Christmas. But it’s important as a dog owner to try to stick to your pet’s normal exercise schedule as much as possible.

Watch what they eat

Two poodles sitting at the table with plates

Christmas can bring additional temptation for animals with all the exotic and unusual food lying around, but most of it will be harmful to your pet. Remember that chocolate is poisonous to dogs – and they can easily choke on turkey bones.

Even when the party is in full swing, keep an eye on what your pet is eating. Watch out for our upcoming blog about how to make it a pet-friendly Christmas dinner.

Take care with decorations

Ginger cat in Chrstmas hat surrounded by presents

Decking the halls is a great Christmas tradition, but take some time to make sure your decorations are pet-proof.

This is particularly important if you have cats that love to climb and explore the house, but mischievous dogs can easily get tangled up in light cables or create some other festive calamity if you’re not careful.

Secure all your decorations to the walls and keep them out of the way!

Get them a present

Bulldog under Chistmas tree surrounded by presents

We know you wouldn’t forget anyway, but just in case – here’s a reminder not to leave your pet out of the Christmas present fun! Giving your dog or cat a gift is a great way to make them feel involved in the celebrations and keep them happily occupied over the festive period.

If you’re a dog owner, why not choose an Automatic Ball Launcher for your pet to unwrap on Christmas Day? Alternatively, the FroliCat® POUNCE™ Cat Teaser could be an ideal festive treat for your feline friend.

Make sure they have their own space to relax

Two German short-haired puppies cuddling Christmas teddies

This is an important one, especially if you’re planning to entertain a lot of guests over the Christmas period. Large groups and unfamiliar sounds can sometimes unsettle even the most sociable pets, so creating a quiet and comfortable space they can retreat to if necessary is vital.

You can kit this area out with your pet’s bed and some favourite toys for them to play with. It’s nice to seek refuge from the Christmas madness from time to time!

Do you have a story to share on making Christmas a safe and exciting place for your pet? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Space for a furry one at the table this Christmas?

Christmas is a time for sharing! Sharing gifts with your loved ones. Sharing precious time around the table eating turkey. But sharing your food with your pets…? Let’s take a look at your Christmas dinner and whether you should really be plating up for your dog, cat, pup or kitty this festive season.

The main event – Turkey!

Christmas Turkey Dinner on table with the trimmings

After hours of slaving away in a hot kitchen, your turkey is cooked, carved and smelling delicious – but can your furry friends join you in facing the mammoth plate of turkey meat? Well, in a word, yes. But… make sure it’s both skinless and boneless, as bones can become brittle and splinter once they are cooked. Not quite the yummy meal they were hoping for.

Essential accompaniment – Stuffing

Christmas Stuffing in red dish

Stuffing usually contains many herbs and spices (which makes it even more delicious to us), but our pets’ stomachs aren’t used to digesting such flavourings like garlic and onions which can cause stomach upset.

The perfect condiment – Cranberry sauce

Homemade Red Cranberry Sauce

There’s a theory that cats aren’t particularly drawn to sweet food, but if they feel so inclined to have a dip in the cranberry sauce jar they shouldn’t come to any harm. The same for dogs, but make sure to watch their portions.

Good ol’ Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatotes in a bowl

Plain, boiled and mashed potatoes are fine for your dog to enjoy (without any salt or garlic). However, cats are more sensitive and should only be portioned a tiny bit of plain mash potato, as the starch is difficult for their stomach to break down.

The trimmings – Carrots, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon

As long as the veg is cooked and cut into small, bite-size servings, they’re fine for both cats and dogs to eat. As before, make sure there is no seasoning such as butter or salt. Serve it plain and watch it disappear in three seconds flat!

The one and only – Christmas pudding

Christmas Pudding, mince pies and Cookies

We all want to treat our pets at Christmas, but Christmas pudding is definitely off the menu for our four-legged friends. The high fat content and dried fruit combination make it very unsuitable for your pet to consume. Give your pet something they’ll really want at the end of the meal and pay them attention, much better than a sick pet!

And once you’re so full you can hardly move, make sure to clear leftovers before relaxing in front of the fire as your sneaky pet may find a way to reach the counter tops where the leftovers are sat tempting them.

The Christmas period can get quite busy, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your pets, read ‘ Christmas is coming: How to spend quality festive time with your pet‘ for our tips on making time for your furbabies this festive season.

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