Most cat owners know what their cats like and dislike after years of living with them. But not all cats are the same, and they tend to have different personalities. Every cat owner, at some point, has had one question in their mind: “what is a cat’s favorite thing to do?”
Most of the things that cats like to do are rooted in their nature. Cats like hunting, eating, sleeping, sunbathing, playing, and interacting with others. Cats need to do the things they like to be happy and healthy.
It’s okay if you still have questions and you’re thinking: “what do cats like?”. New cat owners can have a ton of different questions like:
- “How do cats play?”
- “What do they like to eat?”
- “What do cats need to feel happy?”
While we can’t speak for every cat in the world, there are some activities that cats are naturally more inclined to prefer. Let’s explore the top 9 things cats like to do:
1. Interact with humans
It’s a known fact that cats are more vocal and affective around their owners. But does this mean they prefer spending time with their owners over other things? Well, as amazing as it sounds, cats prefer human interaction over things like food and toys.
According to a 2017 study, most cats prefer social interaction with humans over food and toys. While it’s true that cats aren’t as domesticated as dogs, the study found a natural bond between cats and their owners. So while they might not whip their tails in excitement, they enjoy spending time with you.
Some people can find this contradictory because they think cats are indifferent creatures that would sell their humans for three pennies. But cats love spending time with you; they just show their love in different ways.
It’s important to point out that the study focused both on domestic cats and shelter cats. So even shelter cats have a preference for humans. Still, some street cats aren’t fascinated by the idea of being surrounded by other humans. And even indoor cats would prefer the company of their favorite human, not just any kind of human.
Still, we can’t ignore that when cats feel comfortable around someone, they love to sleep next to them, cuddle around them, lick them, blink at them, purr, and some may even show their belly! Just remember to stop if your cat shows signs of being uncomfortable, and you’ll be okay. So next time you pet your cat, remember how much your cat loves it.
Of course that eating food is on the list of things that cats like to do. Many cat owners have anecdotes telling how they don’t even need an alarm clock because their cat wakes them up early in the morning to get their morning meal.
Living with a cat means being responsible and giving them food when they need it. But how much food do cats need, and what do they need to eat?
How much food do cats need?
As time goes by, more scientists focus on studying cats’ behaviors and how to take care of them correctly. Now we know that they’re nothing like dogs! While dogs have adapted their internal clock to eat alongside humans, cats still retain some wild traits.
According to extensive research from International Cat Care, cats benefit when they eat small portions throughout the day instead of one or two big meals.
Ideally, cats would need to eat about five small portions per day of protein-rich meals to fight obesity, promote physical activity, enhance their relationship with their owner, improve their mental state, and decrease stress.
What do cats like to eat?
Cats are carnivore predators, so unlike dogs, they need more protein-based meals. Cats benefit more from small doses of protein-rich food rather than substantial doses of other elements, like carbohydrates. That’s why most cat food has lots of protein. However, cats can also eat non-protein ingredients to enhance their health and their digestive system.
If your cat doesn’t seem to enjoy their meal, maybe it’s time to change diet to something more nutritious. Never change a cat’s diet drastically! Doing so can affect their stomach. If you’re thinking of changing a cat’s diet, do it gradually.
Who doesn’t love sleeping? Cats love it! You’ll find them sleeping in the weirdest places and at all times. But why do they sleep so much?
Cats sleep anywhere from 15 to 18 hours every day! Of course, they don’t sleep in one big burst, but rather small naps spread throughout the day. Most of that sleep happens during daylight because they’re naturally night hunters.
People tend to think that cats are lazy because they sleep a lot. The truth is that it’s just their evolutionary mechanism to survive in the wild. They’re crepuscular creatures who chase and hunt night prey. After all, small mammals and small birds are typically quick, so cats need to rest to outsmart them.
People tend to think cats are lazy because they compare their sleep patterns to ours! But in reality, this is just how they function.
One thing to point out: try not to wake up cats when they sleep. The temptation to go over your cat and pet it or hug it can be huge because they look super cute when they sleep. But this can stress them, especially if they give you the trust to sleep next to you. It’s crucial not to break a cat’s trust so that your cat feels comfortable around you!
4. Go hunting
Cats are some of nature’s most avid hunters. They’re small, they’re agile, and they’re great at doing ambushes. Since cats still contain parts of their wild past, they’ll hunt prey even if they’re bored or if they’re not hungry; it’s a survival mechanism.
But cats don’t just hunt to eat; they also hunt to provide food and teach their kittens. Everyone knows about cats bringing “gifts” for their owners, such as dead rats, dead birds, or any unfortunate dead animal. Cats do this to feed their kittens and teach them survival techniques. It’s one way for cats to say: “I care for you, feed yourself.”
Should I let my cat hunt freely?
Fortunately for cats, this natural hunting ability has given them a crucial advantage. Unfortunately for other species, cats are also an enormous threat.
One study estimates that domestic cats kill 1.3-4.0 billion birds and 6.3-22.3 billion mammals annually in the United States. Cats without owners are responsible for most of these deaths, but owners who let their cats wander around the neighborhood also contribute to this phenomenon. So letting your cat run around freely is doing more harm than good.
So yeah, cats are so good at hunting they’re affecting ecosystems and hunting native species everywhere, not just in the United States. It’s not a great idea to let your cat go out and hunt for several reasons:
- Cats can kill native species.
- Cats can get lost.
- If they find aggressive cats, they can get harmed.
- Fertile cats can increase their population.
How can I stop my cat from hunting?
While hunting can be terrible for native species, cats do this out of instinct. They can’t help to do it, but you could find ways to redirect that energy.
According to a study, 5 to 10 daily minutes of play and hunting stimulation mixed with a protein-rich diet can reduce your cat’s hunting needs. These measures should be enough to prevent them from wanting to hunt in the first place. Another way to prevent your cat from hunting is to lock them inside the house, but some owners find this too aggressive.
If there’s one thing that every cat loves is playtime! Kittens are widely popular for loving playtime and toys, but adult cats also enjoy getting their paws up for a toy.
Scientists believe that cats like to play because it stimulates their hunting skills. That could explain why it’s pretty normal to see mothers playing with their kittens; they’re teaching them to hunt.
Playing also serves as a way for cats to socialize. Playing is vital for a cat’s social development. Yes, cats are incredibly social creatures who have social structures. Especially street cats that have to share the environment with a high number of cats. Cats play with each other to establish social bonds, which is why kittens that don’t have a playmate can be socially awkward among other cats.
Most animal shelters recommend adopting more than one cat so that they can fulfill social needs. There are some things that toys can’t accomplish.
Do cats like toys?
Yes, cats love playing with toys! Playing with your cat will help them reduce stress and help them feel less bored.
Cats prefer toys that mimic prey. Toys that look like mice and birds are ideal for cats. Another thing to point out is that they prefer moving toys because it makes them think it’s prey. And they also get bored quickly, so remember to switch things up now and then.
The most relevant aspect of playtime is spending time with your cat and bonding. If your cat doesn’t have other cats to play with and spends too much time alone, your cat can become bored. Playing together will ease social necessities and help them feel better.
Cats have particular needs. One of the reasons why some people love cats is because they clean themselves! It’s glorious to have a pet that cleans itself, but why do cats do this?
Cats lick themselves for many reasons, but the main reason is to clean their fur. Cats’ tongues are rather rough and more like sandpaper, which is ideal for grooming purposes. As they lick, they’re detangling fur and cleaning up dust from their bodies, which makes them feel good.
But they bathe in saliva for other reasons; for example, when cats live in hot weather, licking their bodies helps them cool off body temperatures.
And there’s also the social component of grooming. Cats groom each other to show love. If you live with a cat, you may have noticed how they sometimes lick you! That’s because by grooming you, they’re showing how much they care for you. It’s their way of saying: “I want to clean you because I care for you.”
Cats love scratching. You may have noticed that cats scratch things depending on their emotions. Cats scratch things to express feelings of relaxation or stress. They also do it to mark territory through their paws or to sharpen their claws.
When your cat decides to destroy your couch with its claws, you can’t blame it for that. This is a natural behavior for cats. Cats don’t know they “shouldn’t” rip the couch. So instead of nagging your cat for scratching, you should provide your cat with scratching objects so it can satisfy its needs.
One way to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture is by getting a scratching post! Cats love tall objects to scratch! The goal is to present your cat with something better to scratch than your couch so they can redirect that energy towards there.
What truly separates cats from dogs is their sense of privacy and independence. Experienced cat owners know that, at some point, they have to leave their cat alone and let it be. There’s a point where cats say: “No petting, no hugging, no kissing, I need privacy.”
Understanding your cat’s limits is crucial! If you break your cat’s boundaries, you’ll end up stressing your cat and making your cat feel overwhelmed. Pay attention to any physical signs that express dissatisfaction, such as wiping their tail.
Do cats need privacy when using the litterbox?
Yes! Most cats prefer to be alone when using the litterbox. Do you know why they hide their poop? It’s because they don’t want to leave any smell that can alert other predators. Cats don’t want to be seen or disturbed when they poop.
Besides hunting prey and grooming themselves, cats also enjoy spending time sunbathing.
Cats usually do this after they wake up from a nap. That’s because cats need the heat since their body prefers warmer temperatures. Cats’ body temperature is around 102° F, a little warmer than humans; they also have a lower sensitivity to heat.
All of these factors combined can explain why cats seek to bathe under the sun. It’s also not weird to find cats hanging around warm places like radiators, the back of the computer, etc. If this happens, pay attention to your cat and remove any possible threats as much as possible.
As many of us cat parents know, cats enjoy scratching up furniture, carpets, and wallpaper.
The reason cats like scratching up furniture is because it helps them to spread their scent. Their paws contain pheromone glands through which they can secrete their unique scent and mark their territory.
Although this is something completely natural and your cat might enjoy doing it, it’s something most of us would like our cats to stop doing.
Scratching posts can be a great solution to keep your furniture looking nice while still allowing your cat to act out its instincts.
What do you think of this cute cactus scratching post (link to Amazon)
11. Sitting in high spots
Cats love to sit in places high above the ground.
Observing the world from up high can make them feel secure and in control; they can see what’s going on without being spotted easily. Most of the time it’s also very safe because it makes it much harder for predators to stalk the cat without being noticed.
Create some high spots in your home for your cat to hide out and observe everything from a distance. She will love you for it.
Cat towers come in many shapes and sizes. We got this furry one for our cat, Max. He loves it but do take a look and see what suits your (and your cat’s) criteria best. Amazon has an extensive collection (here).