What Do Cats Like?

Cat playing Peek a Boo in a box
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We all know that cats are picky. They do what they want, when they want, and with whomever they want. But there are some things that cats just can't resist.

So what are those things that our cats just can't resist? And why do they love them? We break down some of the things cats like most, so we can all understand our felines better.

1. Catnip

Catnip is a fragrant plant that is related to mint, and cats can't get enough of it. Catnip contains _nepetalactone_, and when cats smell this compound, it triggers the release of pheromones that give a cat a sense of euphoria. Most cats go crazy for toys filled with catnip, and even though after a few minutes, the effect wears off, if they return to it hours later, their excitement will be reignited.

Cat and vase of fresh catnip
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2. Laser Pointers

The color and movement of a laser pointer taps into your cat's hunting instincts. Your cat loves to chase that little red dot all over, and it makes for a great game for your cat's body and its brain. Make sure to never point the laser in your cat's eyes, because it can cause damage. Also, it's important that your cat feels like it "catches" this prey once in awhile, so sometimes let the light land on another toy, so your cat can capture it.

3. Puzzle Toys

Historically, cats are hunters, and even while relaxing in your home, they can't totally rid themselves of those instincts. When cats have to work for their food and treats using a puzzle, it stimulates the parts of their brain used for hunting and stalking their prey. Using their brains like this helps to tire your cat's brain, reduces their stress levels, and usually means they will bother you less for your attention.

Intelligent cat playing with cat puzzle.
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4. Boxes

If you've recently gotten a large order of online packages or celebrated a birthday, and then you've probably noticed that your cat loves to jump in the boxes. Instinctually, cats constantly try to find safe places to hide. In the wild, a cat might find a small hole to hide in where they can safely watch and stalk their prey. When they hop into all manner of boxes and containers, they're tapping into these natural instincts.

5. Cat Teasers

Cat teasers — those toys with strings, feathers, and other fun bits attached to the end of a rod — mimic the look and movement of a small animal. Because cats are naturally made to hunt, cat teasers tap into their hunting instincts. They will jump, chase, and interact with cat teasers, because they want to hunt it. One benefit of a cat teaser over another chasing toy like a laser pointer — your cat can "catch" the teaser, so it feels the satisfaction of a win.

Kitten playing with a toy
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6. Naps

At any given moment, when you're looking for your cat, you're likely to find them snoozing. Cats love to sleep, and they spend about 12-16 hours per day enjoying a snooze. Cats are naturally nocturnal, so they're more likely than other animals to sleep during the day. Also, they're predators, so biologically, cats are always trying to save up their energy for the hunt, even if there isn't a hunt coming up.

7. Scratching

Cats love to scratch, and if you're not careful, they will scratch up your entire house. Cats in the wild scratch to mark their territory, groom their claws, and relieve stress — and your domestic cat needs all those things too. Make sure to get your kitty a scratching post, so they'll have a perfect place to get out all their scratching instincts.

8. Watching Out Windows

Cats are naturally curious creatures, so they love to watch and stare at the world around them. And staring outside offers even more going on, which means more stimuli for their feline brains. Cats are also visual hunters, so they need to observe the world around them as they hunt their prey. Even though they aren't probably hunting out of windows, these instincts to watch keep them alert and engaged.

Russian blue cat stare out the window
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9. Perching Up High

You might've noticed how much your cat loves sitting up high, whether it's on a shelf or a cat tree, they seem so cozy far above the ground. Out in the wild, cats use height for safety. They climb trees so that they can feel safe from predators, while also watching for prey. Your cat likely feels secure and content sitting up high, and it's a fitting position for them to rule over the whole house.

10. Sunny Spots

Few things make our feline friends so content as a nice sunny spot to nap in. Even in the summer seasons, cats can be found basking in the warmth. The average human home is kept at 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for us. But cats like things a little warmer. Also, when your kitty settles in for a nap, their basal metabolism drops, so the warmth of the sun helps compensate and keep their little bodies warm.