Cat waves around a cat tease for human use in order to play

This is a classic case, yet again, of a domestic cat learning how to do things by watching their human caretaker. You know that the classic cat tease is a feather on a stick which a person waves in front of their cat which stimulates the cat to attack the feather as if it is a prey animal, like a bird, because it is fast moving and jumping around. This is precisely what stimulates a cat to attack – fast movements. It is ingrained in their psyche.

Cat uses cat tease for human use to entertain himself
Cat uses cat tease for human use to entertain himself. Screenshot.
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Well the cat has cottoned on to this and rather than wait for their human to wave the magic wand around for his entertainment, he decided to take action himself and does exactly what would normally happen. It is remarkable for the learning process and for that fact that the cat manages to hang on to the cat tease and wave it around almost vertically. The cat wants it up there, against the wall, quite high up because that’s what gets him going.

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There are many examples of domestic cats learning this way. The classic version is cats opening doors using the handle. It might be an internal door or a fridge door. And they watch television sometimes and copy human behavior as shown on the TV. I’ve seen a cat copying boxers in a fight. Recently I posted about a cat removing a toddler’s hand from a balcon railing to prevent the child from over. This was learned from obeserving human behavior. It is amazing.

The ability to learn from observing people comes from (1) their inherited skill in learning to hunt from their mother when in the den and before they are independent sub-adults and (2) the relationship between domestic cat and human guardian which is a kitten-to-surrogate mother relationship, exactly the same as if the cat was being raised in that cosy den in the wild.

So, watch out what you do in the presence of your cat! He/she might be watching and copy it when you least expect it. One last point. This cat loves to play with the tease. He wants more of it, more than his human can deliver. There is a moral there. You can’t really play with your cat enough and it is good for you both.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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