This is a note that may help. It is a reminder that domestic cats have different energy levels depending on (1) their individual characteristics (2) their age and (3) their confidence levels (4) their weight and health and if purebred (5) the breed. The environment in which the cat lives will also have a bearing on a cat’s energy. A full-time indoor cat will tend to snooze more and be more passive as there are fewer natural stimuli to spark activity. This is why there is an added burden on cat owners of cats confined to the home to inject activity into them. In the worst homes the cats sort of shut down.
There is a neat story on Yahoo today about a very high energy black cat whose name is Spikie (see above). She’s a standard black domestic cat except for her exceptional energy. From the moment Chloee Lachapelle adopted Spikie she was energetically enthusiastic about exploring and doing. There was no hiding and getting acclimatized. She said: “I could play with her for hours and she was still asking for more play.”
She felt the need to give Spikie an outlet for her energy and decided to take the big step of putting her into a harness and lead and taking her outside. It was perfect.
“The moment I took her out she was looking around everywhere and trying to investigate.”
She embraced her freedom and the pair have been on countless treks and trips since then, including kayaking. Lachapelle said:
“We are a great team together. I am having a lot more fun going outside since I got her. And I think she’s having the best life she could have gotten.”
If you have the time and inclination, that’s a neat solution to satisfy a high energy cat.
There are others such as exercise wheels and plenty of play. Adopting another cat might be an option so they can play together. But it has to be the right cat. That’s so important.
Timid cats will have apparent low energy levels compared to confident cats because they can be fearful of exploring and expressing their desires. It is up to the owner to bring them out of their shell; to get their mojo going. The raw wild cat within can be activated mainly through play as cats instinctively play as it is hunting.
Persian cats are said to be decorative and passive. The claim is probably exaggerated. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the wild cat hybrids such as the Bengal. I remember watching Helmi Flick photographing a Persian and a Bengal at two photo sessions. Despite attempts to stimulate the Persian into striking a nice active pose she resolutely refused whereas the Bengal was in constant motion chasing a tease with vigour.
Perhaps the Persian was simply anxious and decided that staying put was safer. This goes back to the confident/timid cat characteristics impacting activity levels.
Kittens burn off energy through play. The same goes for high energy adults. The so called ‘cat crazies’ occur because of boredom and not due to the behaviour of a high energy domestic cat. These cats don’t have an outlet for natural behaviour. They shut down and then momentarily explode into high energy action. It looks funny but the underlying predicament is not.
Using an interactive feeder may help to stimulate a high energy cat and burn off some energy. They need a challenge. The wild cat hybrids generally need more of a challenge in their life because the African wild cat in their DNA is constantly challenged in the wild. They are programmed for survival. Wildcat hybrids are probably smarter than standard domestic cat. Ideally, they need stimulation.
Finally, although there is considerable variation between individual cats, in general domestic cats prefer to be active at night and dawn and dusk. This clashes with typical human behaviour. This cat characteristic comes into conflict with the trending idea of keeping cats inside all the time. Allowed outside they can hunt. Kept inside what can they do in the middle of the night when the urge to hunt enters their head? The owners can’t play with their cat at that time. This is a failure in cat domestication as cats are only confined for their safety and to protect wildlife. If the human world was safer for cats there’d be no need to confine them.
SOME MORE ON BEHAVIOR:
Why do small cats (domestic, caracals, servals, etc.) have pointed ears and big cats (lion, tiger, cheetah, etc.) have rounded ones? Is there an adaptive function to the ear shape?
Best and worst cat breeds on 10 characteristics as the British Shorthair comes out on top (Infographic)
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