Chase Behavior

Cats are hunters by nature. Their keen senses impel them to chase down any small animal that moves fast and crosses their path. Birds, lizards, bugs, mice and rats are all fair game. Because they are able to pronate, or turn in, their front paws, cats are extremely adept at grasping and "playing" with small prey -- a practice some people find distasteful. But this is an instinctive act, not an act of cruelty.

Of course, chase behavior and the subsequent killing of rodents was one of the reasons that cats originally came to live with humans. Chase behavior may be turned into a game by cat owners who toss a small, lightweight ball (a Ping-Pong ball, for example) or a feathered object for a cat to bat at, chase and "retrieve."

Next: Hunting/Stalking Behavior

Reprinted from Cat Speak by Bash Dibra © 2001. Permission granted by New American Library.

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