It’s an old saying we are all familiar with, but it is really true that curiosity killed the cat? As any cat owner will tell you, their cat has an insatiable curiosity that can lead them into scrapes. But rather than causing an untimely demise, their curiosity is actually helping them to thrive.
The need to explore is deeply ingrained in your cat’s psyche but why are cats so curious? We dig deeper into this cat behavior to help you figure your feline out.
Curiosity Helps Your Cat Survive
All cat people have seen it – your cat is showing very little interest in you or anything going on around his home environment, when he suddenly springs from Mr Aloof to Mr Super Alert. This sudden curiosity is born out of your kit’s survival instincts, traits developed when his ancestors had to survive in the wild. Although by nature, felines are reserved, so it is their curiosity and associated behaviors that help to keep them safe.
If he sees or has a sense of sudden movement (a tease toy, for example, or something he catches out of the corner of his eye) his curiosity and natural predators instinct will put him on high alert, ready to check the movement out. And he will then make a decision to either release his prey hunting instincts, get ready to escape or square up to the situation and protect his territory.
It Hones Their Hunting Instincts
Even though most domestic cats no longer need to hunt for their own food, the instinct remains and is displayed in many of their behaviors, including their tendency to be curious, even as kittens playing with their toys.
For example, they love to stare out of the window to watch birds and other critters in the garden, which is a form of ‘virtual hunting’ as their eyes remain trained on their ‘prey’. Cats and kittens also explore around the home, reacting to sights, sounds and smells, and even toys that grab their attention, in curious anticipation that it could be prey and so the source of their next meal.
They Love to Explore
Ever wondered why domestic cats love to play in cardboard boxes? Or you find them exploring a cupboard, a windowsill or another space in your garden or home? Well, this is their curiosity kicking in, and it is most likely your kitty is looking for a potential hiding space away from any predators or other animals. By exploring and testing out boxes or other enclosed environments, an inquisitive cat is working out what is safe, and which hidey-hole will give them the best viewing platform, without being seen – just like they would do in the wild.
They Have Super Hearing
Did you know that your cat’s sense of hearing is five times better than humans? And this super-hearing means they can react to the slightest sound as it piques your cat’s curiosity. And, in many cases, these sounds are worthy of exploring. But to you, as his human pet parent, all you see is a cat behaving in a curious, perhaps slightly odd way and reacting to something you haven’t heard.
They Can Also Have FOMO – Fear of Missing Out!
As well as having a sharp brain, humans and cats have many other surprising similarities, and one is FOMO – or fear of missing out. And in cats, FOMO is enough to trigger their curiosity and set them off exploring to find out what they are missing. This is often seen around food, anticipated routines or human attention that all cats need. Your kit will often follow you around in a curious manner, which is driven by a simple need to find out what you are doing, whether they are set to benefit and, perhaps more importantly, when they are going to get food.
How to Protect Your Curious Companions
While in most cases, your cat has got a handle on their inquisitive nature and so the phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is unlikely, their curious nature can lead them into problems around the home. To help keep your cat safe, there are some essential ways to keep a curious cat from any harm:
Secure your windows: Especially if your feline is an indoor cat, all cat owners should make sure they cannot get out of the house, when you are not around. Your windowsills are most likely one of their favorite places in your home, as they curiously watch the wildlife and all the action going on outside. Ensuring your windows are closed, or at least secured with a screen will ensure your kit cannot act on their curiosity…and escape in the process. Head over to our review of cat window perches.
Be careful what your cat can chew on: Curiosity, attraction and exploration can lead to your cat having a chew on things in your home they shouldn’t, such as yarn, electrical cords, curtain pulls and certain houseplants, which can actually be poisonous for your curious kit. If you are concerned, secure or hide away cables, put away your crafting box and place any houseplants well out of reach.
Always supervise your curious cat in the kitchen: There’s a lot to explore in the kitchen, with a host of gadgets, spaces and food to tempt a curious cat to find out more. But there are also hidden and not so hidden dangers for cats in the typical kitchen, including everyday food you may leave out on the counter, that can be dangerous for cats. Hot surfaces, high shelves and boiling kettles can all present dangers to your pet if they are allowed to wander on the counter surfaces. The best solution is to always keep the kitchen door shut when you are not in the room to watch their every move.
And finally, keep your appliance doors shut: This means always shutting the appliance doors when not in use, clicking to lock, as well as a simple double check inside before you fill the washer or dyer with clothes can ensure your feline friends can remain both curious and safe.