Have you ever wondered how your cat can be so picky about cleaning her paws and so messy in your kitchen? Some cat owners get dish after dish, looking for the one that won’t spill when the cat plays with it.

You might as well forget finding the perfect dish. It’s not about the container. It’s about the natural feline instinct to play with their food. Don’t fight it – embrace it! Your tidy pile of cat nibbles in the dish are quickly scattered by your cat, who is “hunting” in the dish for the ideal bite.

Once chosen, your cat takes the nibble back to a favorite hiding place under your chair or behind a table. Your cat may play with the food for awhile before eating. That’s just the way cats are – so don’t try to rush the process.

No matter how comfy your cat’s place is in your home, in his heart, he’s a cat on the prowl. From kitchen food dish to hiding place, your cat treats food the same as he would out in the wild. At least, he tries if you don’t rush by picking up his “prey” and putting it
back in the dish.

In the wild, cats spend quality time stalking and catching prey for dinner. Then they play with the mouse, let it go and run it down again. It’s almost like working up an appetite before dinner – at least in cat perspective.

When a pampered house cat has food delivered neatly to his dish twice daily, he misses the activity that he instinctively craves as part of his dining ritual. So don’t fuss at your cat for playing with his food.

Bowl-fed cats can give up the instinct and become fat, lazy fur balls. While it may result in neater eating habits, it’s not good for your cat’s health. Granted, you may not want to let live mice loose in your house just so your cat can get exercise.

You can choose cat toys that have re-fillable centers in which to place snacks. Scatter these toys around the house so your cat can “discover” the treat. The rolling toys also allow your cat to chase and conquer the toy, then extract the food. Dry foods like nibble types are perfect for these toys, since there’s no moisture or spoilage.

Knowing that your cat wants to hunt even inside the home, keep houseplants off the floor. Ivy, dieffenbachia, azaleas and poinsettias are poisonous to your cat and dangerous for children as well.

You can put those out of reach of a toddler, but remember that your cat easily scales the dining room table to get to the plant. Choose other types of plants. At the holidays, put real poinsettias on the porch or patio and use silk poinsettias inside the house.

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