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Why are Cats so Curious?

Discover why cats are curious and learn more about the science behind our feline friends’ inquisitive behavior with some quick facts from Nutrish.


A woman playing with a cat with a feather toy

Cats are curious creatures. They love poking their paws in boxes and squeezing into tight places. Judging from all the trouble they get into, it’s no wonder curious cats are said to have nine lives! Discover what makes cats curious and how their inquisitive behavior is a natural part of your pet’s health.

Natural Born Instincts

Even though the Egyptians domesticated the cat thousands of years ago, our fuzzy felines share genes with their ancient ancestors. A cat’s curiosity is born out of a natural instinct to assess their environment for prey and predators.


In the wild, a cat’s health depends on how she responds to foreign invaders in her immediate environment. Cats are territorial by nature and their instinct is to protect their home and food supplies. So, when you bring home that new shopping bag, your cat is simply making sure it doesn’t pose a threat.

Mark of Intelligence

Every pet parent knows cats are highly intelligent creatures. Your cat’s inquisitive mind has a real need to understand the world around them. From the food you are cooking to the pile of papers on the desk, your kitty’s curiosity is her way of seeking answers to why these things exist. Cats also possess object permanence, or the ability to remember that an object exists even if they can’t see it anymore. So, if you try to hide something your cat has been playing with, chances are you’ll find her looking for ways to get it back or even just staring intently at the drawer, box or container you hid it in.


An outdoor cat will explore a pile of leaves to hide under before the pouncing begins. Indoors, your cat may think a cardboard box is the perfect camouflage for attacking his favorite toy. If your cat is pawing around for a hiding place, just remember this curiosity is simulating his natural hunting behavior.

Hunkering Down

Ever wonder why your cat is so obsessed with boxes? In addition to hunting, cats’ curiosity helps them scout out places to hide if another predator comes around. Boxes provide shelter on all sides, which is why cats love to hop in and get comfy. They feel cozy and protected—not to mention camouflaged in case prey happens to come by. It’s the same reason cats love getting up high, whether it’s the tallest platform on their cat tree or on top of the fridge.

Joining In

If there’s one thing cats are good at, it’s making computer time difficult. They love spreading out over the keyboard, standing right in front of the screen and pawing at your fingers every time you try to type. But cats seem to be curious about all sorts of human behaviors, like cooking, cleaning or building a new piece of furniture. Their inquisitiveness comes from a desire to hang out with you, which means supervising your tasks throughout the day. It’s only natural that they’d want to “help out” their favorite person!

Treat Their Curiosity with Nutrish® Cat Treats

Cats use their minds to shape the world around them. While a curious cat may look like he’s just having fun, he’s also displaying intelligence and natural born instincts passed down from his ancient ancestors. Take advantage of that natural inquisitiveness using Nutrish® cat treats to make playtime even more fun. Just load some of your cat’s favorite treats into a puzzle toy to entice her inner hunter and make keeping tabs on their territory tastier. And, just maybe, you can distract them long enough to actually use your laptop in your lap.