Over the years, I've had a number of cats, and I've noticed that they all have their own preferences for how they prefer their toys to behave. Some of them wanted their toys dragged on the ground, some of them were only interested if they were fluttering in the air, and our current cat doesn't care, so long as she can pounce on it from hiding. I've always presumed that this corresponds to different hunting behavior in wild cats - a preference for catching small ground critters, birds, or whatever they can sneak up on.

Now I'm wondering what determines this preference. Is it genetic? Taught? Or just subject to each cat's individual preferences? Or is it simply me reading too much into how indoor cats play with human-powered toys?

  • 2
    I doubt anyone has done a formal study on this, and I don't think an answer is possible without one. It can differ for cats from the same litter, so "taught" seems unlikely. I suggest just chalking it up to personality. If they were more predictable they wouldn't be cats.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:57
  • I'd agree it's a preference thing. We have three cats at the moment: one adores chasing the magic red dot, another ignores it, and the third will play for a bit but prefers noisy toys (plastic medicine cups are her favorite).
    – Kate Paulk
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


It would always have something to do with the breed. Some breeds are made for jumping, some for running, and some have so many breeds mixed in it doesn't matter! It also has something to do with the mom of the cat. The mom's preference and skills will play a part in determining the hunting style of her kids. It also has to do with your cat. If your cat is very playful and energetic they will run around and chase anything! If your cat is older and has arthritis and such, they may just enjoy a couple swipes at a toy moving in front of them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.