2001-Tue Feb 20 04:40:51 EST 2018
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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo holds a yearly event called Creature Comforts that highlights enrichment activities and encourages pet owners to think the same way about domesticated animals' natural abilities and how to engage them.
It can be as simple as considering why a pet enjoys certain types of play. "Understand why they're reacting to you the way they're reacting, because if you learn about their behavior, you can even do cooler stuff with them," Schoffner says.
Think about their wild relatives, he says, and you'll see why a dog is excited by a squeaky toy: "When your dog hears that squeaking sound, that kicks in its wild instincts back to its wolf cousins: Oh, this is something I should catch!"
Same with cats going crazy for a feather toy — it engages the predatory instinct they share with a lion or leopard. "The only difference in cat behavior that I find is the size," he says. Whether you're talking about tigers or house cats, "they have the same instincts; they react to the same things."
This means that much of what keepers do for zoo animals applies to your pets as well.
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