Do animals have desires? Of course they do, although to understand them we need to start with what motivates them, or rather, those urges that translate into actions, such as chasing, exploring, and competing.
A cat has no interest in a ball as such; its urge is to chase. In the same way, a dog loves to cooperate, and when it performs an activity with us, it sees its greatest desire come true.
What motivate are therefore “urges to act”. These urges characterize a species or breed and make the animal eager to perform the activity in question.
The moment the animal’s urge is recalled, expressed and satisfied – perhaps in a game – the animal is gratified, i.e. the animal experiences the pleasure, above all, of involvement and joy.
However, there is something more important still. The ability to express an urge offers fulfilment, i.e. fulfilment soothes and calms by removing restlessness and boredom, which are responsible for the most critical behavioural problems in cats and dogs.