As soon as winter passes into spring, cats the world over stretch, yawn, and ready themselves to begin hunting. Although catching mice, birds, and reptiles is a natural activity for cats, their human owners don’t usually appreciate their efforts, especially when their prey is dragged in through the cat flap. Many people find their cat’s antics distasteful, and desperately want them to change their habits.
Mother cats teach their kittens how to hunt in order to help them survive. Pet cats, however, don’t need to roam the countryside and streets looking for food, as they are provided with plenty to eat by their owners. The exception to this rule might be when they are kept especially to catch rats and mice on a farm.
As cats are given food on a regular basis, you might imagine that they shouldn’t have an urge to hunt. Nonetheless, if you look at the problem differently you might recognize that there could be several reasons why your cat insists on bringing small mammals and birds into your house.
1. Tasteless pet food
Just as some foods people eat are tastier than others, no doubt, some varieties of cat food are as well. Pet owners think nothing of serving up the same flavored tinned food to their furry pal day after day, while giving no thought to how boring it might be to consume. In such a case, it’s no wonder that a cat might prefer to pop out for a takeaway of his or her own choosing.
If you usually feed your cat food that’s potentially boring and bland, consider providing him or her with a wider variety of cuisine that is likely to be delicious. Doing so might deter your pet from hunting.
Most cats, provided that they are not elderly, love to run and play. Hunting, for them, isn’t always about food. The thrill of the chase makes this unseemly sport worthwhile. You will know if your cat hunts for food, or whether his or her interest lies in pure fun, as he or she will catch prey once, let it go, and then repeat the performance if the latter is true. Catching furry, scaly and feathery creatures might give your pet such a thrill that it’s worth doing again and again.
To encourage your cat to desist hunting, provide an alternative hobby. Play games with your cat using ping-pong balls, catnip toys and string. You might also offer a stimulating environment by placing scratching posts, treat balls, and exercise wheels in your home for your cat’s enjoyment.
3. Nighttime activity
Although cats sometimes hunt during the day, the night is their favorite time to seek prey. When daylight fades, creatures are easier to catch. Therefore, if you want to reduce the number of casualties your cat leaves on the mat consider placing him or her under house arrest when the sun goes down.
Some cats find hunting so incredibly easy that it would be foolish not to do so. Letting mice scurry past them would seem like sacrilege. You can make hunting more of a chore by placing a bell on your cat’s collar to act as a warning signal to potential prey.
When your cat places an offering at your feet, he or she is expressing gratitude. However, you might not be pleased with your gift. Knowing how to react for the best can be tough. The most helpful thing to do might be to remain calm, while removing the offending body and replacing it with a toy.
You may imagine that this is not a reasonable idea, as the toy might be taken to be a reward. However, your cat, like most cats, probably expects to reclaim their catch and demolish it after you have made appropriate squealing sounds that he or she interprets as delight. Remove the catch and disappointment will follow. Your cat will then recognize that bringing birds and mice indoors is not a good plan. He or she might still catch them, but at least their dismembered bodies won’t be left on your carpet.
There is no definite solution concerning preventing your cat from hunting. However, you can attempt to dissuade him or her from doing so by providing tasty food, and a stimulating environment. In addition, you can keep you cat indoors after dark, place a bell on his or her collar, and replace offerings with a toy when they are provided as a gift.