Struggling to come to terms with your cats hunting behaviour? Although pet cats are fed by us often twice a day if not more in some cases, they have held onto their predatory behaviour, some more than others. Nature has evolved their physical and mental make- up to produce a very efficient hunting, killing machine. The cat’s body and ears, whiskers, tongue, nose, teeth and eyes all play a big part in the hunting behaviour. Their mental composition is such that they will be stimulated to hunt when they become aware of prey. Quite frankly they can’t help having a killer instinct.
As animal lovers this can be hard when they bring in prey often still alive. It’s not always easy living with a killer in our homes!
Motivation to hunt is not always about hunger. In the wild a cat would prefer not to be hunting while hungry as this could use up valuable energy if the hunt is not successful, therefore they are always on the hunt for prey and due to the small size of their prey (small mammals and birds), they will need many kills a day, so they therefore eat little and often. So feeding your cat twice a day may not satisfy him. Maybe you would be better to feed him little and often?
I would like to offer you some helpful advice which should help if you are unhappy with your cat hunting successfully….
- Timing of cat being outside. You could keep cat in at night or dusk and dawn, when most cats hunt as their prey is most active. You can get cat flaps that can help; they have timers that are activated by light. If you are concerned your cat will become bored or frustrated consider playing with your cat before bedtime with cat toys that mimic hunting behaviours. Your aim is to tire them out. Puzzle feeders are also a great way for cats to hunt for food in the home, providing this stimulation may help reduce your cat’s high hunting drive.
- If your cat does bring prey home, whether dead or alive, you may want to think about removing the prey before your cat eats it. Your cat will feel safe in your home and will often want to eat in a safe place, by removing the prey yourself this could discourage your cat to bring it back in the first place.
- Are you feeding your cat enough food and is it a variety of flavours and textures? This isn’t to say you should over feed your cat as this will be unhealthy. Maybe your cat is bored with the food you are feeding them? Is the food wet, this may go stale and your cat maybe encouraged to hunt more? Some people prefer to feed little and often with dried food as it cannot go off. If you are away a lot in the day, maybe a food timer can help to provide more small meals.
- Some people prefer to keep their cats indoors all the time. To prevent your cat becoming bored and possibly unhappy you should keep them entertained with food puzzles and games that mimic hunting behaviour. You also need to enrich their environment, to keep them mentally and physically happy.