If you’re like many cat owners, you may sometimes ask yourself why your kitty’s bringing home a dead mouse as a gift rather than flowers or a bottle of wine. Your cuddly pet appears to be loving and affectionate so it’s a bit puzzling as to why he or she turns into a wild, untamed hunter when outside. Well, the simple truth of the matter is that cats are basically natural-born hunters. It doesn’t really matter if your pet’s an indoor cat either as he/she will hunt down mice and other small animals when given the chance.
Wild at Heart
Being a natural-born killer doesn’t make your cat evil, it means it generally lives a carnivorous lifestyle. They’ve always been this way and you’ll find their ancestors out in the wild such as lions, cheetahs, leopards and tigers are just the same. Even though your pet may be domesticated it still retains its natural animal instinct which is to hunt prey. And this actually leads to another interesting point since a cat may kill a small animal and play with it instead of digesting it. In fact, they may not even kill the animal before bringing it home to the doorstep.
Teaching Their Young
Out in the wild, mothers in the feline family will often bring injured or dead prey home as a way to teach their young how to hunt and eat and domestic cats aren’t any different. But since so many female cats are spayed today they don’t have any young to teach so they may bring home a dead or injured animal due to their natural teaching and sharing instinct. You may not realize it, but your pet is actually trying to teach you something as it considers you a part of its family. Cats usually know they don’t need to hunt food or survival, but the thrill of the chase seems to be something they just can’t resist.
How You Can Help
If you’re not too happy about your cat’s natural behavior towards other animals when it’s outdoors it’s recommended to place bells on his or her collar. This will make it harder for your pet to sneak up on birds and chipmunks etc. as the bells will warn the animals when your kitty’s approaching. In addition, you may want to supply your cat with some type of chase-and-catch or moving toy to keep it busy. Cats are naturally intrigued by the movement of these types of toys and they stimulate and satisfy the animal’s hunting drive. For example, just buy yourself a laser pointer and you’ll be amazed at how long it can keep a cat entertained for. Plus it’s also great exercise for them.
If your cat is busy chasing something else such as a toy then he/she may not feel the urge to hunt small animals in your backyard. When it comes to indoor cats, you’ll often find they entertain themselves and fulfill their natural hunting instinct by chasing insects. Of course, if you happen to have a problem with mice in your home, most cats will do a far better job of deterring them than a mousetrap will. So while you may not be too fond of your cat’s hunting instincts, just remember it’s simply the way they were born and they shouldn’t be scolded for it.