Posted on May 11, 2017

Why Do Cats Hunt Prey?

cat-chasing-prey

Almost every cat owner has been there – you open the door for your feline, who is holding a dead mouse by the tail. Why?

Cats, first and foremost, are hunters and will venture out far and wide in search of prey to bring home. While the distance that your furry friend travels is reason enough to invest in a cat name tag, the mischief that they get into can be unprecedented.

When a dead rodent, or even a live one, has been brought back to the home, some think of this as the cat bringing a present back for their owner. Although this is a nice way to look at it, it is not completely true.

Hunting

As hunters, it is the cat’s instinct to go out and hunt for its meal, even though you have already saved them the bother by filling their bowl for them. Cats possess a digestive system which allows them to eat raw meat, despite being domesticated over 10,000 years ago.

Spayed female cats are the most likely felines to come back with a surprise as it is their instinct to bring food back for their family. As they are unable to have kittens of their own they are bringing dead mice home to teach you how to hunt, believe it or not.

Nurturing

Cats with kittens bring back what they have caught to show their offspring how to take care of themselves. First, the mother brings back dead prey to feed their young, and then move on to bringing back live prey for the kittens to learn how to kill.

Eventually, the mother then takes her young out on the hunt to teach them how to catch and kill their prey, thus becoming self-sufficient.

Instinct

Cats are hunters, and they will always be hunters. This means that no number of attempts will stop your cat from bringing home dead mice. Regardless of how domesticated your feline is, cat tags only mean that your pet has an owner, not that they cease being what they have been since the dawn of time.

Next time you wake up to find that your cat has left a mouse next you on your pillow, try not to freak out. Remember that they are only doing what comes naturally to them, and that is a sign that they want to nurture you in their own way.

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