Hunting is one of the most controversial aspects of cat behaviour. Even the most passionate cat lovers can find it difficult to accept their beloved family pet’s tendency to leave a dead bird or mouse on the doorstep every now and then!
The instinct to stalk prey is still present in most cats, despite the fact they generally receive plenty of food as domestic animals. Of course, cats were originally brought into cohabitation with humans for their fearsome rodent-killing skills. This ability may not be so important to us today, but the predatory habit remains a highly recognisable feature of our feline friends.
Wanting to limit the number of ‘surprises’ your cat brings home from its outdoor adventures is understandable, but trying to curb the desire to hunt too extensively is likely to leave your pet feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.
Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your cat stays healthy and happy while keeping its hunting behaviour under control:
Make sure your cat has enough food
Feeding your cat well won’t stop it hunting altogether, but their desire to chase down rodents will undoubtedly grow if they aren’t fed enough. Make sure your kitty has sufficient food at meal times and they may feel less inclined to head outside and see what they can find!
Keep your cat inside at night
Cats are largely nocturnal and tend to be more successful hunting at night when there are more potential targets around and they can move with even greater stealth. Many owners don’t like to confine their pets to the house all the time, but keeping them in at night and letting them roam free during the day can keep a lid on their hunting exploits.
Put a bell on your cat’s collar
Adding a bell to the collar that jingles whenever your cat moves is another way to limit their hunting prowess. The sound should alert birds and other prey if your cat is creeping up on them, although particularly gifted hunters may still find a way to make a catch!
Provide an alternative at playtime
Playing with them is one of the great pleasures of cat ownership. It’s possible to use play sessions to keep your cat stimulated and put its hunting skills into practice, without any poor animals being harmed!
Toys like the FroliCat® CHEESE™ Automatic Cat Teaser are ideal for this kind of play. Two mice pop out of each side of the Swiss cheese block, providing surprises that can keep your cats engaged and on the hunt for long stretches of time. The Play While You Are Away mode also allows spontaneous playtime throughout the day.
Alternatively, the FroliCat® POUNCE™ Rotating Cat Teaser is another popular toy of this type, with the unpredictable movements of the mouse encouraging your cat to watch, chase and pounce.