Understanding Why Your Domesticated Cat Hunts

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Understanding Why Your Domesticated Cat Hunts

We know why you might have searched for this. Your cat comes to you with a gift, and that gift is the carcass of a bird or a mouse. You are not used to such gifts and it creeps you up to the point that you nearly throw up. This is a gesture that cats do to make you realize that you are one of them and this is why they share their hunts with you. You start realizing that maybe, you have brought a stray cat instead of a domesticated cat. However, this is not true. Domesticated cats also hunt, even though you keep them on a nice diet and keep them away from hunting practices. In this post, we will be talking about domestic cat hunting, why does it happen and how can you prevent it from happening.

Why do cats hunt?

As a new cat owner, you have to understand that cats have a natural hunting instinct that won’t go away even after domesticating them. It’s just like owning a cub and growing it as an adult lion. It will hunt and you will be in danger, even though the lion has been domesticated since its birth. It’s their natural hunting instinct that is built in their genes. While your cat obviously won’t prey on you, it will try to hunt pests and small animals like birds and mice in your house, and if your cat has a good relationship with you, it will bring the carcasses to you to share its hunting with you, a gesture that is sweet for them but is supremely creepy for you.

Cats are objective carnivores, which means that to survive, cats need a certain amount of meat in their diet. Hunting is a cycle for cats. For example, as cats are mice, hunters, then cougar is a cat hunter. This need for meat forces cats to use their predatory instincts to hunt small animals. Because cats normally hunt alone, they only target small animals like hamsters, rats, mice, birds, and different insects.

If your cat doesn’t get any supplementary diet from you, it will try to fulfill its meat requirements by hunting 10 to 20 animals every day. This is important for cats to fulfill their daily food requirements, which is why it is important to monitor the diet of your cat properly. Instead of feeding your cat wet food at specific meal times, it is better to keep feeding your cat in short intervals so that it remains full and doesn’t feel the need to hunt. Once you start feeding your cat frequently, it will stop feeling the urge of hunting animals. It might still kill mice or rats, but it won’t eat them as they are full, thanks to their frequent supplementary diet.

How do cats hunt?

Cats usually follow a 7-step procedure while hunting:

Search surrounding for a potential prey

If your cat has a hunting habit, it will keep searching for potential prey around your house. It will always stay in a position to hunt and its hunting stance will be observable.

Locate a prey within the environment

Once your cat finds potential prey inside or outside your house, it will get into its position as it will be ready to pounce on it.

Approach the prey

The cat will slowly approach its prey in such a way that it doesn’t alert it. Cats are amazing hunters and can move in a very quiet manner.

Capture the prey

Once the cat gets near its prey, it will immediately pounce on it. The cat will dig its claws in the body of its prey to stop it from moving.

Kill the prey

To kill its prey, the cat will then dig its teeth in the body of the prey.


Then, the cat will either eat its hunt all by itself or will bring its prey to you as it might want to share its reward or ‘gift’ with you.

Do cats only hunt when they are hungry?

While keeping your cat on a frequent supplementary diet that caters to all of its nutritional requirements for the day is a great way to suppress its hunting urges, it will simply not eliminate it. Your cat might still hunt small animals even after being fed frequently. If cats only hunt when they feel hungry, they’ll go extinct as hunting and capturing prey is a very difficult task for cats. This is why whenever they get an opportunity to hunt, they hunt and keep their food aside. Then, they will consume it whenever they feel hungry.

Why shouldn’t you let your cat hunt?

This is the reason why it is recommended to only let your cat out of your house in your supervision, that too with a leash or harness so that your cat doesn’t get out of your control and starts hunting small animals. When you let your cat go out on its own, not only there is a risk of your cat getting lost, it will start hunting small animals outside and will start bringing the dirty carcasses of these animals into your house. Not only this is disgusting, your house will start smelling bad and you and your family will also be at the risk of contracting dangerous diseases.

This habit not only puts you and your family at the risk of dangerous diseases, but it can also cause many diseases to your cat that can turn out to be fatal. Many times, you lay poisonous treats for the rats in your house, and if your cats hunt the rat after it consumed the poisonous treat, it can also poison your cat and it can lead to fatality if the cat is not immediately hospitalized. There are also other diseases that these small animals carry and after consuming them, cats go through the same diseases, that can cause severe illness and even fatality if matters went from bad to worse.

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