Why does my Cat Catch Mice and Birds?
Does your cat have a tendency to bring mice and birds into the home? This can be mind-boggling for pet owners to understand, especially if your cat is well fed and has no need to go elsewhere for food.
It can also be unpleasant and sometimes disturbing, and you may well want to know if you can do anything to discourage them from continuing to do it.
Why do cats catch mice and birds?
Most cats don’t go after prey because they’re hungry. It’s something that they will often do because of their nature.
Cats are hunters, and this is still ingrained to some extent even in domestic cats. They may no longer have to hunt for their food as their ancestors once did but their predatory instincts remain and this is one of the main reasons why some cats are believed to be compelled to bring home ‘prey’” for their owner. Alongside this, they may consider home to be the safest place for them to take their catch, especially if there are other cats in the area.
It’s also thought that cats may bring home ‘prey’ as a gift for their owner. It’s thought that this goes back to when mummy cats bring prey back for their kittens to teach them how to feed themselves. Your domesticated cat may not have kittens to pass this onto but this natural instinct is still encouraging them to do the same kind of thing for you. It’s a sign that they have a strong affection for you and see you as their ‘family’.
Don’t punish your cat
As unpleasant as the experience may be, it’s important not to punish your cat or shout at them. In many cases, cats believe that they are doing something really nice for you in bringing home dead animals and they won’t understand if you get mad at them or express obvious horror in finding your surprise. Stay calm and don’t let your cat recognise how you really feel about their gift. They can pick up on your body language too.
Can you stop your cat bringing home mice?
It can be very difficult to discourage your cat from bringing you gifts, not least because they are largely motivated in doing so by their predatory instincts.
An indoor only environment would put a definite end to the situation but it’s not the most preferable option for an outdoors cat that enjoys having freedom to roam. Cats that are not used to an indoor-only environment will quickly become stressed and miserable if they do not have access to outside, even if they have a lot of mental and physical stimulation within the home.
You may instead decide to allow your cat to still be an outdoors cat but if they usually have freedom to come and go at night, you may choose to restrict their access to the outdoors at times when their potential prey is more likely to be active.
Playing games with your cat that allows them to practice their hunting skills is another option. There are plenty of cat toys on the market which encourage active play.
Cats are full of surprises!
Sadly, life can surprise us with an unexpected financial burden of a veterinary bill if our purrfect pals develop an unexpected illness or have an accident.
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