I love my cats Kona and Dexter. They are both the sweetest, and most gentle kitties you’ve ever met – they wouldn’t hurt a fly (literally… when they find a bug they will just gingerly reach out and touch it with their paw before pulling away again, as if to play peek-a-boo with it)! Although they are both relatively young (3 and 6 respectively), they are fairly subdued, they are lazy often tiring after less than 2 minutes of playtime, and exceptionally timid – Kona shakes in his boots when the wind changes direction! This is why I was so completely shocked when Kona ran into our bedroom a few nights ago with a mouse in his mouth! My emotion quickly escalated from disgusted to mortified when he dropped the still living mouse on the ground and began playing with it! I had no idea how to react, but my first instinct was to try to save this little mouse! When Kona realized my intentions, he quickly snapped up the mouse and ran away with it, keeping it far away from me!
I tossed and turned all night worrying about the mouse’s wellbeing, and fretting over Kona’s cruel behavior. Naturally, I scoured the internet trying to find advice on how to handle this situation if it occurs again. Unfortunately, I could not find any information on how to save the life of the mouse, but did find a few explanations to why Kona reacted as he did and “played” with his catch…
When a cat is engaged in the hunt, they need to be careful and alert. Often their prey will have claws and teeth of their own, and in an attempt to protect themselves the will bite and scratch the attacking cat. A cat’s method to avoid this is to exhaust their prey to the point where they are unable to fight back when the kitty is ready to give the final blow. So, while it appears the cat is being cruel and torturing their prey, there is a method to this madness.
There are many benefits to keeping your kitties indoors, but with no real prey in the house, your kitty will require different outlets to express this behavior. You can place perches for your kitty near windows, so that they can see birds and squirrels coming to a birdfeeder, get toys to simulate the hunt (like the “Cat’s Meow”, or wand toys), and keep their interest by rotating the toys that are in use every week or so. Also, if you’re a cat owner, you know you don’t need to spend a lot of money on new toys, if any at all! Often a crumpled piece of paper, or an empty toilet paper roll will do the trick! Youtube also has a wealth of “cat videos” featuring close-up encounters of birds and squirrels which keep many kitties entertained for quite some time! These tricks for keeping your kitty stimulated may provide the hunting “fix” that they need – Although I highly doubt they will pass up the opportunity if a fluffy little house mouse runs across their path!
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