The hunting instinct in cats

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Our article is a little longer than usually to answer these three questions :
– How does a cat hunt ?
– How does a cat learn to hunt ?
– Why does my cat offer me his preys ?

A supple body, sharp claws, sharp teeth, an excellent coordination, no doubt, we’re made for hunting. It’s instinctive. Every playing moment is a training to capture a prey, no matter that the target is a string, a leaf, or the ankles of our human.
Made for hunting

How does a cat hunt ?

Here is the A-B-C of the hunting cat :

  • Choose the good time, rather dawn or twilight.
  • Choose the good place.
  • Listen to to locate your prey, then let you lying in wait, observe, and wait. Sometimes for a long time.

the prey

  • When your prey appears, get closer very discreetly. Lower your body by keeping the tail well in the horizontal. Use every shrub, every crevice, every blade of grass to hide.
  • Focus your attention on your prey from the point of ears up to the end of whiskers.

Getting closer discreetly

  • Squat to jump up better. Rock a little your bottom to relax your muscles and guarantee a perfect jump. Capture your prey by a short and precise jump.

Pounce !

  • Celebrate your grip and evacuate the stress of the tracking by playing with your prey (optional, but highly recommended) before killing it.

Playing with my prey

  • Enjoy your meal !

Enjoy your meal

How does a cat learn to hunt ?

It’s my mom Razemoquette who taught me how to hunt :

  • At the beginning, she brought a dead prey and ate it in front of my sister, my two brothers, and me.
  • Then, she put a dead prey in front of us, and let us manage to try to grab something to eat.
  • Then, she brought a half dead prey, killed it in front of us, and ate it with us.
  • Then she again brought a half dead prey, but this time, we had to try to kill it ourself.
  • We repeated several times every stage to train to be good hunters. We also continued our training during our kittens games : fights, ambushes, everything was good to develop our coordination and our capacity to react quickly.
  • And when Razemoquette considered that we were ready, and capable of holding us quiet when she asked to us for it, we were able to accompany him in the hunting to perfect our technique.

This is the way I taught how to hunt to Pixie.
First birdie !

Why does my cat offer me his preys ?

Because he loves you ! Poor humans, you are so little talented for hunting ! Sometimes I often mew noisily by coming back with a prey, as my mom Razemoquette did to tell us that dinner was served. I would like that Claire learns how to hunt, that’s why I offer her a prey from time to time to train and get fed. But she doesn’t seem to be hungry : she congratulates me and thanks me, then gives me friendly my prey back (outside !) so that I can eat it myself.

Never scold a cat which brings you a prey : it’s a mark of affection. Congratulate him, and thank him, because he considers you as a member of his family, and takes care of you by sharing his prey as a momcat does with her kittens.

18 thoughts on “The hunting instinct in cats

  1. frimousse

    What beautiful rat and bird!
    Delicious, probably.
    Claire has forgotten one point: how must a rat or a bird be eaten with as little suffering as possible?
    I, Frimousse, manage to have the rat or the bird still alive in my stomach!

  2. easy rider

    that was interesting, we have a lot in common with our feline friends :o) but we are different too… I love the mama but I never ever offer her my prey… she only screams ewww! and leave it! instead to applaude the super talented hunter :o)

  3. Nerissa's Life

    It’s funny ’cause at my house, Mason is THE BEST hunter when it comes to toys but shows absolutely no interest in chasing prey when outside. In fact, when she first came to live with us, she was little more than skin and bones on account of her inability to hunt. Purrs, Seville

  4. Athena

    Good tips for me! But upsetting for Mum. She hates to see any animal suffer. However, she does train me to hunt with toys and I always like to offer her my toy when I’ve ‘caught’ it.

    Purrs xx

  5. da tabbies o trout towne

    pixie & zorro !!!!

    dood….ewe haz sum definite cat a tood goin on in fotoz one….for SURE !!!! we loves it…N joy yur snax

    pixie….what can we say ~~~~~~~~~

    🙂 🙂 🙂


  6. Deziz World

    Pawsum posty Zorro. Me’s never got to go on a hunt, but dat’s okay mommy feeds me purretty good. MOL Do be careful ’bout eatin’ your ketch. We so worry ’bout ya’ gettin’ poisoned.

    Luv ya’


  7. Summer

    My human says this is why I’m no good at hunting – I have the instinct but not the skills! I love stalking critters, but I’m pretty lousy at catching them. The couple of times I got close, my human had to help me!

  8. Fraidy Cats!

    you kitties are pawsome hunters! great pictures! when we were allowed to go outside, our mom did not appreciate us bringing our prey inside to play with and finish off…something about the fair few grasshoppers and such we lost under the lower setting furniture… now though she does not have the patience to sit with the wand toy while we stare (and stare, and stare some more) and contemplate our pounce 😀

    pip, smidgen, minnie

  9. Kitty Cat Chronicles

    You guys are excellent hunters! We are impressed! How neat that Mom Claire was able to capture these photos too! We’ve never hunted anything besides our toys, but it sure looks like fun!

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