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Why do cats hunt rodents and bring them into the house? And how can you stop your cat from catching wildlife?

In the Sky Original film The Amazing Maurice, now available to watch on Sky Cinema, ginger cat Maurice makes some unlikely friends in the neighbourhood rats.

Unfortunately though, this is a friendship that can only be found in films and fairytales as rats and mice are the natural prey of cats.

illustration of ginger-and-white cat holding up a brown rat with its paw

Even with a careful introduction, it’s risky to expect cats and rodents to get along, so if you have any pet rodents at home alongside your cat, keep them in a cage that’s safely out of your cat’s reach.

Why do cats hunt mice and rats?

Our pet cats are descended from the African wildcat whose main source of food is small animals that they hunt on the African savannah. Pet cats have retained this inbuilt need to hunt, so if they come across small creatures such as rodents, birds, reptiles, frogs or insects, they will want to catch them, even if they’ve already got plenty of cat food in their bowl at home. This is because their desire to hunt isn’t linked to hunger, it’s a natural instinct that makes them feel good.

illustration of five rats wearing clothes and sitting on some books

Why do cats bring their prey into the house?

When your cat brings dead (or sometimes live) animals into the house, it’s not because they’re bringing you a gift, and they’re not doing it to be naughty. In the wild, African wildcats will often bring their prey back to their core territory to eat, as that is where they feel safe and there is less of a threat of other predators stealing their food. Our pet cats bring their prey into the house for the same reason, because they want to eat where they won’t be disturbed.

How can I stop my cat catching wildlife?

If your cat goes outside and likes to hunt wildlife in the garden, there are a few things you can try to keep all animals away from harm.

Find more advice on letting your cat outdoors.

To celebrate the release of The Amazing Maurice we’ve created an exclusive range of Maurice goodies to help raise funds for the cats in our care this winter. Treat yourself or a loved on to a cute Maurice gift today!

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