Why do cats hunt?
Hunting is a natural behaviour for cats. In the wild, they’ll spend a lot of time on frequent hunting expeditions, catching up to 12 small rodents per day. In comparison, our pet cats are given bowls of food, so a meal doesn’t take long to eat or make use of their great senses.
So it’s important that they’re given plenty of opportunities to play to keep them mentally stimulated. The stalk, pounce, play and kill releases feel-good hormones called endorphins.
Hunting behaviour does create a tricky conundrum for cat owners who love wildlife – it may not be possible to stop them entirely, but there are things you can do to reduce it – see the tips in our visual guide and post below.
To enlarge, click on the image
- Cats are more likely to hunt at dawn and dusk so keep them indoors at night
- Provide them with plenty of interactive play sessions and feeding toys
- Don’t feed wildlife on the ground
- Keep bird tables well away from fences or areas your cat can hide and stalk
- Hang feeders from a tall, thin shepherd’s hook – cats can’t climb these!
- Attach cut-up plastic drainpipe/bottles around bird table posts to make climbing difficult
- Plant a scaredy cat plant (Coleus canina) or a curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) near feeding stations to deter cats
You’ll find more information about ensuring harmony between your cat and your garden in our post here.