do cats play with their prey

Why do cats play with their prey? After catching their prey, you may witness your cat play or toy with it. Battersea suggests that this behaviour may be due to your cat trying to confuse the prey and tire them out, thus making it much easier to kill and reducing their chances of getting injured.

Why do cats play with their prey?

Many people may consider it cruel because they have witnessed cats playing with their prey. But rather than being done maliciously, cats probably exhibit this behavior as a survival strategy.

Although further research is required, there are a number of reasons why playing with prey may be crucial for a cat’s survival.

  • First of all, the cat can use it to determine the health of the prey, which reduces the likelihood that they will consume contaminated or poisoned food. A healthy prey will be swift to react and run, while an unhealthy prey will likely be slow and sluggish.
  • Second, engaging in play with the prey may lessen the likelihood that it will hurt the cat by wearing it out before it is killed. Wearing it out makes it less likely that they will be the target of a vicious bite if their prey suddenly turns around. Cats typically make the kill bite around the back of their prey’s neck to sever the spinal cord. Studies have indicated that cats play with larger prey for longer periods of time, possibly because it requires more work to exhaust them. Hungry cats also usually play with their prey for shorter periods of time.

If you’ve ever had an outdoor cat, you’ve probably witnessed your furry buddy’s predatory behavior in action: when your cat is out foraging in the yard and suddenly springs forward to bat at a small bird or mouse—possibly a lizard— The cat playsfully tosses this creature around for a few minutes, even after it has stopped moving. After winning their prize, they proceed to the front door and place a small corpse on the welcome mat.

Joanna Thompson is a New York-based runner and science journalist. She holds a B. S. in Zoology and a B. A. holds a master’s degree in science journalism from NYU’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from North Carolina State University. See more of her work in Audubon Magazine, Atlas Obscura, The Daily Beast, and Scientific American. Latest.

The truth lies somewhere in between, though, regarding why domestic cats pursue and play with prey even after it has died. Are they cute himbos or furry serial killers?

So how can people stop their furry friends from causing so much ecological damage? Cecchettis research suggests that some of a pet cats drive to hunt can be stymied by providing them adequate play time at home and feeding them high-quality, meat-rich diets that provide the right micronutrient balance.

According to a 2006 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, cats still have many of the instincts from their wild ancestors who hunted small prey throughout the day because they were domesticated so recently. A cat is motivated by this vestige of evolution “to catch prey even if it is not hungry,” according to Cecchetti. Furthermore, a cat’s natural play instincts—like batting, pouncing, and raking with its claws—come from its hunting instincts. In order to exhaust their prey before devouring it, wild cats frequently play with it, which lowers the cat’s risk of harm. Even contemporary domestic cat breeds can survive in the wild quite easily because of these instincts; in fact, some Polish populations have become so successful that they are now regarded as invasive pests, according to WBUR, Boston’s National Public Radio station.

FAQ

Do cats play with mice before they kill them?

Sometimes They Play With It First. It’s true that cats are natural predators and will often kill the prey they hunt. But it’s not always the case that your cat will kill a mouse or other small animal she catches. In fact, some cats play with their prey first before killing them.

Do cats play with their live prey like they do with toys?

Many people have seen cats playing with their prey and might perceive this to be cruel. However, this behaviour in cats is likely a survival mechanism and not done out of malice. There are thought to be several reasons why playing with prey could be important for survival in cats, although more research is needed.

Why does my cat kill mice but not eat them?

Cats have a habit of killing prey and not eating them when they are well fed. The act of hunting, pursuit and dispatch is an instinctual action. If it is a well fed queen that has kittens who follow her, she may be teaching them how to hunt. Some cats will delay eating for a later or safer time or location to do so in.

Why don’t cats kill their prey straight away?

They Don’t Need To Kill Their natural instincts to hunt are still there, but they prefer the chase rather than the catch. They may see killing their prey as the end to a game that they wish to keep on playing. By releasing, re-catching and tossing around their prey they maximise the enjoyment they get from the catch.