by Finn Frode
Snow White at rest but alert
Never underestimate the hunting skills of your cat. No matter how indolent and comfortable with having every meal served, inside every domestic cat resides a great hunter.
Our moggy Snow White seems like a chubby, laid-back cat, spoiled with comfortable living and too many treats, but as we soon found out after adopting her, she will play as enthusiastic as any kitten. Her favourite method is to lie in wait and suddenly slam down her big paw, but if she has to run or jump to catch the toy, she'll do that as well - and with surprisingly speed for a cat her age and size.
We feed the birds in our garden all winter, and as our cats have their own enclosure they usually don't get to each other. Recently however some of the boldest birds have found their way into the enclosure, which also happens to be where the bird food is stored.
Yesterday afternoon I let Snow White out and she instantly showed a great interest in that food corner. She sniffed and started reaching with her paw for something hidden behind the cans on the floor. When she caught it she headed for the door to our living room. I grabbed hold of her right there and she let go of what she had in her mouth.
I expected to see a mouse, but much to my surprise a Great Tit flew through the room and into the kitchen when it sought refuge behind the microwave oven. Needless to say Snow White flew after it over the furniture and all, while I tried to keep up with them. Luckily the bird had found a secure spot out of Snow White's reach, but she really tried her best until I carried her out into the hallway and closed the door.
The bird got out and flew a few rounds in the living room before finding it's way back out through the sliding glass door. Apparently it had suffered no serious harm, so I reckon Snow White had not used her fangs, but just carried it softly in her mouth. Maybe she wanted it as a funny toy for playing with or maybe she meant to present it to me, her "human kitten". Anyway, when I let her back in, she searched the kitchen carefully and was clearly disappointed that the bird had escaped her.
I of course offered Snow White nothing but praise and an extra treat for her brave deed, but needless to say we don't feed the birds just to have them eaten by cats. If it happens so be it, but out in the open usually only the sick or less smart birds will get caught and it's all part of the natural selection. This Great Tit however had shown resourcefulness, but ended up in a bad situation. I'm happy it got out of it with only a few feathers ruffled.
But if she ever catches a mouse, I'll let her have it. In case any comes around, I know it won't stand a chance with her...
See also: Domestic cat hunting