HomeArticles of Elisa Black-TaylorHow Do Cats Learn To Hunt?


How Do Cats Learn To Hunt? — 3 Comments

  1. My favorite hunting experience with Monty was the day he caught a mouse five minutes before I had to leave for work. I had been giving him a little outside time in the morning. Growling from Monty warned me not to try to separate cat from mouse. I was getting desperate, so I yelled, ” Treat!” Monty ran up to the door with the poor mouse still in his mouth and still alive. So I opened the door and in came cat and mouse. I put down food for Monty, and he dropped the mouse for that, but it took off running and I lost sight of it. I grabbed some salad tongs and began searching. The mouse was hiding in a pile of shoes next to my vacuum cleaner in the hall. (I’m not a great housekeeper.) I only knew it was there because that’s where Monty was showing interest. There we were together searching out this mouse. To Monty it was the greatest thing we had ever done together. I found the mouse, scooped him up, dropped him (oops) scooped him up again and put him outside the side door. Poor thing. He was alive but pretty unhappy. “I’m so sorry,” I said to him. He scurried away up the driveway toward the front yard. Good choice, since Monty only goes out in the back. Monty didn’t seem to realize what I’d done, because he was still looking for the mouse when I left for work.
    This scenario happened a second time, on a Saturday. Again I had to work, again I was giving Monty some outside time. I felt bad to bring him in, so I said to my husband, “Monty’s outside. You could let him in in five minutes if you want. He’ll be ok for a little while unsupervised.” As I went out to my car I peered through the chain link fence we have between the back porch and garage (put up for Monty’s benefit) and noticed Monty was very interested in something. Hmmm… I ran into the house yelling, “It’s Mousecapades again and this time it’s your problem!” I had to leave for work. My husband told me later that he just went out and told Monty to drop the mouse and get in his house. And he did it. Four times Monty looked back at the mouse, but he did go in, because when my husband says, “Get in your house” and points at the house, Monty does it. He doesn’t yell. He just says it with quiet authority. Which proves two things. Monty knows exactly what I’m telling him most of the time, he just chooses not to do it, and my husband is somehow the top cat around our house. Monty even purrs louder for Jeff, which he explains by saying that Monty prefers attention from the alpha cat. It means more. So I’m just the humble poop scooper and food giver, but Jeff is the one Monty really looks up to, to the extent that he will drop the mouse when Jeff tells him to. I wouldn’t have believed it, but Monty caught a mouse another day, and I just went and got my husband. Sure enough, Monty dropped the mouse for him. I wish I had that influence over Monty, because he killed two bunnies on my watch. One he paralyzed and then lost interest and I had to take the poor thing to be euthanized, because after two hours he was still alive, back legs not working. To me there wasn’t really any choice there but to put him down, but I didn’t have the heart to do it myself. Monty also had a chipmunk in his mouth once, but it did get away. That was in front of company. We were enjoying cold drinks on the back porch, watching Monty play, and sudden it was carnage in the back yard again! He’s killed two birds and caught one that got away. And my personal favorite was the time I was sitting in the back porch stretching my hamstrings and suddenly I heard this scrabbling sound. The next thing I knew a wild eyed squirrel was running right at me with a black cat hot on his heels. He turned away last second and did manage to escape but for a moment I was sure he was going to end up running right over me to get away. My sister calls Monty, “Killer” but her cat used to bring live mice up from the basement. Then he would get afraid of them and meow– a certain meow Jen came to know as, “Help me with this mouse, Mom!” That’s how I thought of salad tongs to grab him. My sister would say to Kobe, “You watch the mouse, I’ll grab the salad tongs!” Our aunt said to remind her to never eat salad at our house. Kobe hasn’t caught anything else since we blocked the hole where the mice were coming in. Watching Kobe hunting in the basement helped us find it. Jen said during that time we had mice in the basement her cat took play very seriously. She said that it did seem that he was practicing for his next encounter with a mouse.

  2. Yes we cat lovers need to accept that hunting is part of our cats heritage and that they follow their deepest instincts in doing it.
    Our Jozef whose father was feral is the best hunter we’ve ever had, he likes to bring his prey home but knows living rodents are not allowed in lol Walter sometimes watches and waits as he knows Jo loses interest once he’s got the mouse on his own territory, it saves him having to go and start a hunt from ‘scratch’ lol
    Our funniest was Bert, he only caught one mouse in his entire long life, I saw him sitting in the garden and I thought somethins was wrong with him as he looked strange. I picked him up and a mouse ran out from under him, he’d sat on it! Mickey ran happily off and Bert came in saying ‘Thanks mam, I didn’t know what on earth to do with that thing’ lol lol He did make one kill though….a spider ….he had big furry paws and he gave it a bat as it ran then looked shocked when it ended up squashed.

  3. Personally, I’d like to go hunting for Woodsman with a rifle…but I guess you are talking about a cat. My cats have never been great hunters. Binnie caught one mouse in 18+ years. I have not noticed Charlie hunting. He goes outside for a look and a pee etc. Then he comes in. My first cat Missie was the most athletic and was more of a hunter but for most of her life she was in Central London with a courtyard garden to go out into. No mice there. I have to confess to a more or less blank sheet on the kill count.

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