Is killing prey a learned behaviour for cats? Infographic.

The answer to the question in the title is in the infographic. It is that predation behaviour is, as expected, inherited but it needs to be polished up with some training from their mother and a kitten’s keen observational skills and ability to learn from watching. It is how they learn to open doors after watching their caregivers.

Is actually killing prey a learned behaviour for cats?
Is actually killing prey a learned behaviour for cats? It is mainly inherited but the inherited skills need reinforcement and polishing. Infographic by MikeB. Free to use under a Creative Commons license.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

For the human-to-cat relationship, the wonderful predation skills that cats inherited are a big negative sadly. Back in the day it did not matter so much that domestic cats preyed on birds and rodents because there was no cat food. They got their own and kept down the rodent population. All good and useful.

Times have changed. Humankind through its activities and greatly expanded population is destroying the planet bit by bit. A disease over the blue jewel in the infinite space of the universe.

This makes domestic cat predation unacceptable to many although most cat owners don’t really mind except for the fact that their cat brings a mouse into the home (the den) to be dispatched. Not great for the householder.

I am afraid cats and predation go together like apple pie and custard or fish and chips. And if you stop the cat from predation by keeping them inside the home which is advocated in Australia, indeed enforced in one state as I recall, you create a whole new set of problems and negatives because you are preventing a cat doing what nature made them to do: hunt.

So, you’ve got to give them a substitute which although not as good might do. But how many cat caregivers of full-time indoor cats ensure that their homes are fully feline enriched and play with their cat during the day? Let’s be generous and say very few to an adequate standard.

Result? Bored, obese felines developing health conditions that are prevalent in this day and age and which were relatively rare back in the day such as feline diabetes and a high percentage urinary tract diseases.

There is also a lot of bad oral health with domestic cats, which has been put down to modern commercial diets. I don’t think the domestic cat’s ancestor, the North African wildcat has the same prevalence of oral health issues feeding on wildlife as they do.

Enough said. Sorry for the boring lecture which is somewhat repetitive.

RELATED: Is it illegal in the UK to stop cats from hunting?

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