Should we be living with a predator?

I’m going to play devil’s advocate. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much for the domestic cat and the domestic cat’s welfare but it does occur to me that we are living with one of the world’s top predators which begs the question whether we should be. The domestic cat is hardwired for predation. It’s their whole being; their raison d’être. It is what they are designed to do. They have to do it. It is part of their life but it is subdued by domestication. It is subdued almost to the point where it is not apparent in full-time indoor cats. But the desire is still there and unsatisfied within very many domestic cats. And I think that people loose sight of this. We tend to look at domestic cats as fluffy, cute, independent creatures who are companions to us which is true; but and it’s a big but, we are living with a top level predator who needs to express the desire to hunt and kill. This is why sometimes domestic cats attack people’s hands or feet. This is why they need to play which is basically hunting. This is why they arguably need to go outside and not be confined. This is why in Britain cat owners like to let their cats roam because they feel that they need to express their predatory instincts. But if you do that you place the cat in a hazardous environment, so we have a dilemma, an intractable dilemma which can never be resolved.

Cat owners live with a top predator

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

There is another aspect to this argument which comes to mind. The human’s predilection for good-looking objects has led us to breed wild cat hybrids with startlingly beautiful coats such as the Bengal cat. There’s wild cat genes in these cats. This makes the cat even more of a predator; the cat has a more outward desire to express his or her predatory instincts. Going forward in the 21st century is this a good idea? I think people need animal companions which are more suited to indoor living. We need companion animals who have less of a predatory instinct and are more attuned to companionship. Let’s also not forget that domestic cats, although adaptable and have become quite good at communal living, are essentially solitary, independent animals. They don’t get on that well with other cats. We have a topline predator who doesn’t get on with other cats and we’re living with this animal. Is that a good idea?

I think these conflicts do create a problem in our relationship with domestic cats. It is an underlying reason why quite a lot of people relinquish their cats to cat shelters. They don’t get on with their cat. Behavioural problems are an issue for some people. They love the look of a cat or a kitten and then fall out of love with their cat when he or she demonstrates her natural behaviour which is underpinned, as I’ve said, by a desire to hunt and be solitary.

Domestication of the cat is changing the cat and therefore perhaps in 200 or more years time the domestic cat may have lost his desire to hunt and arguably at that time there will be a better relationship between human and domestic.

There are too many people who adopt cats who are not really fully attuned to domestic cat behaviour. And all the toys in the world designed for cats cannot substitute the real thing. Even a nice compromise such as a fully enclosed garden to allow a domestic cat to have indoor and outdoor space does not really meet the cat’s needs. The compromise is in some respects a failure. It is a compromise which suits the cat’s owner because it brings peace of mind. But a cat doesn’t realise that he is being protected, that he is safer in confinement. He just wants to express his inherent desires and is unconcerned about the potential dangers. Cats don’t care about death, that’s the argument I made in a previous article. It is people, cat owners, who are concerned about the cat’s death

Should we live with a topline predator? There was a time at the beginning of the domestication of the wild cat when the fact that the cat is an efficient predator was very useful. It was their purpose. They did not live within the home but within the community and provided some companionship as well. The primary purpose of the relationship was to reduce the rodent population for the benefit of farmers. Now the primary purpose of our relationship with the domestic cat is companionship and the predation element of the cat’s character becomes a nuisance. It is an obstacle to a calm relationship and it places demands upon the cat’s guardian/caretaker which can get in the way of a solid relationship.

What is the purpose of this article, you may be asking? It is to make people more aware of what our feline companion really is. To make people more aware of the domestic cat’s behaviour and what they have to do to be content. In general, cat owners, I believe, need to be more sensitive and aware of what is going on inside their cat’s head as it will improve our relationship, improve cat welfare, reduce cat relinquishment, reduce the number of unwanted cats and therefore reduce the number of feral cats.

13 thoughts on “Should we be living with a predator?”

  1. Of all the points made in your article, this stands out for me…”There are too many people who adopt cats who are not really fully attuned to domestic cat behaviour.” This was me 20 years ago, although I was fortunate to live on the Big Island with 2 free roaming cats, on 5 acres. They went out an open window, which I closed at night after their evening meal. I used to bang on their dish, and they’d come running.

    Since moving to the mainland, I didn’t allow them out, which was distressing for one of them, and she sneaked out whenever she had a chance. I was able to catch her, but not without a lot of stress for me. At the time, I was homeless, and house sitting. It wasn’t until after I was settled that I allowed them out again, under supervision.

    Then 8 years ago, I adopted Mitzy, a feral, who really wanted to be out. I decided on a reversible Velcro cloth halter and red leash. Then we had a workable compromise. Once she was used to the halter, I let her roam freely, within view. The red leash really helped me to find her if she was hidden by a bush.

    I’ve never had a completely cat proof yard, and probably won’t, but a fenced yard, the halter and leash, with me supervising makes for a happier cat. I do envy people who have indoor cats who have no desire to go out. I’ve never had one of those.

    • Twenty four years ago I was not attuned to domestic cat behavior as well as I should have been and I was a very concerned cat owner. There are too many people who are not really good cat caretakers. That’s my rather pessimistic view.

    • I took the psychology of horse training and applied it to my cats. All animals must have a sense of wellness to thrive and all animals domestic or wild must have that artificially regulated when kept as pets or in captivity.
      I had the wonderful opportunity to observe a true feral colony for many years and their interactions with each other. Much as horse trainers have turned the natural observation of wild/feral herds of horse into more humane and moderate training methods. Cats are not dogs or horses but a wonderful mix of absolute wild and domestic. All of my cats approach me multiple times daily for face touch. I suspect control freaks or anyone that as the need to dominate will eventually say their cat is a jerk.

  2. Leaving aside the real issues you discuss, I think people are appalled by the predatory behavior displayed by cats because it holds a mirror up to themselves. Man is the most predatory of creatures.

  3. I have made a conscious effort to provide for my indoor cats mental/emotional needs along with the physical requirements. I also believe that the indoor cat and domestic cat have a willing relationship with us. If my cats really wanted out they would be out.

      • My cats were raised indoor. We are infested with coyotes and loose dogs. We have provided the best we can for their needs. If one of my cats truly wanted out I have no doubt they could maneuver at the door before we could blink.

    • Nice picture. I agree the foundation of the relationship is mutual agreement but we have moved on greatly from the original model when cats were first domesticated. When I wrote the title it struck me that it might not be such a good idea to live with a top predator. Hence the article.

  4. You said, “… The domestic cat is hardwired for predation. It’s their whole being; their raison d’être. It is what they are designed to do. They have to do it. It is part of their life but it is subdued by domestication. It is subdued almost to the point where it is not apparent in full-time indoor cats. …”


    Humans bred them, domesticated them, for the purpose of killing other animals….

    Parts and remainder deleted as rude and trolling (Admin)

    • Play eat sleep works well with your domestic indoor cats. Many wild predators kill even when not hungry and cache the food. Yet another twisted misconception. Wild predators eat when they can CATCH FOOD. Believe it or not there isn’t a deer tree, rabbit bush out there for them to shop from. They are almost always hungry and therefore will kill when the opportunity presents itself.

      • ME, I have banned this troll for writing gibberish and for insulting me. He wants to try and undermine me but he has failed. He hates me because I support cat welfare and preventing feral cats being shot.

        • They didn’t fail. Not at all. In fact they succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. Your censoring the information they provided only shows that you are the one who is childishly insecure and frightened of being exposed for what you truly are.

          Censorship: The very last bastion of those who have had their beliefs and ideologies proved 100% false. They can’t refute (disprove) the information and now have no other recourse but to censor that which proves them 100% wrong. By their engaging in censorship they have publicly declared and proved their own beliefs to be 100% false.

          Everyone knows this about censorists today.

          You lost. Big time. But you already knew that or you wouldn’t have deleted the important information that proves you 100% wrong. Your censoring actions further proving that you already knew you are 100% wrong even without the information that you censored. Self-damned if you do and self-damned if you don’t.

    • You are talking gibberish, pure rubbish and you are banned for insulting me. Everything I have written is true and scientists would agree with me. You are simply trying to undermine me but it won’t work, you arsehole.


Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo