The TikTok video maker asks: “What is it saying?” I think we need to get rid of the “it” in the sentence seeing as this cat lives with the video maker and they know whether they are male or female! Sorry about that. But it is much better to use the ‘he’ or ‘she’ pronouns when writing about domestic cats because they are members of the family.
So, what is he saying? He is actually saying nothing at all😊. This is a very good example of what the scientists call “vacuum activity”. If you are a devout and committed cat caregiver (a heavy responsibility) you will know what vacuum activity means.
The activity is a cat performing the highly specialised killing-bite as if they have the bird, that they are observing outside through the window, actually in their jaws. It is like a practice session carried out instinctively as the cat does not have the opportunity to do it for real because they’re confined to the indoors. It is pretty awesome but it looks a bit bizarre. Some people would refer to it as “strange cat behaviour” but when it’s explained it is no longer so strange.
If you’ve ever had the doubtful pleasure of watching a cat kill a bird, they may use this specialised bite. It is the default bite. However, they may not because my cat killed a pigeon with the throat, suffocation bite, which is the sort of bite a cat uses to kill large prey animals. He behaved like a lion killing an antelope.
Anyway, in order for cats to eliminate the risk of being harmed by the sharp beak of a bird or the teeth of a rodent, once they have subdued the animal and pinned them to the ground with the strong claws of their front feet, they quickly crunch down with their long canine teeth which are aimed at the nape of the neck of the prey animal.
What you see in the video is the rapid juddering movement of the jaws as the cat inserts their canine teeth into the nape of the neck of the bird to sever the spinal cord! My God, it sounds horrendous when you describe it like that. It does bring home the obvious fact that the domestic cat is a wonderful predator. The problem is that most cat owners don’t really want to live with a top predator. It is just an unfortunate byproduct of the cat domestication process.
The killing bite “is guided by the indentation of the body outline of the prey”. These are the words of Dr. Desmond Morris who goes on to state that “the indentation which occurs where the body joins the head in both small birds and small rodents”. When it is dark, the cat’s whiskers feel for this indentation and help to guide the teeth.
Some animals which are preyed upon by cats have developed a defensive method to avoid this killing bite by hunching up their bodies to conceal this indentation. This results in the cat missing the target. The cat might wound the animal but not kill it. This allows the animal to escape while the cat scratches his head trying to figure out what happened.
P.S. My thanks to the video maker (‘prettyslow’) for allowing the video to be downloaded.
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