Why do domestic cats hunt?

Domestic cats hunt because it is in their DNA to hunt; because they’re still quite close to their wild cat ancestor in terms of behaviour, so even though we feed domestic cats, their natural drive to hunt is often undimmed although the urge varies between individual cats. This is not about survival and a need to find prey to eat, this is about feline behaviour which is embedded in the psyche of the domestic cat, which has been inherited from the North Africa wild cat.

Domestic cat hunting
Domestic cat hunting
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That, as I see it, is why domestic cats hunt. I suppose that the question is asked on Google search because, on the face of it, there is no need for a domestic cat to hunt. To some people this seems rather bizarre. When you refer cat behaviour back to the domestic cat’s wild cat ancestor it all makes sense. The key really is that the domestic cat is still somewhat wild in nature, more wild than the domestic dog which had been domesticated for thousands of years longer than the domestic cat. One day I would expect the domestic cat to stop hunting through natural evolution over a further 20,000 years of domestication.

Dr Bradshaw said that we could breed out the domestic cat’s urge to hunt. He sees this as possible. This, in effect, is a way of speeding up domestic cat evolution. I don’t think it’ll work and neither do I think it’s a good idea but it is an interesting one nonetheless.

It is perhaps interesting to note that some humans in America still hunt for food even though they could drive down to the local supermarket 3 miles away and buy it off the shelves. Sport hunters sometimes justify their hunting by saying that they eat what they hunt. They think it makes what they do acceptable. They don’t need to hunt just like domestic cats. They’re just doing what their ancient forebears did 0.2 million years years earlier.




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1 thought on “Why do domestic cats hunt?”

  1. Lots of people here hunt for food as well as raise their own. I see that as more realistic than expecting that sanitized piece of meat in the grocery store without having to participate in where it came from.
    There is indeed a need for the domestic feline to hunt. They are excellent natural controllers of vermin. It is their hunting ability that makes them valuable in many situations beyond those of us who keep them indoors and dangle strings and feather and other tempting lures for them to bat at.
    I would be happier to see someone discussing the need to breed the barking out of dogs.

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