Killer Kitty

Cat with a mouse as a prey next to it

Kitty’s bringing home dead birds AGAIN? Is she hungry, or just having fun?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Tail twitching, butt wiggling – and POUNCE! Outdoor cats think they’re providing for us, but their hunting can hurt native animal populations. How can owners help reduce their killer kittie’s hunts?

Enter Martina Cecchetti and researchers from the University of Exeter.

The team tested more than two-hundred cats who had a hunting habit. For twelve weeks, their owners tried several different techniques to reduce their cats’ hunting. Some gave their kitties different collars to scare off prey. Some played with their furry friends daily or gave them a puzzle toy. Others fed theirs a meatier diet.

Results? Cats fed meaty diets were THIRTY-SIX PERCENT less likely to go looking for prey. And those with daily playtime? Too busy having fun – their hunting time went down by twenty-five percent!

So, if Fluffy insists on “surprising” you with her hunting trophies — save a bird, grab the feather wand toy! And some Little Friskies with extra beef.

Killer kitty no more! PURRfect.

Reference: Cecchetti, M., Crowley S. L., Goodwin C. E. D., & McDonald, R. A. (2021). Provision of high meat content food and object play reduce predation of wild animals by domestic cats Felis catus. Current Biology, 31(1-5). doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.12.044