TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › The Cat Lounge › Do you let your cats eat what they catch?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Do you let your cats eat what they catch?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I don't think this belongs in Behavior, because it's human behavior in question. I had Jamie outside on his long lead (20 ft.) today, so that I could sit in the shade and read the Sunday paper while he enjoyed the outdoors. Well, the "Great Black and White Hunter" caught a sparrow. I checked to make sure the bird was actually dead, and then let Jamie eat it.

He's caught stuff before - garter snakes, lots of bugs, mice, a rat, three bats, and two other birds. The garter snakes just drop their tails, which he eats, he sometimes kills the rodents, but won't eat them, the bats he releases (in the house, as he catches them on the balcony and brings them downstairs - they manage to get in above the cat net), but my husband rescued one bird, and took the other away from Jamie.

Hubby says I shouldn't let Jamie eat what he catches, as it will just encourage him to hunt more, but I say that's poppycock. He's a predator, and will hunt because his instincts tell him to. I felt sorry for the poor bird, but felt Jamie had "earned" his meal, so I just didn't watch too closely. He's an indoor cat who only gets to go outside on a leash/lead, so it's really exciting for him to hunt and catch something.

He didn't get to enjoy the whole bird, either. He saw another bird, and started to stalk that, and while he was doing so, Miezi (neighbor's cat) slipped in under the fence and stole his prey.

What would you do? Hubby is now threatening to take down the bird feeders. Jamie has only managed to catch three birds in nine years, and I usually have him on a shorter leash and walk beside him, so I think that's an overreaction.
post #2 of 28
Given the diseases that birds and rodents can carry, I wouldn't let my cat eat one.
post #3 of 28
I'm with Natalie on this. If you looked over that bird, you wouldn't want to touch it, let alone eat it, or let your cat bring in all those mights, etc.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Given the diseases that birds and rodents can carry, I wouldn't let my cat eat one.
You know, I'm a little more relaxed about that, strangely enough, following the pet food scandal, because I know I can't protect him 100%. I keep him up to date on shots, including rabies (given the bats), and worm him at least once a year.

Our last cat lived in a feral colony for eight years before we adopted him, and during the six years we had him, he did a lot of hunting, despite getting enough to eat at home. You wouldn't believe the stuff he dragged home, which included guinea pigs and a very expensive koi. We couldn't turn him into an indoor-only cat, so I just made sure he was innoculated, wormed every three months, and given spot-on treatments against fleas and ticks. I've still got the scars from that! Fourteen years is a pretty long life for a cat that spent well over half of them fending for himself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
I'm with Natalie on this. If you looked over that bird, you wouldn't want to touch it, let alone eat it, or let your cat bring in all those mights, etc.
Actually, I did pick up the bird, to make sure it was dead, and looked for mites. I know that sounds gross, but after having grown up with dogs and cats, I just have to check what they catch. My grandfather had one Airedale that had a very bad habit of bringing home live baby birds, rats, and rabbits he'd "stolen". After 15 years of his doing that, it became second nature to check.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Given the diseases that birds and rodents can carry, I wouldn't let my cat eat one.
I think that would be my concern as well, that and the fact that i kiss my cats faces I know even doing that can gross some people out knowing where their tongues have been, but it really doesn't bother me. It's probably because they never go out at all?
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
I think that would be my concern as well, that and the fact that i kiss my cats faces I know even doing that can gross some people out knowing where their tongues have been, but it really doesn't bother me. It's probably because they never go out at all?
Uhh When Joey brings me something...he doesn't eat it...BUT it's been in his mouth...I wash his face I don't kiss him right away
post #7 of 28
I don't stop mine from eating their prey if they want to. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. They're more likely to eat a bird than anything else they bring in. If I can rescue the prey while it's still got a chance at life I will, and if it's abandoned after it's killed, I disappear it as quickly as possible, so that it doesn't get stashed. But other than that, I don't interfere.
post #8 of 28
well, since mine are indoor only, the only thing they ever catch are bugs... & there aren't that many of those!
they've had fun w/crickets before - but don't tend to eat them, altho if they wanted to, i'd let 'em!
post #9 of 28
Three of mine go out and hunt. The others occasionally catch a mouse or spider in the house. If I find them before they have eaten it, I take it away if I can. This is mainly because of worms. Ellie, my biggest hunter, catches things every day and I have to treat her once a month for worms. But she would be bereft if I stopped her - it is her life to hunt. Sometimes she brings things home to me, sometimes I find half-eaten things. But I guess as long as I can watch over her then it is OK.
post #10 of 28
My cats who go out are kept up on worming and vaccines esp rabies so I am certainly not going to take away their hard earned meal!
post #11 of 28
I would let him eat the bird. Mine haven't ever caught anything that exciting when out in the garden. I do let them eat any bugs and spiders caught inside or out, except for the poisonous ones of course.
post #12 of 28
Mecha is an indoor cat, so all she catches if shes catches anything are cockeroaches and spiders and bugs (I let her eat the roaches, I make my bf remove the spiders and if the bugs look dangerous I make him remove them as well)
but the cat we had as a teenager was never allowed to eat the birds he'd killed, my mother would restle them from his growling mouth and bury them because she did not want him to think it was okay for him to catch them, he only managed to catch like 3 in his 6 or 7 years of life with us.
but I wouldn't let my cat eat anything they'd caught, it's gross
post #13 of 28
My cats have eaten birds but it's rare and they leave a mess - the carcass is only partly eaten. They don't eat rodents, bugs or lizards. I think they only enjoy the hunt and the kill. Maybe the food I feed them tastes better.
post #14 of 28
Being that we are on the 12th floor of an apartment building the boys don't have access to woodland creatures to eat. However, the do eat bugs. Strike that. Scratch Fury Destroyer of Worlds eats bugs. Dr. D. Claw and 8-Bit sit next to the bugs and wait for DH to come and take them away.
post #15 of 28
I wouldn't let Butzie eat anything that she brings inside. I don't know if she eats anything outside without bringing it in.
I probably wouldn't let Butzie eat a bird because I love birds. But I understand about Jamie. I mean, catching 3 things in 9 years - let him have a little fun. And then that nasty neighbor cat ate his prize anyway!
post #16 of 28
I would move the bird feeders so you don't have a "buffet situation" set up. Songbird populations are in a decline due to cats hunting them.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
My husband and I are still arguing this one out. He's pointed out that there've been a few outbreaks of avian flu, and dead cats, in other parts of this country, though none this year. Cats have to be kept inside whenever a case is discovered.

The only birds we regularly get in our yard are all non-migratory, though: sparrows, blue titmice, and blackbirds. That's why we started feeding them in winter (seeds and nuts for the former, fruit for the blackbirds). The magpies seem to chase off all the other birds. They and some crows will come and eat apples, cherries, or grapes from the trees/vines, but never touch the feeders, and are too big for most cats to handle.

It is a "buffet" situation, but it's extremely rare that a cat catches a bird in our yard, and since we're the local "catnip dealers", there's an awful lot of feline traffic in it.

I blame human overpopulation and (housing) developments far more for declining bird populations.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
well, since mine are indoor only, the only thing they ever catch are bugs... & there aren't that many of those!
they've had fun w/crickets before - but don't tend to eat them, altho if they wanted to, i'd let 'em!
In fact, I WISH Evie'd eat those nastie buggies! She just likes playing with them, then leaving their little crumpled (not even dead, usually!) bodies for me to pick up. If I see it, I make sure it's not a poisonous spider, but usually it's just a fly. Luckily, we don't get TOO many bugs in our house!

Now, if she were an outside cat, I would move the bird feeders. Don't want them to turn in to cat feeders! And beyond that, I probably would let her eat the birds. It'd be disgusting and sad to me, but if she's really out doors, then I wouldn't know how many she caught and ate without me to stop it.

However, in your case, only outside with you there, so you know exactly how many are caught and if eaten or not... That'd be tough. I think I wouldn't just because I couldn't stand to watch it! Then again, once the bird was dead, I wouldn't want to mess with the body, so I may allow it. But only if I did like you, and checked the bird first. I know you can't really detect bird flu or things like that, but I'd have to check anyway!

Suffice it to say, I'm just glad that when I take Evie out, she so far has never even had the chance to catch a bird, let alone actually killed one!
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
The bird feeders are actually inaccessible to cats. We've been very careful to make them so. The sparrow Jamie caught was flying too low - about 3 feet above ground level - and he leaped up and caught her.
post #20 of 28
my girl's catch bug's, bird's & rodent's. i never let them eat the bird's or the rodent's, but am never quick enough to stop Glamorous, from eating the bug's she bring's in!
post #21 of 28
Babygirl was an inside/outside cat and was a great hunter, but I just couldnt stomach it. I have chased her away from a few mice in the front yard. I have opened my front door and there was Babygirl with a bird in her mouth and she ran inside, as fast as she could, with the bird. I rescued the bird from her.

Once, she had a whole bird family so angry at us, everytime we went outside, they would swoop down and try to peck us. There were at least 7-10 birds you could see on a telephone wire. I saw Babygirl jump into the air probably about 4-5 feet and came down with a swooping bird in her mouth. Then I realized there was a nest close by because Babygirl had knocked a baby out of the nest. I brought the bird inside for a few days making sure she was ok and then put her back in the nest.

There were many gifts left at the door, though, of the animals I didnt rescue from her.

I also had a cat at our previous home that use to leave me presents weekly. I would chase him away from animals, if I saw it, too. But I literally just cannot handle it.
post #22 of 28
I let them eat bugs. My cats are indoor cats but bugs still get in the house. I enjoy that they are here so that they can catch the disgusting bug and eat it so I don't have to deal with it.
post #23 of 28
My two cats are indoor/outdoor. Sasha never showed an interest in the cat-like prey, like mice, and has never caught anything except grasshoppers and the occasional butterfly, so no worries about her. Zorro is our hunter. We keep them both up to date on all shots (esp rabies) and de-wormers, and mainly let him eat what he kills. I don't interfere except when he catches a garter-snake (which are on the decline in our area, and are a good animal to have around) or a songbird (if its not too injured to save when I realize he has one). I actually rather he ate the mice, because being on an acreage I'd rather he ate them outside and kept the population under control, than have our yard overrun (which at this point it would be without our wonderful hunters).

He actually doesn't always eat them, he likes to leave them as 'presents' at our back door, for which we praise him lots as we grab a shovel to dispose of it. But, catching about 4 a day during the summer, he does eat some, and also eats all his kitty food.

At this point I'm always amazed. At all times we have two cats, one a hunter and one a non-hunter. I'm starting to think the spirit of the hunt is being passed down the generations, on par with having no instinct to hunt at all
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post

I blame human overpopulation and (housing) developments far more for declining bird populations.
I agree. My garden is full of birds even though all my 11 cats go outside, climb trees, etc. There were more birds in the neighborhood before the empty lots nearby became condominiums. Oh and I can also blame the weather. The unusual number of storms, strong winds will wipe out nests. It's sad really.
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
I agree. My garden is full of birds even though all my 11 cats go outside, climb trees, etc. There were more birds in the neighborhood before the empty lots nearby became condominiums. Oh and I can also blame the weather. The unusual number of storms, strong winds will wipe out nests. It's sad really.
That's what it has been like around here. We used to have a lot of swallows and robins around, but they've been practically non-existent since the town has been built up so much.
post #26 of 28
Zane has eaten mice, voles, and squirrels (back when he was still and indoor-outdoor cat) and since coming inside for good has eaten at least one mouse.

Cats are carnivorous predators; or predatory carnivores. For them to catch, kill, and eat things is how God and/or evolution made them.
post #27 of 28
The one time mine caught a mouse (only place we've lived that had one) we didn't let them eat it. And Raven was NOT happy about that. In fact, my husband thought that he wouldn't even kill it because the house cat he grew up with didn't have a clue what to do with mice after he caught them. Imagine his surprise when Raven had already dispatched it. If Mike hadn't have come home, Raven would have had a tasty snack because I was asleep.

Otherwise mine mostly hunt and eat bugs. Well Nabu does. I'm not sure Stimpy knows what to do after catching them. Nabu eats them right up. Especially moths.

Raven and Nabu were outside for 3-4 months before I adopted them, and from their condition at the time--I think they hunted most of what they ate.
post #28 of 28
My cats are indoor cats, and since they've been with us they've caught a rat and two mice. Inside. Eww. Anyway, I got rid of the little bodies (I actually had a little burial for each of them. I'm sure they got dug up but I was trying to respect their deaths.)
One of the cats ate one of the mouse's legs, but I didn't want them to eat anymore. They should be able to practice pouncing and hunting IMO, but I guess I'm a little paranoid about the parasites.
Polly ate a fly earlier today, but she had fun chasing and batting at it, and there was nothing I could do about it, anyway.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Cat Lounge
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › The Cat Lounge › Do you let your cats eat what they catch?