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cats don't chase critters!! help!!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
how can i teach my cats to catch bugs and other critters that enter the house? i have 2 neutered brothers, 5 years old, and have until just recently been exclusively indoor cats. now we have a fenced backyard that we allow them to roam. problem is, they don't chase anything either indoors or out. we're in a new subdivision, so some spiders, bugs, and mice are not uncommon in the homes. i want my cats to not rest until they have caught anything living inside the house that isn't a person or the other cat. instead, they don't chase anything or do anything. i've seen them watch a bug crawl across the floor half asleep and do nothing. i've seen them in the backyard watch birds land on the fence only a few feet away and do nothing. what can i do? please help!!
post #2 of 21
not every cat is a hunter. And sometimes it is not best for them to catch mice, or other small animals. Spiders can give very very nasty bites, along with bees sting them. If they eat a mouse and it doesn't get digested that can make them very sick.
post #3 of 21
ditto to what Val said...They will hunt when they want, but not all are going to..
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
understand and appreciate the risks, but i'd like to see them treat the home as their territory, not allowing anything else to enter. i think that is healthy for a cat, but how do i get them to do that? feed them less?
post #5 of 21
There is also the possiblilty that your neighbors have poisined the bugs and mice in their yard and they crawl into your yard to die. If your kitties ate them they could die too.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
unfortunately (for the bugs and mice) that isn't the case. we don't even yet have neighbors, which is why this is a problem. the bugs and mice are healthy and strong, with nice shiny coats living in the comfort of my home while the kitties sit and watch. i always keep the health of the cats in perspective, and i have given that adequate consideration. i still think it would be healthy for everyone (bugs and mice excluded) for the cats to chase, and hopefully destroy these critters. my question for the forum is whether there is a way to teach and promote this behavior...?
post #7 of 21
If your cats will not hunt there is no way you can make them. The hunting is instinct and the females are usually the best hunters. Cutting back on their food will not make them better hunters, it will make them hungry. A good hunter is a well fed cat, not one who is starving. They need the energy they get from food to hunt successfully. You may want them to act territorial and destroy every living creature in your sight, but clearly, they don't feel the need. I have over a dozen cats, they are indoor, outdoor socialized ferals, all of them hunt, it's in their nature and has never been squelched. Also declawed cats don't usually hunt as a rule, if that is your cat's situation, that could be why.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
appreciate your insight. they do have all their claws, but they are males, which may make them less likely hunters. i just have a hard time with a cat that will silently watch a bug crawl across my kitchen floor. i have to think there is something that i can do to help them with this behavior. do you guys agree an active cat chasing things around the house is much healthier and happier than a blob on the floor that never moves? i see this as a change that would be in the cats best interest as well as ours.
post #9 of 21
Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? Sorry if I sound mean, but you sound ridiculous! Anyone who would think that feeding their cat less to make them catch bugs, needs to be a bit more educated.
post #10 of 21

About all you can do is try and engage them into a prey type behavior by taking a toy and tying a string to it- and running around the house trailing the toy. By your posts, about all this is going to do is make you lose weight, and make your cats think you have gone bonkers. They clearly, after being inside for so long have gotten lazy and don't want to play the prey game.
post #11 of 21
If you would like another kitty you can go to and maybe fine a female that is a good hunter. Then you can save a kitties life and get rid of your critters.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
hey meghan, yeah you do sound mean, and thanks for bringing absolutely nothing constructive to the table.
You'll notice the feeding less comment was in the form of a question. i'm simply drawing from an extremely simplistic view of the situation: if they have plenty to eat, they have no incentive to look for more food. these cats, had they grown up in the 'wild' would have caught their food to stay alive, and i have no doubt they would have been successful. i'm afraid that feeding them constantly makes them fat and lazy. it certainly does the same for us, does it not? i'm not thinking of starving them, but rather not allowing them to be such gluttons, where they eat so much they CAN'T move. i'm thinking a reasonable diet, as is the case with us, will actually give them more energy. with more energy, they may like to play more, chase things more, be happier, be healthier.
post #13 of 21
I hate to break it to you loulou but after awhile indoor cats just get very comfortable with their situation, and most altered cats even loose that edge even more. Before we had Niko spayed Niko would chase after spiders that entered the apartment. Now she just watches them with half opened eyes like she really could care less.

You won't put the hunter instinct back in them. It's gone. If they ran away and came back weeks later most likely they would be very thin, dirty, and starving. They are used to having their food given to them and like all of the creatures that roam this earth once a pattern is set for them they won't change because they don't want to change.

Princess Purr's idea is pretty good. If you really want a cat that will hunt the vermin that plague your lawn then go to the local shelter and pick up a previously outdoor female who is still pretty young. Ask the people there, and maybe if they know something about their history they can help you out. Then you can put your boys where they wish to be and you have not only saved a life, but also have something to keep the vermin busy and out of your house.

If another cat is not possible either financially or personally then I would recommend exterminators, bug bombs, and mouse traps. If your cats are getting used to the great outdoors then you can keep them outside while you go about reclaiming your house.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
thanks for your reply. and thanks everyone for your help and ideas. looks like it is me versus the mice while the cats watch (at least when they're awake)
post #15 of 21
I'm thinking that hunting is a taught skill. Perhaps if you were to get a rescue kitty that is a mouser, he or she could teach your kitties how to hunt.

Many kitties will chase a lazer pointer and try to catch it. Maybe with a bit of imagination you could get them interested in chasing things once they chase the light. Add catnip to toys that are on a string or toy fishing pole. Praise them when they chase the toy. Some folks have had luck rolling bits of kibble to initiate the pounce and devour instinct.

I hope this helps a little.
post #16 of 21
Again let me say that cutting back their food will not make them good hunters. Cats need the food to hunt, they need the nutrient energy they have stored inside to stalk, and hunt and successfully kill. I have a wonderful muted tortiseshell by the name of Karma, she only has one eye, and she is the most experienced and successful hunter of my crew. If it were true that hungry cats can catch and eat prey, when she was rescued, she wouldn't have been the scrawniest, thinnest, sickest cat in the group, but she was. Over time, with food and love, she lost her fear of people and has become one of the best mousers around. She goes to the farms near us and hunts for the farmers clearing thier grain bins of rodents- they all love her.

Your cat's prey response is gone and buried. If they found themselves outside and starving, I doubt they could survive. I am not saying you are thinking of starving them, just trying to make a point here. Enjoy these two cats and thank your lucky stars that at 5:00 a.m. when you go to put your slippers on you don't find a dead thing inside to greet your foot! Or that you don't wake up and find a dead bug on your pillowcase, and your kitty looking at you with a gleam in her eye, like "Did I do good Mom or what?" LOL Not a fun experience!
post #17 of 21
One other thing to think about - the cats could get parasites and other nasties from consuming their kills.
post #18 of 21
My cat Missy sneaked outside and, up to that point, I did NOT think she was a hunter of ANY sort! --I've had her for 7 years now! Well, I was talking on the phone, and the screen door was apparently, stuck open about 4 inches, and Miss Missy sneaked out, grabbed a little mole, ran back inside and dumped that nasty thing right on my foot!!! AAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKKKKK
She is ALWAYS inside, and NEVER chases bugs at all! So, when she did that, I was TOTALLY shocked! Also, she never seemed too overly interested in getting outside either... Goes to show you, that you just do not know what a cat is REALLY thinking of!!!
So, your cats may surprise you. But they are probably more healthy staying with the food you are already giving them, so as not to devour bad germs and parasites!
post #19 of 21
Ah, she's showing that she loves ya. :-)

I read once in a kitten book that cats bring back dead animals because they feel their owners are poor hunters and need someone to feed them. Cat to the rescue with the dead mouse!
post #20 of 21
TeeHee!!! You are probably SOOOO right, Xastion!!!!
post #21 of 21
House cat hunting has nothing to do with whether or not they are well-fed. They hunt because of instinct and training by their mothers. And it is true that females are generally more likely to hunt. This is because females are the ones who provide for their offspring. Also, sometimes cats who do not hunt were removed from their mother before they were weaned and could learn to hunt. You said your cats were brothers. Could this be the case?

I've only had one cat who didn't hunt, and he was a male whose mother died before he was weaned, so he was raised completely by humans. I swear he waved and said hello as cockroaches walked by him. Drove me nuts, but we also have a female who lives to hunt and I would just call her. The male cat would watch amused as she caught the bug, but never really seemed to be interested in doing the same.
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