or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Behavior › How can I stop my cat killing rabbits?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How can I stop my cat killing rabbits?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My cat is a serious hunter. Ever since the spring, we are getting several rabbits every week. Some are alive, some are dead, and he eats most of them (he eats the whole thing except the tail).

I have quite literally lost count of how many rabbits he has killed. We live next to a big field and every morning I let him outside and he loves it. It must be like a paradise for a cat. He is always at home around 6pm when I come home from work and I keep him indoors until the next morning.

I am getting concerned because he has killed so many, and a couple of times he has brought rabbits back which are still alive and my pet dog has killed them. I am really upset when the dog kills them. And also the way he eats them. How does he eat the skull, etc.? I hear him crunching every last bit of it. But he never eats the white fluffy tail. Would he not choke on the bones?

I cannot consider keeping him indoors full time. That would not be fair on him since he has been going outside since he was a kitten. I have been looking for rabbit toys for him so maybe to get him used to seeing the real ones outside?
post #2 of 22
Honestly, I don't see how a rabbit toy would substitute for the real thing.
Part of the fun for them is the hunt.

Have you ever thought of making an enclosure for your cat, so that it could be inside the enclosure but still outside to enjoy your yard?
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
I did actually think about an enclosure but he loves playing in the field. I don't think he would be happy in the enclosure even though it would be outside.

I don't mind when he kills mice or even birds, but this cat really only kills rabbits. He had a rabbit when he was about 5 months old. He isn't even 2 years old right now and I can't even tell you how many he has killed now!
post #4 of 22
You won't know unless you try? If the rabbit killing really bothers you, maybe you should build one and see how your cat adjusts.
post #5 of 22
The only way to stop it would be to contain the cat, there's no other option there, if you want to let him outside loose, he's going to continue to kill stuff, that's what cats do. And honestly it's less you have to feed him, rabbit bones aren't that big so your dog and cat shouldn't have any problem as long as they are chewing them, but I would watch out for worms from wild prey. My ferrets eat small rabbits whole although they leave most of the pelt. Not sure how much of his diet is consisting of rabbit, that meat is pretty low in taurine compared to others so if he's eating mostly rabbit, adding some chicken/turkey hearts into the mix a couple times a week might be wise. He might be eating mice/birds as well but not dragging them home because they are smaller.
post #6 of 22
The simplest response is this - you can't. An outdoor cat will hunt and kill whatever it feels like, whenever it feels like it. It's not limited to mice and rats. I once had one of my barn cats proudly bring me a baby bunny.

The only choice you have is to keep your cat indoors... otherwise nature will take its course.

Please make sure your kitty has all it needs to keep it save from parasites- and steer clear of Hartz!

Good luck!
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
What is Hartz?
post #8 of 22
Not sure but I think this is what she means.
post #9 of 22
Hartz is a brand of flea and tick prevention that has killed countless hundreds of cats. People often turn to it because hey, there it is on the shelf at Walmart, and they don't realize how dangerous it is. So, if your kitty is going to be indoor-outdoor, I just wanted to warn you to stay away from that stuff- it's not safe!
post #10 of 22
Rabbits are far from endangered, so my only concern would be that the rabbit may contain pathogens/diseases that he'd be exposed to and bring into your household as well. The bones and what not are fine though, no worries.

I'd be more concerned about the cat getting into birds nests, as around here at least there are several endangered songbird species, and the nests and new hatchlings are threatened by predators like cats. I know its REALLY bad for the native wildlife in Australia in particular.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziegfeldgirl27
I cannot consider keeping him indoors full time. That would not be fair on him since he has been going outside since he was a kitten.
IMO that's applying human thinking to a cat. Cats are very habit forming, and they do what they are used to doing. Ferals are turned into indoor cats all the time, and typically once that becomes their routine, they stick to that as well. Mine were found as kittens running about like most, but being caught and brought indoors for so long now they don't even try to wander out as that's not their territory, its not their routine, and so it doesn't interest them much. They are very affectionate and well behaved, and I think you'd have great success too after a bit of initial complaining.

Indoor cats live much longer and healthier lives than outdoor cats, with the only known downside being that they tend to get less exercise if you don't play with them everyday.

Up to you, but I would highly reconsider keeping kitty as indoor only, and add an enclosure if you like, but even that is optional.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziegfeldgirl27 View Post
My cat is a serious hunter. Ever since the spring, we are getting several rabbits every week. Some are alive, some are dead, and he eats most of them (he eats the whole thing except the tail).

I have quite literally lost count of how many rabbits he has killed. We live next to a big field and every morning I let him outside and he loves it. It must be like a paradise for a cat. He is always at home around 6pm when I come home from work and I keep him indoors until the next morning.

I am getting concerned because he has killed so many, and a couple of times he has brought rabbits back which are still alive and my pet dog has killed them. I am really upset when the dog kills them. And also the way he eats them. How does he eat the skull, etc.? I hear him crunching every last bit of it. But he never eats the white fluffy tail. Would he not choke on the bones?

I cannot consider keeping him indoors full time. That would not be fair on him since he has been going outside since he was a kitten. I have been looking for rabbit toys for him so maybe to get him used to seeing the real ones outside?
I have 4 indoor cats that never venture outdoors. I also have a semi feral cat that lives in my garage. She has it made for a feral in a heated garage, perch to sleep on, dry kibble available 24/7 and wet feedings 2x a day. Yet she still hunts. Rabbits are her favorite prey but she also kills many, many moles and mice. She is an accomplished hunter. I tried to domesticate her and make her an indoor cat but it did not work out so she now owns a corner of the garage.

I don't think it's possible to keep a cat from hunting when left to their own devices outdoors. My feral does not kill birds and shows little interest in them. She does go after anything furry. My best advice to you would be to make the cat an indoor cat only. Generally a cat will get used to being indoors and then that becomes the cat's territory and habit.

Ducman69 pointed out the possible issues with outdoor cat's other possible problems. My feral is caught and vetted once a year and wormed 3 times a year but it's not easy to catch her.

Best of luck to you!
post #12 of 22
ziegfieldgirl27's cat is a happily owned cat who likes to go outdoors, likes to hunt.

Some cats are happy indoors, others are not. Domino and Mr. Poe have never been outdoors since I got them last December. They're not door-dashers. ziegfieldgirl27's cat is a different matter.

My Fog cat was indoor / outdoor. He'd hunt rabbits, chipmunks, mice. I decided (for reasons unconnected with his hunting) that he'd become an indoor-only cat. Kept him indoors all one winter, no problem. He'd been indoors for months. Spring came. He wanted out, demanded it so insistently that he got his way.

Cats do not have our human scruples and find rabbits delightfully entertaining, tasty prey. Cats must find it puzzling that we do not share their point of view.
post #13 of 22
Speak for yourself, I think rabbit is delicious!

But I don't like the idea of my cat bringing ticks, fleas, and mites into my bed. A friend of mine got lyme disease from a tick bite that was diagnosed too late, and now has life-long joint pain.

Buttercup has at times stepped in her poo and walked around the house. If she had round, hook, or tapeworms, those can really do a number on people.

Not to mention if your cat ends up getting rabies from its prey, although more common in squirrels than rabbits.

Plus, welfare of wildlife aside, with all the cars and dogs and mean neighbors and automotive coolant spills and you name it, its not surprising that outdoor cats have shortened lives.
post #14 of 22
ziegfieldgirl27 didn't ask about keeping her cat indoors only. She wants to know how to keep him from catching and killing rabbits.

In decades of owning indoor / outdoor cats I have never acquired hook, round, or tape worms. Have had Lyme twice, but that was from tick leaping onto me when I was gardening.

Having had a college course in parasitology (astonishing what can live in or on us, and the clever ways they have developed to get there) -

Ticks hang out on tall grass and undergrowth, waiting for a warm mammalian body to pass by so they can leap aboard. Once aboard they're less willing to transfer to another potential host.

Fleas will leap around.

Tape worms - you need to eat infected fleas.

Hook and round worms - eggs excrete in feces must remain in the environment for 5 days to 2 weeks (depends on type of worm) before becoming infectious. Simple hygiene - washing hands with soap and water before eating or drinking - reduces any potential risk to an insignificant percentage.

Pin worms - walking barefoot on infested soil, eating a carrot pulled fresh from the garden where soil is infested and eating said carrot without washing have high transmission rates. But cats are not a host for pin worms.

Modern hygiene eliminates most of the parasites we used to have to cope with. That's why the TV show - forget its name - about people with all sorts of obnoxious critters living under their skin, in their gut, etc. has any appeal. This is such a foreign issue, one we are unfamiliar with, that it fascinates us.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catapault View Post
ziegfieldgirl27 didn't ask about keeping her cat indoors only. She wants to know how to keep him from catching and killing rabbits.
<snip for space>

I don't think it's possible to train a cat not to kill rabbits. Animals do not have the reasoning capabilities that we have as humans and I just don't think a cat will be able to discern the difference between what is okay to kill and what is not. I mean, will the cat be able to tell the difference between a rabbit (which is not okay to kill) and a mouse (which is okay to kill)? I doubt it. I might be very wrong on this one but that's just my take on it

I did know a house cat (indoor only) that did not kill it's owner's hamsters. The hamsters would get loose and the cat would gently catch them and drop them in the owner's lap. The hamsters would be completely unharmed but sometimes they did go into shock and die. Most of the time the hamsters were fine.

That is about the only time I've ever heard of a cat not killing it's prey.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catapault View Post
ziegfieldgirl27 didn't ask about keeping her cat indoors only. She wants to know how to keep him from catching and killing rabbits.
I'm sorry if this sounds snippy, but keeping her cat indoors is the only way to keep it from killing rabbits- period, end of story. There are no other means.
post #17 of 22
Not snippy at all. And it is probably the only possible answer. But I'm not sure ziegfieldgirl27 is willing to do that, since she wrote "I cannot consider keeping him indoors full time."
post #18 of 22
I couldn't possibly let my cat roam the outdoor by himself. I'm too paranoid for that. I like to know where he is at all times. He's my little buddy and should something happen to him because I allowed him to roam the neighborhood, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself.

Up until 2009, Lex was indoor-only. Now, after coming home, he and I take a stroll in our backyard. It's a compromise.

ziegfeldgirl27, perhaps you can keep him indoor until you get home, then you can chaperone his dalliances in the field.
post #19 of 22
There is a solution that will work for you, you can train your cat to use a leash and harness and take him outside with supervision in your yard so you can control him so he won't keep catching and killing rabbits.
My two cats were used to going outside all the time in their former home and Milly was a great hunter, catching mice and birds and eating them. She had fleas and worms when we got her because of that so we had to treat her for both when we got her.
Since she still wanted to go outside here at her new home we made a compromise and I trained her and Izzy to use a leash and harness and they can both enjoy going outside with us on nice days but staying in our yard and not hunting in the hayfield behind our house.
Milly still has amazing hunting skills, she once stuck her front leg all the way down a hole up to her shoulder and pulled out a young snake.(we took it away from her before she could eat it) Just a few days ago she was on her leash in the garden and she jumped up at one of our birdhouses and just about climbed to the top of the pole to reach the birds but I was able to stop her because I was right there on the other end of the leash.
I think that training your cat to use a leash and harness and supervising his time outside will work for you.
post #20 of 22

What about a bell? Did you consider a bell attached to your cat? One my colleague suggested this to me, I did not try it yet but going to.

post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuriy View Post

What about a bell? Did you consider a bell attached to your cat? One my colleague suggested this to me, I did not try it yet but going to.


Welcome to TCS wavey.gif

 

The thread you are replying to has been dormant for 2 years. Most of the members posting are no longer on here. Please note that the date of the post is in the upper left-hand corner of each post.

While this is a subject that needs discussing currently, older threads don't get many readers.

 

I urge you to start a thread about your cat, if this is a problem you want to see other member's feedback on.  I also suggest you introduce yourself and your cats in the New Cats on the Block forum.

 

Have a nice day.

post #22 of 22

what if my cat was born an outside cat and we made him an indoor cat and we let him play for two days outside and he still attacks bunny's and rabbits

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Behavior › How can I stop my cat killing rabbits?