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Playing with moths? Moral question.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I know several people who have cats and allow them to chase and catch moths. Most people wouldn't think twice about this. I often feel guilty about keeping an animal in captivity and feel that it would be very stimulating for Tiki if I bought her a live mouse. I was just wondering how others feel about this? How is the mouse different from a moth? It seems that most cat owners are very empathetic towards animals so I'm sure that this will be a very unpopular post. I apologize in advance.

post #2 of 18
I honestly don't think I could do it because I think mice are really cute and have always wanted a pet mouse (won't do it though because of the cats). I learned a long time ago that I can't have anything live that the cats would consider prey/play. I was taking care of a friends beta fish while she was moving and Toonces knocked the bowl over, killed and ate half of the fish! There are plenty of stimulating toys on the market for cats that would be fun for you and Tiki. Toonces absolutely loves the feather poles. She can really get going when I get it out and will sometimes jump 4 feet in the air! I do think getting a live mouse to stimulate your cat is kinda cruel but I can understand your reasoning behind the idea. I suggest you go to a local petstore and check out the toys they have for cats. You will be amazed at the selection. What toys do you currently have to stimulate Tiki?
post #3 of 18
How funny that you bring this up... I have thought the exact same thing - my indoor cat just goes crazy whenever there is a bug in the house. And I let her chase them down and torment them (at least that's what it looks like to me). I also feel like she's denied some part of her innate "cat"ness by being inside all the time. Actually once I brought in a bug from outside for her to play with (and kill and eat) and later I thought, why did I do that? What did that bug ever do to me? If it was already in the house, that's one thing, but I felt a little bad afterward and haven't done it again. I agree with you that a mouse should be no different than a moth. But I think my own squeamishness makes me draw the line at mammals. It's totally arbitrary, I know.

In college I lived with a guy with a snake and he had to feed it live mice, of course. I know it's natural but still somehow it gave me the creeps to buy a mouse and put it in the tank to be killed. And believe me, I'm not a PETA member or anything. I enjoy a big ole cheeseburger as much as anyone. So I'm not against killing animals, but I just don't want to see it! Terrible hypocrisy.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by sfell
What toys do you currently have to stimulate Tikki?
I've got play mice, ping pong balls, feather on a string (replaced with a candy wrapper cause she got bored with feathers), the ball in the hoop thing, a leash to walk her with, a big fluffy duster (one of her favorites), bottles caps (she looses her mind when I throw them). THe problem is that she gets bored very quickly and stops playing with the toys. She is obsessed with "live" things. She had gotten stung a few times by the wasps that have gotten inside, but she still hunts them ...cautiously. :karate:

post #5 of 18
I don't think I'd do it. Aside from the grossness of it (blood and guts on your carpet), it's a good way for your cat to pick up some worms.

I know they sell mice at pet stores for snacks and other reptiles, but that's all these animals can eat. They have to eat these to survive. But a cat is getting what it needs from the food you feed. Also, snakes don't play with their food. If you bought a mouse for your cat, think of the terror this little one would go through before your cat actually killed it.

If you really want to give her live things, I guess you could buy some crickets at the pet store and try those. Also, my friend has put a feeder goldfish in the toilet to let her cat try to hunt it. (But she doesn't let her cat kill it.)
post #6 of 18
I think the same, I have saved a few birds and some mouses from my cats. I can't see the "thing" actually happening. However since my cats are indoor/outdoor cats, I know that they chase a lot of bugs and little animals outside. When I don't see it, I don't care.

I think that's typical of city people... we are not used to living on a farm for example where cats chase mouses for the family sake. I never have seen a cow, a pork killed for instance but... I eat them... I just don't want to see it.

I am unable to bring a bug in the house for the cats to play with it!

I don't think is hypocrisy, I think that's the way i have been raised. My husband is the same, he will not kill a fly if he can avoid it... And about spiders, it enrages my mum that I let some spiders make a web in darker corners of the rooms but you know what? They catch a lot of mosquitoes! And they are little spiders, not big hairy ones... I guess I am only trying to respect life in each and every form...

post #7 of 18
Hmmmmmm. It sounds like Tiki is a regular Commando I think the behavior experts here are going to need to help you out on this. I would be afraid that getting live mice for her might make her too aggressive and if she started eating the mice it might jeopardize her diet. These are just my theories though. Good Luck with this!
post #8 of 18
It is in Tikki's genes to hunt, but you already know that. If she was out in the wild, she would be an accomplished hunter if ample prey were available. If I told you that letting a cat kill a mouse is wrong, I would he a hypocrite, my ferals are also accomplished hunters and our hay barn is full of mice that they hunt down and kill. They don't torment them, they just go right in and take care of the mice, and I feel badly but we can't have mice in our hay. But, if I had an inside cat, there would be no way I would introduce blood prey to it. Sometimes, when a cat tastes blood for the first time, it can change the behaviour, and Tikki appears (in the pictures) anyway that this cat is quite mellow.

Sometimes we forget that animals live in a world of their own, and we project what we think they need, when in actuality, they are fine the way they are and it is our guilt that is supplying that train of thought. Does that make sense to you? I have a dear friend who saves tigers, and other exotic cats and she has never given them any live prey, always just raw meat, and the caracos (I spelled that wrong) she gives raw chicken to them. Tikki has adapted quite nicely to the life you have provided. If you want to stimulate her, bring in a nice solid fish tank and make sure the top is secure and fill it with fish, but as Tikki grows, that tank may tip over.

You have decided to take a cat that should be in the wild or at least outdoors and put her inside. And, there is nothing wrong with that, our neighbor down the road has a puma she keeps only inside. But try not to stir up her innate sense of being a huntress or you might be surprised at the results. This is just my opinion and not a lecture.
post #9 of 18
I have to agree with the others that getting her a mouse isn't a very good idea.
I know, in my case, our cats wouldn't even go after it. They love catching bugs that come into the house but when the occasional mouse finds its way in they just look at it and wait for us to capture it. They watch the birds through the windows and look and sound as though they would like to catch them but I doubt they would do that either. I guess they never learned how from their mother. They are happy enough with each other and all their toys and the bugs that make their way into the house.
It sounds like your cat is a born hunter. I didn't know that about Bengals. I liked what hissy said in her post and I think she worded it nicely. Good advice.
post #10 of 18
Ok Sorry people, I've no advice to give here or even an opinion, I just wanted to tell you about a little experience I had the other day - to do with "moth chasing"!! We were sat on the couch watching Monty (the Rex) playing in the hallway - attacking the toggles that are on one of the coats.... he suddenly stopped, looked up at the wall, and then disappeared into the kitchen....5 seconds later he came charging out of the kitchen and literally ran up the wall!!! All four paws were bounding up the wall, until then, he flicked out his front left paw and splatted a poor little moth!! as he slid back down the wall the moth guts unfortunately slid along with him....eewww but we were totally amazed he could do that!! He just looked at the wall and sauntered off as if to say "Yeah? what?" :laughing: (hes also good when it comes to catching spiders when hubby is not around!)

post #11 of 18
Cute story! One of my most accomplished hunters for bugs was surprisingly my blind kitty Tag. We built an outside enclosure for him finally because we thought being in the sun would be good for him, and he would capture any bug brave enough to enter this cage like enclosure! We even witnessed him digging in the dirt until he unearthed a beetle and scrunched it down. If a fly got in the house, he would be the first one to leap and capture it. Truly amazing how honed in he was with the senses he did have!
post #12 of 18
Hissy, I bet you couldn't hide any treats from him either eh? :laughing:
post #13 of 18
I wouldn't get her a mouse. For one thing like Dawn said, mice carry parasites and diseases you don't want to expose her to.

Also, I think it's too cruel really. There is a difference between a mouse and a bug. Mammals are higher up on the evolution chain and a mouse is quite a clever little creature, perfectly able to sense fear and stress. I know that cats hunt mice outdoors, but if I can help it I will save the little mouse anytime. I think that you may want to use those great toys she has and innitiate some interactive playtime, 2-3 sessions a day of 20 minutes each would make Tiki one happy Bengal Alternatively, another kitty would also do wonders to alleviate her boredom! That is if she is bored. If she's not and you're just wondering whether to let out the tiger in your Bengal, I would stick to toys and the odd bug that enters the house.
post #14 of 18
A fish in the toilet? :LOL: Can you imagine the reactions if company unexpectantly discovered the ? I would love to be a fly (moth?) on the wall for that one!

I agree with the no mouse policy, the cricket idea might be a good one, although that kinda creeps me out too....
post #15 of 18
I don't think I could do it. I wouldn't want to clean up the mess that was left and I can't stand to be anywhere near mice. I live in the country and ocasionaly during the winter months a mouse or two has some how gotten inside. Believe me it's good to know my cats are quite adept at hunting them down and riding me of the problem but they are inside cats and have always been, so when this has happened I have woken up to finding their nights entertainment in the floor next to the bed or they bring it to me while I'm in the shower and leave it on the bath rug, which I almost stepped on. Yucky! I kind of feel sorry for the mouse. To the cats it was just a toy to play with, and like others have said mice do carry parasites and such that cats really shouldn't be exposed to. This does remind me of the other day when a frog came through the front door when my husband came inside from work that night. The cats freaked. They hopped around after it for a minute but I made hubby remove the froggy before he got hurt. Some frogs are poisonous and I didn't want a frog running crazy in my house.
post #16 of 18
Okay Nite....here's my opinion.

difference between moths and mice.....one is an insect, one is an animal.

I have had pet mice in the past, and I know how sweet and loving they can be when in the right hands.

My Merlin loves to snap at flies, and chase moths, but when a real live mouse presented itself unwelcomed, in our house, he was so unused to it (inside cats are not natural preditors, because we feed them)....that he chased it...caught it...had it in his mouth, then let it go to play with it...then of course it ran of, and he caught it again....and then he let it go so he could play with it...this happened again and again until I finally got the poor mouse away from him, and took it (by the tail, I think it was in a coma...lol) outside and let it go free.

This was torture. Merlin didn't know any better. His instinct was to catch the mouse. But since he is well fed, unlike many feral cats, with the basic "kill mice" instinct, he didn't want to eat it...so he played with it, and ultimately tortured it almost to death.

I say skip the mouse.
post #17 of 18
I agree with the others. I believe as Anne does that there is a big difference between a mouse and a moth. A mouse has more feelings of pain and fear than a moth. A mouse will cry out too. We had a cat years ago and it caught a mouse in our home. The poor little thing was just sqeaking so much. Our cat was not a great hunter but he had a hold of him and didnt seem to know what to do with him. He didnt have nails either so he didnt get a good hold on him and I was able to rescue him. I hope I never hear that sound again.
post #18 of 18
A mouse in the house? No way! Way? Well, I am
sure this is a hot topic (tee-hee!). I would not
like a mouse in the house, personally! I think
different fun cat toys are best. Maybe you could
go kitty shopping at a cat show and see if you
can find some interesting toys (there are a lot
of cat toy sites with unique toys on them). Kitties
are like kids and they may get spoiled with too
many toys lying around. Maybe getting a neat
toy (like Claude the Huge Catnip Mouse) and putting
him away for a bit and then bringing him back out
would keep the kitty's interest. I just think
a rodent in the house wouldn't be healthy --
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