Cat hunting behaviour solutions
Step One: Understand cat hunting behaviour
Cats are natural predators and hunt well instinctively. They can also learn to become efficient hunters. If you understand just why and how cats hunt, you may be better able to prevent them.
Step Two: Take responsibility
Although cat owners often value the independent nature of their pets, we must still take responsibility for our cats’ behaviour. It is good practice to keep cats indoors at night, from before dusk until after dawn. As well as protecting our native wildlife, we are reducing the likelihood of injuries to our cats through car accidents, a common occurrence at night.
Tempt your cat home by saving their last meal of the day until then or try feeding them smaller, more regular meals to reduce their wandering.
Step Three: Short-term management
Do you know where your cat is right now?
Keeping cats inside
It is up to owners to keep their cats indoors. This means closing windows, doors and cat flaps.
Bells on collars
If your cat is a hunter, then placing bells on their collar is a good idea. Unfortunately most prey animals so not hear the bell until too late and most do not even know that a bell signifies danger!
Having a bell on your cat's collar, however, allows you to hear them so you can keep an eye on them at all times.
Step Four: Long-term management
If you decide to keep your cat indoors at all times, remember to give them adequate stimulation. A window seat, a cardboard box, climbing shelves and scratching posts help to keep cats occupied.
Cats will willingly play hunting games with their owners and a variety of toys can be bought or made that stimulate a cat’s instinct to hunt. Although cats hunt on their own, they can actually be quite sociable animals and may enjoy the company of another cat at home. If we give our cats enough attention at home, then they may not need to wander into our native bushland.
Kittens who are not exposed to the hunting behaviour and tuition of their mother will not learn to hunt as readily as those kittens who are. Do not allow your mother cat to hunt while she has kittens.