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Help! For the second time, Amy has lost a mouse. How do I get her to go for the kill?

I've tried petting (an 'I know you're busy right now' light rub) and praise in a kitty-appropriate voice while she still has the mouse in her mouth, so I think she realizes I believe she's done a good thing. And my temptation - both times - was to open the door and have Amy drop the rodent on the porch. But it's in the 20s outside, and besides, Amy is strictly an indoor cat.

Amy has killed a couple of mice in the past (one of which I only discovered after wondering what velcro item I had put in the dryer), so I know she is capable. And Amy can be talkative.




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Comment Preferences

  •  I have a herd of cats, indoor-outdoor, because (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frankenoid, jabney

    I have teh kitteh doors in my kitchen door and past that in the utility room door to outside.

    So I am a frequent recipient of my furry family's "trophies" which they catch in the pasture and bring back in through those kitteh doors, so as to get approval on their hard work.

    Usually it's the younger cats who do this this, the older one just eat them out in the yard.

    Here's the thing - the cat will almost always catch the mouse - but unless she is hungry you can't get her to kill and eat it... instead, she will just drop it and let it run off (funs over for now, mouse, nice to eat you later).

    So, if you want the mouse gone...

    When you catch her with the mouse in her mouth, say "good kitteh!" - but open the door no matter how cold and move her and the mouse to the porch. If it's cold, and she's not hungry, she'll likely drop that little rodent and dart back inside. If she's hungry, she'll crouch down and crunch it.

    "in Order to form a more perfect Union"
    Basta de Guerra. No más. Enough War. No more.

    by Angie in WA State on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 03:59:22 PM PST

    •  And Amy is Seldom Hungry (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, WiseFerret

      She's a well-proportioned small cat and seems quite capable of moderating her intake of food. In other words, I keep dry food in her bowl pretty much all the time.

      Thanks for the response.



      •  Maybe you might try putting her food away (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, jabney

        at prime hunting times. Like putting the food dish away for the night and bringing out in the morning. It won't hurt her any, she will get used to the routine and it may encourage her to "snack".

        My cats are supposed to hunt and they are only fed at 1 time of the day and I try not to give them more than they will eat in 20 hrs. They are quite used to this and I can tell how easy the hunting is based whether there is food from the previous day or not. Right now, with rain flooding out rodent holes and cutting off escape, they are only eating about half the dry kitty food as they do in dry weather!

        I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

        by WiseFerret on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 05:38:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amy may be trying (4+ / 0-)

    to teach you how to hunt.

    It's not uncommon behavior with female cats, although not all of them do it.  That she's eaten mice shows you that she knows what they're for (some cats don't).

    In any event, when a queen has kittens, she teaches them how to hunt by following a progression.

    First they bring a dead mouse to the nest, rip it open, and show the kittens that it's food.

    Then they bring a badly wounded mouse, and have the kittens make the kill.

    Nest is a slightly wounded mouse -- one that will be a challenge, but that the kittens can still easily dispatch.

    Last, they bring in live prey -- the final step before showing the kittens how to find prey.

    Some cats have a very strong maternal instinct that's not eliminated by being spayed.  Eventually she'll figure out that you're hopeless and will never learn to hunt.

    And be grateful -- I had a cat who tried to teach me to hunt by bringing me birds -- the live sparrow on my pillow at 2:00 a.m. was not appreciated!

  •  It has been my experience (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, jabney

    that cats don't eat their prey unless another cat shows them that it is food. They all will instinctively catch prey, but they just think that it is a toy.

    My big problem is rescuing birds due to my bird feeders.  I have two cats. I can usually rescue a bird from the girl cat. There is no point in rescuing one from the big male cat, though.  He inserts his teeth into its spine as soon as he catches it so it is always too late by the time that I get there.

    I think that they bring it into the house because it is a controlled environment, sort of like the way that they drop their toys into the food or water bowl, just so that they know where it is.

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