As carnivores and one of the smallest members of the cat family, our domestic feline friends naturally love to hunt and in many respects are built to kill.
With extreme agility, speed, a fine-tuned sense of hearing and night vision, domestic kitties are killing machines with an instinct to hunt. As Lisa Radosta from the Florida Veterinary Behavior Service highlights “The predatory behavior that cats exhibit outside as feral cats do not go away because you put them inside”.
Of course, if you live in a rural location, letting your cat lose to hunt is largely harmless, with many even using them as “natures mousetrap”. Yet, for many allowing their cat to hunt isn’t an option, especially indoor cats or those that don’t want to expose their beloved pet to disease.
Thankfully, there is a great way to satisfy cat hunting instincts appropriately, safely and without any mess – videos made with cats in mind. Often, these have been filmed by people who know how to please cats hunting ambitions and as many of them resemble natural prey; your cat is going to love them.
1. The Nature Trail
This video features up close and personal footage of grey squirrels and a range of birds including finches feeding and getting along with their daily activities. Your cat is likely to be glued to the screen for hours, just make sure to keep his claws away from the screen as he’ll probably try and paw them.
If you are allowing your cat to observe videos of natural prey items such as birds, ensure you monitor them carefully, while it can be entertaining, make sure your cat isn’t getting too frustrated. If they do, it might be time to call it a day. While some cats can watch animals from a window or on a computer screen for long periods of time, some have great difficulty.
It’s also quite common for cats to respond to frustration be taking it out on the next living thing, whether that be yourself or another family pet. It largely depends on your cats temperament, mood and whether they have a lot of experience acting out their predatory behaviour in a controlled manner.
2. The Mouse Trap
We’ve all seen Tom & Jerry, the cat and mouse chase is a classic hunt we’ve all been brought up with an awareness of. Cat’s don’t really seem to respond to any other prey like do with a mice – they’re fast, small and can dart from place to place in no time at all – the perfect prey for felines.
3. The Fish Pond
Who hasn’t seen a cat sitting by a pond playing with a fish? Similar to mice, small fish such as gold fish are ideal prey for cats since they offer them a challenge. Cats typically hate water, but love the taste of fish, so it’s often amusing to see how far they are willing to go out of their comfort zone for a little entertainment.
4. The Bird Collection
This video features almost 2 hours worth of bird clips, guaranteed to get your cat stimulated and energized. This is very important, since if cats become bored and receive a lack of stimulation, emotional and behavioural problems can result.
What can You Do if Your Cat Doesn’t Like Videos?
If you find your cat doesn’t really respond well to videos, either by ignoring them or becoming frustrated, then a laser pointer can sometimes be a good alternative. However, remember to use it with extreme caution and never ever shine it into your cat’s eyes as it can lead to severe damage. And again, just like videos, it’s important to make sure they aren’t becoming too frustrated as they are unable to catch it, this is largely about balance. Don’t do it for too long, perhaps 10 to 20 minutes daily.
It’s a good idea to use the laser with an accompanying toy to give your cat something to “catch”. Otherwise, you may find them getting very frustrated, which can often result in them biting owners.
If all else fails, then you might want to try cat toys instead, that your cat can actually handle and play within their paws.