Sunday 1 June 2008

Domestic cat hunting

domestic cat hunting
Domestic cat hunting
Elderly domestic cat and first kill.

My cat, who is a good 15+ yrs old has I think just participated for the first time in her life in a bit of hunting. I am thrilled for her and sad for the mouse.

Every morning she wakes me up at about 4-4:30 to be let out to go into the garden. There is a cat flap but she doesn't like to use it (but well able to) as she is a little old and a little overweight.

So, I let her out and go back to bed. I leave the patio door ajar to allow her to get back in otherwise she'll get me out of bed again. Well, I've been doing this for a bout 5 months now and yesterday I paid the price and was burgled. It is believed that a boy on a bike came into the apartment car park on a bike and into the back gardens. He saw the patio door was ajar and then saw my wallet. Anyway, I lost $400. And my cat, Binnie found a mouse (see picture).

Hellfire and damnation it was an exciting morning. Binnie was exhausted and spent the next several hours resting. I pretty much did the same after I had spent some time looking for a boy on a yellow bike. I found an orange bike not too far away and photographed it, in the case the police could use it in their search for the burglar. Fat chance though. The police in the UK pretty well never find burglars and they treat this rather nasty crime as if it is a very low level inconvenience.

Back to domestic cat hunting. All cats have this skill deep inside them no matter how sedate and domesticated they are. It must be the season (early summer) that produced a lot of mice and even my girl cat couldn't avoid finding one and hunting it. I was astonished when she walked in with the mouse in her mouth. That's ma girl, I thought, like a proud father.

Domestic cats hunt on the ground mainly. Cats are good climbers, however. Domestic cats hunt in a patient and stealthy fashion. To hunt a bird the cat has to stalk as near as possible. The cat slinks along belly to the ground and she or he stops and pauses from time to time.

When close enough the cat launches a determined strike, using his hind legs to thrust him forwards rapidly.  Just before jumping forwards the hind feet tread the ground getting a firm footing. Once grabbed the cat kills the prey with a bite to the nape of the neck, severing the spinal cord.

If a cat is not feed by us he or she will hunt a wide range of prey, whatever is available. Rabbits are at the top end of prey size. Mice are perfect as prey. Birds are not a major prey item despite what bird conservationists say.

Some island populations of birds have been decimated by cats but it is rare and we introduced the cats in the first place.

There is little well produced research that assesses accurately the impact of native species by domestic cat hunting.

Domestic cat hunting to more on domestic cat hunting (you'll like the picture)

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