Friday 10 September 2021

Why does this cat chatter his teeth when he sees a fly on the window?

Normally you see this form of "vacuum activity" when a domestic cat sees a bird outside the window and the cat is normally a full-time indoor cat. In this instance, the same effect is seen when a young cat sees a fly on a window inside the home. There are many amusing videos of this on YouTube.

Young cat performs the vacuum activity teeth chattering practice bite when looking at a fly inside the home
Young cat performs the vacuum activity teeth chattering practice bite when looking at a fly inside the home. Screenshot.

The same instinctive response takes place. The experts say that this form of, apparently, strange feline behaviour is a cat performing their highly specialised killing-bite as if they had the bird in their mouth already. This cat does not recognise the difference between a bird and a fly because the reaction is entirely instinctive.

Cats have a particular way of killing birds (normally). It brings about almost instantaneous death. A quick death is important in terms of avoiding injury. The cat crunches down with his long canine teeth aimed at the nape of the bird's neck. With a rapid juddering movement of the jaws, he inserts his canine teeth into the neck, slipping them between vertebrae to sever the spinal cord. 

This is what you see in this video when this young cat is 'chattering his teeth'. It's a bit like playing air guitar. There's no animal there to kill but as he can't get to the animal to kill, he perhaps, in frustration, does it all the same. My cat doesn't use this form of killing-bite on pigeons. He uses the neck bite which is a suffocating bite. This is exactly the same bite employed by the big cats when killing large prey animals. You have perhaps seen it on video. Basically, my cat suffocates pigeons which I think is horrible to see because he can do it right in front of me sometimes.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it. If a link it left behind, please click on it to be taken to the video.

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