Domestic cat's predatory instinct which was so essential cannot be obliterated overnight

Until around the 1980s, the predatory instinct of domestic cats was essential to them because commercial cat food do not contain all the correct nutrients. But since around the 1980s or perhaps a bit earlier in the 1970s domestic cats have been relieved of the need to hunt to ensure that they have a balanced diet containing the nutrients that they need. 

Feline predatory activity. Photo: Tambako the Jaguar
Feline predatory activity. Photo: Tambako the Jaguar


And this is today's perhaps biggest dilemma with domestic cat caregiving. How do cat owners allow their cat companions to express their hunting instincts without upsetting the ornithologists and the wider anti-cat lobby who bombard the Internet with articles about the billions of native species lost to domestic cat predation.

The anti-cat lobby relentlessly wheel out information from the same study by the Smithsonian in which the scientists did their best to estimate the impact of domestic and feral cat predation on wildlife in the USA. However, over the years these estimates have become fact but they are not fact. Unfortunately people have started to believe the figures. They might be correct. 

We don't know but the current situation is unsatisfactory because a significant percentage (see link below) of concerned cat caregivers are not only concerned about cat welfare but about the wider welfare of all animals including wild species. They don't like cat predation any more than the anti-cat lobby does. But what can they do about it?

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Internationally almost 50% of domestic cats are kept indoors for their safety

They can keep their cats inside, is the answer given to them by those who don't look after cats. But we, who do, know that this is a very big compromise which works against domestic cat welfare. Pretty well nobody who keeps their cats indoors full-time does a good job of allowing their cats to express their hunting instincts in some form of substituted hunting game.

So the domestic cat is left in a position where they don't really fit in the modern world any more. They are behind the curve. They need to lose their predatory instincts but they can't switch them off. It will be hundreds of years before they do. 

The early years of domestication, many thousand years ago, were probably the best for the domestic cat except for the fact that there were no veterinarians at that time! They found their own food through hunting and it was high quality, containing all the required nutrients. And now, that skill is no longer required and it undermines their quality of life and even their existence.

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