Showing posts with label vacuum activity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacuum activity. Show all posts

Thursday 31 March 2022

Cat does 'vacuum activity' jaw chattering while attacking a fly!

This is unusual in some respects because normally we see what is described as "vacuum activity" when a full-time indoor cat is looking out the window at a bird and they are instinctively compelled to practice the bite on the nape of the neck of the bird to kill it. Because they can't get at the real thing the domestic cat instinctively chatters their jaw and Dr. Desmond Morris calls this "vacuum activity". 

It's called that because it occurs in a vacuum namely there is no actual prey item in the cat's jaws. Some people call this a "tooth-rattling stutter". I prefer jaw chattering but you can name it what you like.

Note: This is an embedded tweet. 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.

The cat that you see in the video who is stalking a little fly is performing a highly specialised killing bite as if the fly is within its jaws. Actually, the cat is behaving as if he or she is stalking a larger prey animal, normally a bird. If this was a genuine kill by a cat on a bird, his jaws would perform a "rapid juddering movement as he inserts his canines into the neck, slipping them down between vertebrae to sever the spinal cord.

Cat does 'vacuum activity' jaw chattering while attacking a fly!
Cat does 'vacuum activity' jaw chattering while attacking a fly! Screenshot.

Clearly, this can't happen with a fly as a prey animal because they haven't got a spinal cord! They have an exoskeleton instead 😉. This fly is the only prey animal available to this poor cat who is stuck indoors I suspect. 

I am all in favour of full-time indoor cats but one of the problems as is very apparent in this video is that cats don't get a chance to express their natural desires which more or less comes down to hunting.

So, when the best thing they've got to hunt is a fly the cat goes after it. Employing all the usual tricks to hunt a prey animal including stalking the fly along the carpet and then chattering his teeth in that version of vacuum activity and finally pouncing on the fly but failing to capture it.

Monday 8 November 2021

Cat chattering at a bird outside (vacuum activity)

Cat chattering at a bird outside (vacuum activity)
Cat chattering at a bird outside (vacuum activity)

This is well known feline behaviour. We see a lot of domestic at doing this. They chatter through the window at a bird outside in the garden because they can't get at the bird and attack it. The chattering is the cat practising the killing nape of the neck bite. This is a specialist bite designed to kill birds. In this instance the cat is also vocalising at the same time in excitement. Normally it is just a straight chattering which is a rapid movement of the jaws and a general sense of excitement. It's called "vacuum activity". This is because the activity takes place as if the bird is in the cat's jaws but there's nothing there. The word "vacuum" means nothing there in this instance and as there is no bird there the term is appropriate.

The 'bird-killing-bite' inserts the canine teeth between the vertebrae, which snaps the spinal cord. This results in almost instant death. It has to be quick in order for the cat to avoid an injury from the bird's sharp beak or the powerful teeth of a rodent. The killing bite incapacitate prey. Cats are unable to control themselves when they see a bird. They become frustrated and do the next best thing which is vacuum activity. Note: my cat employs the throat bite for pigeons which suffocates them. This is the same bite as big cats when killing large prey animals. It is distressing for me. He's only killed three pigeons his entire life of 6 years.
 

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.

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