Why Tom Chases Jerry

May 25, 2018

Why Tom Chases Jerry

Cats love to catch mice and as natural hunters, they're very good at it. Your cat won't hunt because she's hungry she's far too well fed with Science Diet, cat food for that! She actually does it as a natural instinct.

This shouldn't cause you a problem, but you should discourage her from disturbing garden wildlife. Cats are born hunters.

Even at four to six weeks kittens start stalking and pouncing on the contents of their food bowl. Later, the twitching tail of the kittens' mother becomes a surrogate mouse. 

Hunting skills are refined under careful supervision of the mother. The kitten watches and imitates the mother and siblings, and the mother will bring the kittens live prey for practice.

This is why wild and feral cats generally kill their prey with a swift bite to the neck, but kittens who never learn this skill from their mothers 'play' with their prey when older, but fail to make a clean kill.

The mother's role as personal trainer is also one reason why a mature cat may bring her humans a live mouse as a hint that their hunting skills are below par.

Why Does A Cat Play With Her Prey

There’s a common misconception that cats torment their prey for fun, but the reality is that cats have an instinct to play with their prey because it’s the only way they can make a kill without risking injury.

Cats kill their prey by delivering a neck bite that severs the spinal cord. To do this, they must temporarily release the prey to get at the nape of the neck, but when they do so, they risk the prey escaping or counterattacking. Small animals will defend themselves if they get the chance.

Mice, rats, and other rodents can deliver a vicious bite, and birds can peck. A cat has a very short muzzle, and to get close enough to apply the neck bite, she risks injury to her eyes and face from the prey. Although they know that hunting is a natural behaviour, most cat owners don’t want to see other animals harmed. There are a lot of reason why cats play with they prey and if you want to know more please visit Cat Behavior.

There are a number of ways to prevent cats from catching birds and small mammals, including putting bells on their collars, ensuring that bird feeders are out of reach, and investing in high-tech devices that warn prey of a cat’s approach. Although all cats have the hunting instinct, in well-fed housecats, this behaviour can be redirected toward toys designed to simulate prey.

Cats Bringing Home Live Prey

Many cats bring dead animals home as “gifts” for their loved ones, but some also bring in live prey to present to their owners, much in the way they would for their kittens to let them practice their hunting skills.

A cat who brings live prey to her owner may believe that her human companion would appreciate the opportunity to practice these valuable skills.

Sometimes when a cat brings live prey home, instead of presenting it to her owner, she brings it to an area of the home that she considers her own space.

In this case, she’s gaining a home court advantage if she releases and recaptures the prey in its own territory, it will have a better chance of escaping, whereas on her own turf, she knows the layout and all the escape routes. see: My Cat, My Companion.

Benefits of Allowing Your Cat to Catch Mice

Allowing a cat to be a cat, to keep their deepest instincts alive, in almost all cases, will equate to a happier cat. Cats who are content, and who have an appropriate outlet for their pent up energy, will often abstain from engaging in some of the naughty household behaviors we scorn, like inappropriate toileting or the destruction of furniture.

Using your cat to catch some unwanted household visitors is fairly common. It’s rodent control without poison, and more humane to the pest than a sticky trap or a snap trap. Sometimes the cat won’t even need to catch the mouse to have the desired effect of driving the pest away. A cat’s lurking presence is often enough to evict squatting rodents. Read more at Cat Pets.

Risks Associated With Mice and Rats

There are several ways your cat can be harmed by exposure to rodents. Mice and rats may carry viruses, bacteria, parasites, and even toxins that can affect you or your cat. 

Cats Might Be Contaminated With These:

Leptospirosis

Some rodents carry a bacterium called Leptospira. Though leptospirosis is rare in cats, humans are quite susceptible to the disease.

    Your cat may bring in an infected rodent, exposing you or other pets to the disease. Leptospirosis causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to liver disease in dogs and humans.

    Plague 

    Some rodents carry plague, an infection caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. This is the same bacteria responsible for causing the infamous "black plague" of the middle ages. Plague is often transmitted by fleas, but cats can be infected by eating the meat of infected animals (often small mammals). 

    Cats infected with Yersinia pestis may experience lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, muscle soreness, and fever. The cat may develop lymph node enlargement, lesions in the mouth, and weight loss. Treatment involves the use of antibiotics and providing supportive care. The sooner treatment can begin, the better the odds of survival.

    It is uncommon for humans to contract plague. When they do become infected, it is usually through a flea bite. Symptoms and treatment are relatively similar to those in cats.


    Bites and Scratches

    Defensive bites or scratches from rodents can cause wounds to your cat. Though some wounds will heal on their own, others will become infected. Your cat may develop an open sore or an abscess at the time of the bite or scratch. 

    If you notice a wound on your cat, be sure to see your veterinarian. Treatment with antibiotics may be necessary for the wound to heal. In the case of a serious abscess, the wound may need to be drained or even treated surgically.

    Toxoplasmosis

    Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases in cats. This infection is caused by the Toxoplasma gondii Toxoplasmosis can affect many animals, including humans. However, the cat is the ideal host for Toxoplasma gondii because it is the only animal in which this microscopic parasite can complete its life cycle.
    Cats become infected by Toxoplasma gondii by ingesting the cysts of this parasite. Most often, this occurs when cats eat mice or rats infected with the parasite. However, they can also ingest it during grooming after coming in contact with infected soil or feces.

    Cats infected with toxoplasmosis will often show no symptoms. In rare cases, cats will develop lethargy, gastrointestinal problems, or even respiratory issues. Many cats will remain silent carriers their whole lives.

     


    Intestinal Parasites

    Many rodents are infected with common intestinal parasites like roundworms. Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Some intestinal parasites can be passed on to other pets in the home.

    If your cat goes outdoors or is known to catch vermin, routine fecal testing is recommended to check for the presence of intestinal parasites. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-parasitic medications to deworm your cat. In addition, some monthly heartworm and flea preventive medications will deworm your cat with each dose.


    Hantavirus

    Several types of rodents are known to carry hantavirus. Cats can be infected by hantavirus but will show no symptoms, therefore the virus is not dangerous to them. In addition, cats cannot transmit hantavirus to people.
    However, humans can be exposed through contact with infected rodents. Though serious complications from hantavirus are uncommon in humans, exposure can lead to a serious condition called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.


    Rodenticide Toxicity

    If your cat eats all or part of a rodent that has ingested rat poison, your cat may also become poisoned. Rodenticide is highly toxic to cats. There are several types of rat poison, so symptoms and treatments will vary.


        Rodenticide may cause signs like lethargy, gastrointestinal upset, pale gums, drunkenness, seizures, and much more. If you suspect your cat was exposed to rat poison, seek veterinary treatment immediately. Aggressive treatment is often necessary.

        Toys to Entertain Your Cats

        Cat Scratchers

        Cats have a natural instinct to scratch. It’s one of the ways they mark their territory and tell other cats to stay away. It also helps to keep their claws short but sharp. Cats kept inside still have the urge to scratch.

        In order to prevent them from scratching up your furniture and to encourage their natural scratching behavior, you’ll want to make sure they have access to a scratcher.

        While they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, we like this one that hangs from a doorknob. It’s subtle, doesn’t take up any floor space, and each purchase provides a toy for a cat in a shelter. You can also check at online stores like activefelinesolutions.com.au for more scratching post.


        Ball And Track Toys

        These toys involve a ball inside a circular track. When the cat tries to get the ball out of the toy, it spins around the track instead. Cats can keep themselves entertained watching the ball circle around as they try to swat it out.

        We like this triple level ball and track (see: Track Tower, Legendog Cat Ball Toy Detachable 3 Layers Interactive Toy Track Toy for Pet Cats Kitten-amazon cat toy that can entertain multiple cats and makes it easier to interact with your cat in that you can spin multiple balls toward them.


        Catnip Toys

        The smell of catnip releases pheromones in your cat. These feel-good brain chemicals give your cat a sense of euphoria similar to a hallucinogenic drug. In that regard, catnip toys might make your cat happier than any other toy.

        They come in a variety of sizes and styles, but we love these sushi catnip toys and these techie catnip toys. Each purchase also provides a toy to a cat in a shelter to help them get adopted! 

         

        Realistic Mice

        The best way to get a cat to play is to spur their natural desire to hunt. Mice are a natural prey for cats, so they’re a great choice for a cat toy. They come in squeaky, colorful, bouncing, and robotic varieties.

        Hanging Teaser Toys

        Some cats prefer to play with toys that are above them because it’s more similar to hunting birds. Hanging teaser toys hang on a doorknob, giving your cat a chance to play even while you’re not home. They can play with them while lying on their backs, giving even the laziest of cats a way to play!

        Treat-Dispensing Toys

        If your cat loves to eat and hates to exercise, a treat-dispensing toy can be a great way to get your cat up and moving. As they interact with the toy, it releases treats or kibble at a varying rate, keeping cats interested for a long period of time.

        If your cat eats primarily kibble, much of their daily food allowance can be kept in the treat-dispensing toy, forcing your cat to work for his food like he would in the wild.

        Wand Toys

        Arguably the best toy for playing with your cat, wand toys allow you to simulate prey and stimulate your cat into chasing and hunting the toy. It’s a great way to interact and bond with your cat while giving them exercise.


        Plus it gives you the satisfaction of watching them have fun! This one uses a thin, flexible, pet-safe wire instead of a string to give the toy on the end even more bounce and life.

        You can also purchase at online store like the activefelinesolutions as they can also provide the best toys that suite for your Cats.

         

        Prevention

        The only effective way to keep your cat from hunting is to make sure she remains an indoor cat of course, this may not always be practical, especially if she is accustomed to being out and about. You could try stimulating her with more play at home.

        Activities that simulate hunting like chasing toys or playing with other cats may give your cat the 'fix' they need to keep them from hunting outdoors.