What's Your Cat's Hunting Technique?

Cats hunt because they aren't fully domesticated; they've adapted to living and benefiting from humans. So, what's your cat's hunting technique?
What's Your Cat's Hunting Technique?
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Cats, like all felines, are excellent hunters. Most owners are probably amazed by their cat’s ability to chase their prey. But you, like many cat owners, might not be that familiar with your cat’s hunting technique. 

Why do cats still hunt?

Although they’ve learned how to live harmoniously with humans, cats are still not fully domesticated. In fact, some experts even believe that cats have domesticated themselves. In other words, they’ve allowed themselves to adapt to a domestic routine because it benefits them.

Debates and controversies aside, the truth is that our cats still have certain behavior patterns and habits that resemble those of wild felines. One of the greatest examples of this is their hunting instinct. 

Even if they live in a very comfortable home, almost all cats continue to chase their prey and execute their hunting skills. This is an innate need for cats that dates back to their origins and their wild ancestors.

How do cats hunt in the wild?

In nature, we see that animals use different hunting techniques to catch their prey and eat it. Felines stand out for being excellent strategists. They plan each step until they reach their prey. By doing this, they optimize their energy expenditure and ensure an effective attack.

A cat's hunting technique.

Although some felines hunt in groups (like lions), most maintain a solitary life. Therefore, they hunt on their own, and only get together to mate.

Learn about your cat’s hunting technique

Despite their small size in comparison to wild cats, cats also have the physical and mental attributes of a great hunter. Their body has all the necessary tools: well-developed muscles, great flexibility, very sharp senses, powerful claws, and a strong jaw.

If you take a minute to look at your cat, you’ll see how attentive he is to every move of his potential prey. This could even be an insect or a pigeon that he sees through the window. His concentration is so great and his senses are so powerful that, at times, it may seem like our cat isn’t looking at anything.

However, in reality, this is all a crucial part of your cat’s hunting technique: creating a strategy to hunt his prey. After he has waited the appropriate amount of time to launch his attack, you’ll see how carefully your cat acts. He’ll use all his strength and flexibility to finally get his prey.

Your cat’s amazing surprise weapon

Experts from the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow, Russia, recently conducted some studies that showed how cats also use a ‘secret weapon’ to increase the effectiveness of their hunting. Interestingly, this powerful ‘weapon’ is actually in their urine.

Normally, a mouse that smells a cat’s urine will try to escape immediately. This is because these rodents have neurons that are sensitive to some of the substances found in cat urine, especially felinine. 

A cat hunting his prey.

The rodent’s nervous system will quickly react to the stimulus. This then causes an increase in the levels of the so-called ‘stress hormone.’ Thanks to this, the animal can react and escape, thus avoiding an unpleasant encounter with the predator.

However, research shows that mice that have been exposed to cat urine from an early age are less likely to avoid or escape their odor when they’re adults. So, their response is calmer than that of mice that have not been in contact with this substance.

So, as part of a cat’s hunting technique, their urine could act as a ‘secret weapon’ because it increases the cat’s advantage over the mouse.

Does your cat bring you dead animals?

Many pet lovers have been surprised by a ‘gift’ from their cats. This strange habit of bringing their owners dead animals is connected to their family/group behavior.

Adult cats, especially females, should teach the young to start hunting on their own. Until they’re ready to capture their own prey, adults are responsible for bringing them food and keeping them well-nourished to survive. 

It doesn’t take long for our cats to realize that we’re not good hunters, and that we’d be in serious trouble if we had to catch our own prey. Therefore, to demonstrate their affection and care, they offer us their prey! They want to make sure we stay healthy and well-nourished!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.