Over the course of their first six weeks, kittens learn all sorts of important stuff: how to play, how to climb trees, how to bat at a string, and most importantly, how to hunt. Healthy kittens learn these behaviors by observing their mother, the world around them, and how they interact with their surroundings.
Kittens are fast learners, and in their first few months of life, their brain is incredibly elastic. Learning, memory, and skill acquisition are three processes that are closely intertwined. They can learn a new skill quickly, but it becomes more accessible with practice, requiring less mental effort to perform. When a skill is newly learned, it is fragile; if the kitten doesn't practice enough or the skill is forgotten, it will be lost. Kittens can't get it right the first time, and getting it wrong is part of what makes it right.
Hunting Is Natural and also Controversial
However, while the feline's hunting actions have long provided service to us, humans, by controlling pests population, nowadays predation by cats has never been more questionable. We take care of our cats at home and provide them with all their needs. When the biological activities to them, they make us angry, especially when birds are their victim.
It is essential to mention that feral cats make it through primarily by scavenging, not hunting, which means that even when cats hunt, their target is more frequently an undesirable mouse than an uncommon bird. Still, it is one too many in the eyes of some animal lovers.
The debate over feral cats reveals no indicator of resolving at any time soon. Similar with the dispute over keeping cats exclusively indoors.
Hunting Is A Learned Ability From Mom
"Cat and mouse," as per Merriam-Webster, is a contrived action including continuous pursuit, near captures, and repeated getaways--similar to the story of every Tom & Jerry. It backs up the fact that cats are adept hunters. Even if your cat lives inside your home, it has retained many of its wild ancestors' survival behaviors.
In their natural environment, felines are encouraged and driven by the sight, smell, and sound of prey to search for food, hide from predators, and protect themselves. Kittens are a perfect example of this. Their life revolves around play, and play is all about prey catching. Racing down the corridor, striking from behind the couch, whacking, and nipping are all screens of a kitten's instinctive hunting abilities.
Research suggests a connection between having play and hunt. Every little thing that a feline does when playing seems to be a part of regular cat hunting behaviors. Our fuzzy cats may be endowed with hunting and chasing instincts like excellent 'ole Tom, but they are not always born hunters that kill for food.
Killing and eating prey are typically learned behaviors. That's where mommy cat comes in! Kittens begin to acquire the mom's hunting example while they are still dependent on them. The mother cat does this by bringing the kittens some dead victims and teaching them how to hunt by example. Cats use sounds such as trilling to indicate the type of prey brought to them. As they age, the mom shows them to live victim and instruct them how to hunt through play.
Playing with a kindle is vital. The fierce tussle and tumble of kitties help them refine their hunting instincts and abilities. From around 8 to 16 weeks old, kittens can begin to hunt alone. Food is the ultimate goal for survival and, for cats, hunting is a private activity.
Cats are solitary hunters. This indicates that given a choice, they will undoubtedly find, capture, kill, and consume their dead prey in private, and, except for mommies showing their kittens to hunt successfully, the feeding process is not a socially interactive one.
How Do Cats Hunt?
When felines first learn how to hunt, they establish an extremely accurate, excellent technique. The first step is the identification of prey. When they find their potential prey, they begin to approach it, generally with their body to the ground and slowly getting closer to the game. That way, their prey doesn't notice them. Once the cat is close enough, they'll lean back on their paws and make their leap to capture their prey.
Cats are endowed with a very sharp sense of hearing that gives them the advantage of prey hunting. They can pick every sound or that their victim might make. In some cases, they even can hear their real prey from miles away.
When your kitten first starts hunting, you shouldn't allow it to go too far away. One alternative is to use items that enable you to track them.
Why Do Kittens Play With Their Victim?
After capturing their prey, you may witness your pet cat play or toy with it.
This practice may be because of your cat trying to confuse the victim and tire them out, making it much easier to kill them and lower your cat's chances of getting hurt.
This sort of pet cat hunting strategy starts with them crouching and focusing intently on their prey. Some call this prey spotting or the hunting dance. They'll patiently wait someplace where their ideal prey can't see them, then jump and capture their target.
How To Encourage Your Kittens To Hunt?
Some kittens can't learn the fundamental concepts of cat hunting behaviours from their mom. Nonetheless, you could want your cat to know just how to do it. There are some activities and a variety of toys that you can use for games. This includes chasing after toy mice or fake mice, and you can use these to aid them in establishing their hunting skills.