Can A Cat Be Trained Not To Kill?

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jefferd18

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I would say all cats are ‘micro panthers’ (or mini tigers or mini lions.) Their prey drive is insanely high. Some cats prey drive is higher than others. Some cats were taught how to properly hunt and others (like mine) are city cats.... completely clueless about how to hunt but desperately wanting to hunt! Their hunting/wild side is why we love cats.

My advice? Build a catio and get lots of bird feeders outside. Kick your cat out into his catio the same time everyday (for 2 hours 4 hours max.) Let your pretty birds run free while your boy is ‘outside.’ Also your kitty needs play sessions every morning and night. Just to be safe I would lick him out of the room the birds are in when you are gone.
Thank you for replying to my post, danteshuman.

I honestly can say that is one of their little quirks I don't like. I know, it is an instinct and a strong one at that. Some of my cats will just 'play' with what they catch and I can usually get it away from them. Figaro is different though, he really seems to want to kill, and since he was rescued at six weeks of age, with no mother to be found, he really doesn't have an excuse.

That is a great suggestion! I have a large screened in porch that I can convert to a catio. Thank you.
 
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jefferd18

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You can't train instinct out of an animal, some act on it more than others and there really isn't anything you can do about it.

Pretty much all of my Cats have been Mousers, but none of them ever went outside so I don't know what they'd have done with Birds. I did have one that kept trying to get my Frog so I had to give him up after his terrarium ended up on the floor a couple times. Thankfully it never opened, at least.
Thank you Talien.

No, I know you can't, but since most of my cats aren't killers, it is just foreign to me when one seems to enjoy killing,...its a little bit upsetting. I hate to give up on Figaro. This cat has a a lot of bad traits and I am afraid that he might be shuffled from one house to another, or worse--be abused.
 
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Kflowers

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I don't think you have the right take on it. It's not so much that he
enjoys killing as, "There, got something in case we need it. never
know when you run out of food." Since many bring their kills to their people it's rather like they are contributing to the household, like they
want to help.
 

Libby.

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Thank you for replying. I know, most people actually enjoy having a pest free home and yard. I am probably the only person who runs behind my cats yelling "drop it, drop it!" :)

Bogart probably had to hunt just to survive and I wonder if Bounder's mom had shown him how to hunt. I surprised that both of your males were hunters, I had always thought of the females as hunters because of having kittens, kind of like a lioness. Just goes to show you, that even though I have had cats all of my life, I am still a student when it comes to mysterious little felines
We got Bounder from a very nice man who's cat had kittens. Momma was indoor/outdoor obviously, but the kittens were indoors. I've heard that there is a hunting gene. I dunno. None of my other cats can hunt worth a darn.
 

Kflowers

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hawks scared my 50 lb dogs. when they would hear one, not the scream but apparently the wings in the air, they would stop barking at whatever they were focused on and go silent until it passed.
 
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jefferd18

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Those birds are adorable, but yes, you have to protect them from the cat in whichever way is the best for all of you.
Y
We got Bounder from a very nice man who's cat had kittens. Momma was indoor/outdoor obviously, but the kittens were indoors. I've heard that there is a hunting gene. I dunno. None of my other cats can hunt worth a darn.

I love his name. Wow, and he was raised indoors too.

LOL! Cats that can't hunt worth a dam? Now those are my kind of cats.
 

Libby.

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Y



I love his name. Wow, and he was raised indoors too.

LOL! Cats that can't hunt worth a dam? Now those are my kind of cats.
He was indoor/outdoor as soon as he was a year old. We lived in a townhouse subdivision and he had the run of the neighborhood. There were woods on one side of the property line that he liked to hang out in. I'm thinking maybe he learned to hunt watching the other cats in the neighborhood. There were a lot of cats.

Bounder was named after the daddy cat in Julie Andrews Edwards' (the actress) book "Little Bo: The Story of Bonny Boadicea". Bounder was Little Bo's daddy. It was one of my daughter's favorite storybooks at the time. We got Bounder for her when she was 4. They grew up together.
 
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jefferd18

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I don't think you have the right take on it. It's not so much that he
enjoys killing as, "There, got something in case we need it. never
know when you run out of food." Since many bring their kills to their people it's rather like they are contributing to the household, like they
want to help.

I had a female cat named Jeff, I will be posting about her shortly since she is the reason I joined this site. Two summers ago, at two in the morning, she brought me a gift when I went out to my porch to call her in. She laid the baby bunny gently on the top of my feet and then sat back to wait for my reaction. I was horrified at first until I saw, and felt, that the baby bunny was very much alive and uninjured. I had always read about cats presenting gifts to their human friends but never experienced it myself.

Jeff was not only a good friend, but she was also a gentle being who knew the value of life.
 
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jefferd18

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hawks scared my 50 lb dogs. when they would hear one, not the scream but apparently the wings in the air, they would stop barking at whatever they were focused on and go silent until it passed.

I can see why a dog would be apprehensive around a hawk, for though they may be little, they are extremely aggressive.

When I was six my collie/shepherd mix cornered a hawk against a tree, and even though my dog was acting all tough, he sure looked relieved when we all came out of the house to check on the commotion. My father and my two older brothers ended up taking the hawk to an wild animal rescue sanctuary.
 

danteshuman

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jefferd18 2 things:

1) if it was just some random birds and not your beloved pets, how would your reaction/view differ? I’m not sure if your issue is with hunting or killing you beautiful bird babies. * cats need play every day. So besides 1-4 hours in the catio he needs 1-2 play sessions with you where you make him hunt/chase the toy up and down stairs/ through tunnels/up cat trees.
2) their prey drive is evident when they are playing with another cat, stalking a wand toy or catching a lizard/mouse/bird/flu.
* my fat lazy city cat (Dante R.I.P. Bud) caught finches from the lowest bird feeder ..... then the jerk brought the live bird inside, up the stairs and into my room. He would release/catch/release/catch the poor bird to death. This was solved by raising the bird feeders. I was able to catch those I was aware of and I think 3-4 survived the encounter. Either way I released them in a safe spot in a tree, so if they flee to safety or die in peace (except the one that I strangled to death because it was in such a bad state .... and cried afterwards. It couldn’t move and have blood coming out of it’s mouth.... still feel guilty about that bird years later.)
* the reformed feral likes to hunt/catch hummingbirds as they use the water fountain. This was largely solved by him get older/lazier.... thank god!
* Sarah (R.I.P. Baby Girl) was a declawed cat (before I knew the horror of declawing) that learned how to hunt from a cat that was a good hunter. She slinked slightly so her bell wouldn’t give her away and then would lay in the grass perfectly still for a half hour if need be. She would jump up and wrap her arms/hug the pigeon to her chest and land still holding the bird, giving it a kill bite. She was this tiny, buff, 10 pounds of declawed hunting fury.
 

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yep, we rescued a mouse when it got away from our current cat in the house. We told it to tell it's friends there was a cat in here and not to come in. He seems to have done that.
God, I wish my mice were this smart. My cat is a total killer. I wouldn't trust her with any small animal. So far she's killed 8 rats. Never lost one. Mice she will not kill right away and if I can get them I send them outside with a reminder that they are being given a second chance and to use it wisely. Nevertheless neither rodent has told their outside compadres that our house should be taken out of the directory of hospitable rodent hotels. And they can't seem to figure it out for themselves. Actually, snakes are the only animals that have not reappeared (seemingly) after Ailish found two of them. Both remained alive to be rehomed and did seem to put the word out that there is a new sheriff in town at our house. I was given to believe that rodents would smell a cat and set up housekeeping elsewhere. Her toll is certainly less than that blood-soaked first winter, but the sight of her returning to her room with a mouth stuffed with rodent is not as uncommon as I would like it to be.
 

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It kinda seems like some cats just enjoy the challenge of hunting birds.

When Cookie was indoor/outdoor (she's strictly indoor now) she was a pro pigeon hunter. Las Vegas pigeons are massive beasts but she managed to take them down somehow and would leave them in front of the door in pieces. I think her climbing ability had a lot to do with it. She regularly climbed 20+ feet up into trees and leaped down. She never seemed to kill bugs or rodents for whatever reason. There was an injured pigeon (not her fault!) I took care of for a couple of months until a rehab center had space and she somehow knew not to eat that one. She watched me cleaning his box and would watch him running around the yard but she never went near him. It's like as soon as I tell her something isn't supposed to be eaten she leaves it alone.
 

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Two things...the mice never got it and if they were still alive and functioning I had to go and take them out of Zoe's mouth. Fiona, when she was about 15 and unwell, walked outside with me and immediately over to an elderly pigeon and killed it in the flash of an eye.
 

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I skimmed through most of this conversation and didn't see it mentioned, so if it was I am sorry for duplicating. From my experience and knowledge most cats learn to hunt and kill from their mom's. Now the chasing and stalking part is instinct but they have to be taught how to actually kill. This happens when the mom brings back live prey and kills it in front of them and gives it to them to eat. If they don't get this instruction then they will catch things like mice but often not kill them. The caught thing eventually dies in the process of play but it is not as directed as it is with a cat that has been taught to kill. To them the killing part is the whole reason for catching something. It is what they were taught to do. This is the reason why some cats have trouble surviving on their own, the didn't get taught to kill and eat. These cats also make really poor barn cats or farm cats because they ignore the mice and just sit by the dinner bowel. So if you have a killer it's because their mom showed them how to do it and demonstrated what prey is for, food.
I read one of those far side comics once a long time ago that had two vultures sitting high up watching things and the ones says to the other, "You ever get the urge to give up this thing about waiting and just kill something?" The other one answers "yeah, but you know that's just not out way". Good thing their mom's taught them well.
 
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jefferd18

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God, I wish my mice were this smart. My cat is a total killer. I wouldn't trust her with any small animal. So far she's killed 8 rats. Never lost one. Mice she will not kill right away and if I can get them I send them outside with a reminder that they are being given a second chance and to use it wisely. Nevertheless neither rodent has told their outside compadres that our house should be taken out of the directory of hospitable rodent hotels. And they can't seem to figure it out for themselves. Actually, snakes are the only animals that have not reappeared (seemingly) after Ailish found two of them. Both remained alive to be rehomed and did seem to put the word out that there is a new sheriff in town at our house. I was given to believe that rodents would smell a cat and set up housekeeping elsewhere. Her toll is certainly less than that blood-soaked first winter, but the sight of her returning to her room with a mouth stuffed with rodent is not as uncommon as I would like it to be.


Do know where they are getting in? Maybe sonic would help drive them out? I have used such devices to scare off moles and frankly to keep some of my cats off of the counters.
 
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jefferd18

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I skimmed through most of this conversation and didn't see it mentioned, so if it was I am sorry for duplicating. From my experience and knowledge most cats learn to hunt and kill from their mom's. Now the chasing and stalking part is instinct but they have to be taught how to actually kill. This happens when the mom brings back live prey and kills it in front of them and gives it to them to eat. If they don't get this instruction then they will catch things like mice but often not kill them. The caught thing eventually dies in the process of play but it is not as directed as it is with a cat that has been taught to kill. To them the killing part is the whole reason for catching something. It is what they were taught to do. This is the reason why some cats have trouble surviving on their own, the didn't get taught to kill and eat. These cats also make really poor barn cats or farm cats because they ignore the mice and just sit by the dinner bowel. So if you have a killer it's because their mom showed them how to do it and demonstrated what prey is for, food.
I read one of those far side comics once a long time ago that had two vultures sitting high up watching things and the ones says to the other, "You ever get the urge to give up this thing about waiting and just kill something?" The other one answers "yeah, but you know that's just not out way". Good thing their mom's taught them well.

LOL! I love it!

I know you are right, but I am assuming that I got lucky in life because I usually had the ignorant cats. Having a killer cat under my roof is totally new to me. I know this is a trait that they were once praised for, its just that I like ALL animals, even feral rodents. The only animals that was ever in danger when I was a little kid were my goldfish. I would come home, go to my room, only to find my goldfish floating on the surface. We had three indoor/outdoor cats at the time and I would always check to see which one had wet paws.

I honestly thought this characteristic was being bred out of cats, Figaro proved me wrong.
 
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jefferd18

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jefferd18 2 things:

1) if it was just some random birds and not your beloved pets, how would your reaction/view differ? I’m not sure if your issue is with hunting or killing you beautiful bird babies. * cats need play every day. So besides 1-4 hours in the catio he needs 1-2 play sessions with you where you make him hunt/chase the toy up and down stairs/ through tunnels/up cat trees.
2) their prey drive is evident when they are playing with another cat, stalking a wand toy or catching a lizard/mouse/bird/flu.
* my fat lazy city cat (Dante R.I.P. Bud) caught finches from the lowest bird feeder ..... then the jerk brought the live bird inside, up the stairs and into my room. He would release/catch/release/catch the poor bird to death. This was solved by raising the bird feeders. I was able to catch those I was aware of and I think 3-4 survived the encounter. Either way I released them in a safe spot in a tree, so if they flee to safety or die in peace (except the one that I strangled to death because it was in such a bad state .... and cried afterwards. It couldn’t move and have blood coming out of it’s mouth.... still feel guilty about that bird years later.)
* the reformed feral likes to hunt/catch hummingbirds as they use the water fountain. This was largely solved by him get older/lazier.... thank god!
* Sarah (R.I.P. Baby Girl) was a declawed cat (before I knew the horror of declawing) that learned how to hunt from a cat that was a good hunter. She slinked slightly so her bell wouldn’t give her away and then would lay in the grass perfectly still for a half hour if need be. She would jump up and wrap her arms/hug the pigeon to her chest and land still holding the bird, giving it a kill bite. She was this tiny, buff, 10 pounds of declawed hunting fury.

Yes, I would still be horrified, I love all animals, even dirty rodents.

Wow, you didn't have one slacker in the whole bunch, did you? :) Thanks for saving those little finches.
.
Don't ever tell the story of Darwin's finch catching days to a bird person. I belong to a parrot site and some of those people are just plain nuts when it comes to being anti-cat. Posts were always being put up about how feral/stray/outdoor cats were wiping out the bird population, and that's just not true by any stretch of the imagination. I would tell them that it is human beings, not felines, who were doing the bird population in. I had to fight those people back with a stick. :) I remember on one such post I ended one of my comments with an image of a cat doing a cheer, and the moderator made me take it down. LOL!
 
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jefferd18

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Perhaps you are seeing Darwinism in action with your rats.
I honestly wonder if animals are not more in tune with our language than we give them credit for.
 
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