Can A Cat Be Trained Not To Kill?

vyger

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I am thankful that I have a group that hunts. I live in the rurals and would be totally overrun with vermin if not for the cats. I have seen houses that have become uninhabitable because of mice infestations. We have "Richardsons ground squirrels" which we call gophers, in abundance.
Richardson's ground squirrel - Wikipedia
These guys make big mounds and form colonies. They will totally destroy gardens and yards and even farm fields. They burrow through irrigation embankments and make tunnels for the water to go through which can then erode and entire embankment and cost thousands to repair. Anyway my cats love them, for snacks that is. They have eliminated all of them in my area. They also prevent tree squirrels from being around (I found the feet and tail of one of those) and small rabbits, which everything eats. But they rarely bother any birds. I have nesting birds in my trees and the cats don't mess with them. But there are things that consider the cats to be fair game also. Last year I lost 2 of my smaller cats. They just disappeared without a trace. I think they got caught by a hawk. They were both under 7 lbs so about the size of a rabbit. The bigger guys are never bothered.
Anyway, working cats can be really good to have around. It is way better than having to put out poison bait or traps or shooting things to try and keep them under control. And in all fairness the vermin actually do stand a chance of survival, they just need to be smart about things.
 
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jefferd18

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I am thankful that I have a group that hunts. I live in the rurals and would be totally overrun with vermin if not for the cats. I have seen houses that have become uninhabitable because of mice infestations. We have "Richardsons ground squirrels" which we call gophers, in abundance.
Richardson's ground squirrel - Wikipedia
These guys make big mounds and form colonies. They will totally destroy gardens and yards and even farm fields. They burrow through irrigation embankments and make tunnels for the water to go through which can then erode and entire embankment and cost thousands to repair. Anyway my cats love them, for snacks that is. They have eliminated all of them in my area. They also prevent tree squirrels from being around (I found the feet and tail of one of those) and small rabbits, which everything eats. But they rarely bother any birds. I have nesting birds in my trees and the cats don't mess with them. But there are things that consider the cats to be fair game also. Last year I lost 2 of my smaller cats. They just disappeared without a trace. I think they got caught by a hawk. They were both under 7 lbs so about the size of a rabbit. The bigger guys are never bothered.
Anyway, working cats can be really good to have around. It is way better than having to put out poison bait or traps or shooting things to try and keep them under control. And in all fairness the vermin actually do stand a chance of survival, they just need to be smart about things.


Thank you for giving me another perspective on this subject.

Now bear in mind that some people (usually bird people, UGH!), will say that the cat is not native to this country and therefore is considered an invasive species that is creating an out of whack eco system.

My answer to such people, is that the house cat was brought over by humans over four hundred years ago, therefore allowing an ample amount of time for nature to adjust. In other words, they more than earned their rank as an American species.

I totally agree with you that without cats, we would quickly be overcome with vermin.
 

vyger

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Thank you for giving me another perspective on this subject.

Now bear in mind that some people (usually bird people, UGH!), will say that the cat is not native to this country and therefore is considered an invasive species that is creating an out of whack eco system.

My answer to such people, is that the house cat was brought over by humans over four hundred years ago, therefore allowing an ample amount of time for nature to adjust. In other words, they more than earned their rank as an American species.

I totally agree with you that without cats, we would quickly be overcome with vermin.
The list of things that aren't native is pretty long and includes horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, not mountain goats,- well, most farm animals including chickens. There are wild turkeys. Pheasants are also an import and they are everywhere and considered important for hunting. The only grain plant that is native is corn and it has changed much from the first kinds the native Americans cultivated. Rice, wheat, barley, oats are all imports I believe.
In Hawaii it was the rats that came over on the ships that almost wiped out the birds. The cats that have now been imported have been saving the birds by eliminating the rats.
The arguments can go on and on, back and forth. The simply fact is people back then had no idea what they were doing and to a degree that is true today also.
The Europeans themselves have been eliminating their song birds by eating them. I can't see why anyone would want to eat a little song bird but they did. And they caught them by spreading mist nets up on the beaches along the migration routs. They took out entire flocks at one time. Never seen a cat do that.
 

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:fear:I have had slacker cats before; I just didn’t mention them. In all fairness to Dante (who was so naughty he thought his name was Bud and Dante meant ‘hey you!’) my mom created a bit of a bird blind. The bird feeder/plant stand lowest rung places the bird feeder where the birds eat about 18-20 inches off the ground. This bird feeder is right next to a small orange tree ...... which has the perfect kitty hiding space. So in Dante’s case he was “hunting” like when you shoot deer licking a salt lick from a bird blind. It was solved by convincing my mom to quit hanging bird feeders on the lowest rung. I guilted her with a picture his latest finch victim (the bird was released and probably lived.) In the cat’s defense my mom feeds lots of birds, year round. So if I’m being generous and say Dante killed 20 finches in his 13 years .... I have to think my mom helped way more finches thrive/live then that..... plus the sparrows, crows, Golden Oreos plus some small bird with a rust colored head & those fat flying rats (pigeons) that hog the food from the little guys. Plus there is a hawk that kills a pigeon every 3-6 months so we kinda feed him to. ;) (I think Dante caught & killed 10 in his life. I was doubling it.)

My current teen kitty wants to hunt the squirrels/scrub jays but he has no idea how to hunt! Dante never caught anything until our reformed feral taught him how to hunt. Hunting successfully is a learned skill. Sarah learned from Merlin (who knew how to hunt but just wanted to hang it on the couch.) He taught the kittens Sarah & Janey bow to hunt because he was Mr. Mom to the wee orphans. Merlin was a expert ratter but he never hunted the birds (he was a rescued alley kitten that just wanted to stay home!)
 

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You know, They say that a non-native invasive species (house cats) are responsible for 1.4 to 3.7 Billion bird deaths each year, in the U.S.
:flail::flail::flail:
 

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Are those people you speak of jefferd18 jefferd18 planing to get rid of horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and all the people in American who are not Native Americans? I've seen the same attitude toward cats in Australia, they aren't campaigning against cattle, horses, sheep, mice or those of European ancestry, just cats. There, I also suspect more sinister implications since, I understand the actual indigenous people hunt and eat cats.
 

vyger

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You know, They say that a non-native invasive species (house cats) are responsible for 1.4 to 3.7 Billion bird deaths each year, in the U.S.
:flail::flail::flail:
I think mine are way behind on their quota. I'm going to have to have a talk with them about that.
 

Kflowers

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I think several large cites have cats that aren't keeping up. To help the cats they have imported and established nests of hawks in the tops of their sky scrapers. I seriously doubt the hawks were given lists of which birds to take down and which to leave alone.
 
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jefferd18

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Are those people you speak of jefferd18 jefferd18 planing to get rid of horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and all the people in American who are not Native Americans? I've seen the same attitude toward cats in Australia, they aren't campaigning against cattle, horses, sheep, mice or those of European ancestry, just cats. There, I also suspect more sinister implications since, I understand the actual indigenous people hunt and eat cats.

Unfortunately, on some animal sites you will run into fanatics and that was the case there. They own birds, cats have been known to attack and kill birds, so therefore all cats must be behind the dwindling bird population. It would never occur to most of those people that pesticides, airplanes, skyscrapers, drilling, over-development of land, hunting, and climate change could be contributing to less birds.

Of course not, because if they acknowledge any of those possibilities they would then have to own the problem.
 
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jefferd18

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The list of things that aren't native is pretty long and includes horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, not mountain goats,- well, most farm animals including chickens. There are wild turkeys. Pheasants are also an import and they are everywhere and considered important for hunting. The only grain plant that is native is corn and it has changed much from the first kinds the native Americans cultivated. Rice, wheat, barley, oats are all imports I believe.
In Hawaii it was the rats that came over on the ships that almost wiped out the birds. The cats that have now been imported have been saving the birds by eliminating the rats.
The arguments can go on and on, back and forth. The simply fact is people back then had no idea what they were doing and to a degree that is true today also.
The Europeans themselves have been eliminating their song birds by eating them. I can't see why anyone would want to eat a little song bird but they did. And they caught them by spreading mist nets up on the beaches along the migration routs. They took out entire flocks at one time. Never seen a cat do that.


Well stated, my friend. Human beings are always meddling in things that they know nothing about-the result being often irreversible and always so damn tragic.

Its a well known fact that there is a species with a three letter name that is behind the dwindling of the bird population--only it spelled M A N, not C A T. Unless of course cats can build skyscrapers, develop pesticides, fly airplanes, and cause the planet to heat up.
 

vyger

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You know, They say that a non-native invasive species (house cats) are responsible for 1.4 to 3.7 Billion bird deaths each year, in the U.S.
:flail::flail::flail:

Just another thought, there are native cats that have been hunting in north America for a very long time.

Here is a list of the wild cats of North America.
  1. Ocelot.
  2. Cougar. ...
  3. Jaguar. ...
  4. Jaguarundi. ...
  5. Bobcat. The Lynx rufus is another small wild cat species whose range stretches from southern Canada to central Mexico. ...
  6. Canadian Lynx. Lynx canadensis is one of the small wild cats living in North America
The birds did just fine until lots of people showed up. It was people that made the passenger pigeon extinct, not the cats. There were so many of them they couldn't be counted. But they still managed to shoot them all.
Many of the above named cats have become endangered because of people. The domestic cat has taken over the role of the native cats because so many of them have been eliminated. The same happened to the wolf. Eliminating the natural predators throws everything into chaos. Then we get overrun with vermin and things like deer.
 
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jefferd18

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:fear:I have had slacker cats before; I just didn’t mention them. In all fairness to Dante (who was so naughty he thought his name was Bud and Dante meant ‘hey you!’) my mom created a bit of a bird blind. The bird feeder/plant stand lowest rung places the bird feeder where the birds eat about 18-20 inches off the ground. This bird feeder is right next to a small orange tree ...... which has the perfect kitty hiding space. So in Dante’s case he was “hunting” like when you shoot deer licking a salt lick from a bird blind. It was solved by convincing my mom to quit hanging bird feeders on the lowest rung. I guilted her with a picture his latest finch victim (the bird was released and probably lived.) In the cat’s defense my mom feeds lots of birds, year round. So if I’m being generous and say Dante killed 20 finches in his 13 years .... I have to think my mom helped way more finches thrive/live then that..... plus the sparrows, crows, Golden Oreos plus some small bird with a rust colored head & those fat flying rats (pigeons) that hog the food from the little guys. Plus there is a hawk that kills a pigeon every 3-6 months so we kinda feed him to. ;) (I think Dante caught & killed 10 in his life. I was doubling it.)

My current teen kitty wants to hunt the squirrels/scrub jays but he has no idea how to hunt! Dante never caught anything until our reformed feral taught him how to hunt. Hunting successfully is a learned skill. Sarah learned from Merlin (who knew how to hunt but just wanted to hang it on the couch.) He taught the kittens Sarah & Janey bow to hunt because he was Mr. Mom to the wee orphans. Merlin was a expert ratter but he never hunted the birds (he was a rescued alley kitten that just wanted to stay home!)

That is really cool that your mother went to such humane lengths to save those little guys. The winters can be really hard on our feather friends so kudos to your mom for feeding them.

Wow, a cat (outside of a mother cat), teaching another one how to successfully hunt is quite impressive. As far as your teen kitty goes, I am kind of hoping he stays innocent.

I rarely ever had any cats in my life who hunted. The one that comes to mind was a feral female tabby who I had coaxed into being my family's cat by secretly feeding her in my bedroom. I loved her dearly but could never come to gripes with her constantly need to kill anything that moved. But I did have empathy for her, because even though I was only six, I knew that her life had been one of disappointments and struggles.
 

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I feed the hummingbirds & scrub jays suet blocks in my area. I have a general bird food cylinder with chilli pepper in it to deter squirrels and the other mini cylinder is a high protein nut/meal worm bird food mixture ..... so far the birds have barely touched it. I love the birds which is why it was so difficult killing that one (even though it was a mercy killing.) I have wanted parakeets forever but could never imagine them having a happy life with Dante trying to get to them 24/7. My current kitten has the same hyper ness and I wouldn’t get parakeets unless I could build a large bird patio or large standing cage that was 100% cat proof!
My mom’s feeders. Plus the red vase mini fountain in the picture & the large fountain not shown. Dante is under the orange tree in this picture to:
B37F02B2-DD2A-41ED-A66F-F56BF37DE5ED.jpeg
Dante in his bird blind.... god I miss him!
5187EBBE-CA39-4B59-9FCE-38D7AD236B7B.jpeg
My potted plants in my patio, my ugly common area yard view & my bird feeders. The scrub jays & squirrels live in the hedge in the back of the picture.
AAEFF0AB-1FF4-497E-B773-D96AD5267C09.jpeg
I also agree that cats are not as big of a problem half as much as loss of habitat is.
 

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Just another thought, there are native cats that have been hunting in north America for a very long time.

Here is a list of the wild cats of North America.
  1. Ocelot.
  2. Cougar. ...
  3. Jaguar. ...
  4. Jaguarundi. ...
  5. Bobcat. The Lynx rufus is another small wild cat species whose range stretches from southern Canada to central Mexico. ...
  6. Canadian Lynx. Lynx canadensis is one of the small wild cats living in North America.
    ..........over run with deer.


  1. I'll see what I can do about that. :lol::lol::lol:
 

basscat

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The deal is cats killing 1.4 to 3.7 billions birds. Each year. In the U.S.
Which I find hilarious due to it's absurdity.
Don't argue that by saying "But other stuff is worse". We are not talking about other stuff. We are talking about cats.
Use the other stuff to show the absurdity.
1) Cats AND other stuff are said to kill over 5 billion birds.
2) Other stuff does NOT included Habitat Loss.
3) Habitat Loss is said to be FAR greater and cannot be calculated.
4) Common sense means FAR GREATER could logically be defined as a number. So lets just say. 7 billion...Which isn't FAR greater, but, 7 is conservatively greater than 5. So lets go with 7 billion from habitat loss.
5) 5 billion plus 7 billion is 12 billion un natural bird deaths each year in the U.S.
6) Estimate of 20 billions birds in the United States.
7) Now, this is per year, in the U.S. And this has been going on for how many years now?

If you can't do that math and connect the dots, there's no need for me to continue. The numbers are just flat out impossible.
 

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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.
Do those sonic things work? I think stuff gets in through our basement. We live in an old farmhouse with an unfinished (a nice way of putting it, it's a hole in the ground) basement typical of those kinds of houses. Our house will never be sealed up against all rodents, but any decrease n the population would be nice. Ailish does a very good job, but I'm the one who has cart dead things outside. In the middle of the night.
 

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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.
Ailish usually plays with mice but kills rats immediately. The first rat was a bit of a battle (I heard it from upstairs) but since then no battle. She hunts rats from above and drops on them like a 10 lb load of bricks. My thoughts were that the only way she cat control the rats, she's not the biggest cat, is to kill them outright. Mice are way easier for her, so she doesn't have to kill them right away.

I have no idea what her background is, but all the Mama-cat taught things she is very good at. When I rescued her she was a teen Mom rescued from a kill shelter very pregnant, so I don't know what went before.
 

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I honestly wonder if animals are not more in tune with our language than we give them credit for.
Somewhere I read that cats have much smaller language areas in their brains than say, dogs. I have made a concerted effort with Ailish to create as many new pathways for language in her brain as possible. I talk to her constantly and try to use the same words in similar situations so she will get used to the words. Can't really say if it works or is she just knows what's going to happen next out of habit.
 
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jefferd18

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Somewhere I read that cats have much smaller language areas in their brains than say, dogs. I have made a concerted effort with Ailish to create as many new pathways for language in her brain as possible. I talk to her constantly and try to use the same words in similar situations so she will get used to the words. Can't really say if it works or is she just knows what's going to happen next out of habit.




Or if she is telepathic. I think we once were and a small number still is.
 
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jefferd18

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Ailish usually plays with mice but kills rats immediately. The first rat was a bit of a battle (I heard it from upstairs) but since then no battle. She hunts rats from above and drops on them like a 10 lb load of bricks. My thoughts were that the only way she cat control the rats, she's not the biggest cat, is to kill them outright. Mice are way easier for her, so she doesn't have to kill them right away.

I have no idea what her background is, but all the Mama-cat taught things she is very good at. When I rescued her she was a teen Mom rescued from a kill shelter very pregnant, so I don't know what went before.

I honestly never knew a cat like your kitty Ailish. I wonder too if the pregnancy also brought out the hunting instinct in her.
 
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