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View Full Version : Help, my cat is a serial killer!


Garret Swayne
June 16th 07, 05:47 PM
My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO, take
it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of ****es
him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?

-Garret
garret at garretswayne dot com

Matthew
June 16th 07, 06:01 PM
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
> that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com
>

Do you realize that this is a normal behavior for a cat. Bringing you a
prize is a honor and a sign of affection. Also many animals do this when
they have not been properly show by the parent how to kill.

If this is really bothering you keep the cat inside Cats and other animals
are predators you can't take the hunting instinct out of an animal it will
always be there

Alison[_2_]
June 16th 07, 06:40 PM
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home
> prey that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com >>


You could put a liberator collar on him though that won't help with slugs
and things.
http://www.liberators.com.au/

Cats are hunters so is natural for them to bring their prey home.
Alison

Martin
June 16th 07, 08:25 PM
Bells reduce the catch - mine's a 7 bell cat

> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>

William Graham
June 16th 07, 10:24 PM
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
> that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com
>
Well, at least he doesn't leave their heads in your refrigerator.....

You might try getting him some cat toys....Like things dangling from strings
that jump around when he pulls on them, for example.....

William Graham
June 16th 07, 10:29 PM
"Alison" > wrote in message
...
> "Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
> ink.net...
>> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home
>> prey that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
>> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
>> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
>> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
>> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
>> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
>> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
>> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
>> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
>> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
>> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>>
>> -Garret
>> garret at garretswayne dot com >>
>
>
> You could put a liberator collar on him though that won't help with slugs
> and things.
> http://www.liberators.com.au/
>
> Cats are hunters so is natural for them to bring their prey home.
> Alison
>
>
Yes. At least mine puts the bodies on the floor somewhere. (usually the
bathroom floor) I had a friend whose cat used to leave the bird's feet on
his pillow........:^)

The Horny Goat
June 17th 07, 02:11 AM
On Sat, 16 Jun 2007 14:29:09 -0700, "William Graham"
> wrote:

>Yes. At least mine puts the bodies on the floor somewhere. (usually the
>bathroom floor) I had a friend whose cat used to leave the bird's feet on
>his pillow........:^)

One of the defining moments of my teen years was when our cat brought
my mother a bird. It was 30 years ago and I still remember her
over-reaction even though she had had cats in her life since girlhood.

William Graham
June 17th 07, 02:20 AM
"The Horny Goat" > wrote in message
...
> On Sat, 16 Jun 2007 14:29:09 -0700, "William Graham"
> > wrote:
>
>>Yes. At least mine puts the bodies on the floor somewhere. (usually the
>>bathroom floor) I had a friend whose cat used to leave the bird's feet on
>>his pillow........:^)
>
> One of the defining moments of my teen years was when our cat brought
> my mother a bird. It was 30 years ago and I still remember her
> over-reaction even though she had had cats in her life since girlhood.

Yeah...I'm always afraid I will insult them if I don't show
pleasure....After all, they are giving you a gift to pay you back for all
the food you give them....When you go to the supermarket, I figure they
think you are out hunting....And then, when they get something for you, if
you just throw it away, they think they're worthless. (I always give them
credit for thinking like we do, even though I know it's probably not true.)
So, I make believe I am happy, and am saving it for later......

Bellsouth Ijit 2.0 - Hayfever Edition
June 17th 07, 05:59 AM
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
> that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com
>

Not to be insensitive, but that's what cats do. Cats are some of the most
efficient, instinctual, predators, and five thousand years of domestication
hasn't tamed that gene.

Adam Helberg
June 17th 07, 08:26 AM
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey that he
> catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody lifeless bird in my
> living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a lizard. Or a mouse. Or these
> really weird worms that are not snails or slugs, but look like snails without their
> shell. He also brings in these really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to
> death, leaving large insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with
> a feline serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO, take it from
> his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of ****es him off, but
> I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com

I use a bell on my Freddy, which helps. Also I don't let him out in the dark or early
morning when he's most likely to hunt.

Adam

Garret Swayne
June 17th 07, 12:58 PM
Well thanks for all the comments. I know hunting is an instinct in cats.
But really, that doesn't make me feel any better about it when I have to
pick up the broken body of a terrified, mortally wounded bird! There are a
lot of instincts which we civilized types would like to discourage in our
kitty companions! The two suggestions that I found most interesting were:

-to stick a bell on Zack's neck to warn the birds of his stealthy approach
(This is a practical suggestion I will seriously consider.)

-to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for it's
really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
"ungracious".

Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
"positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and cherish?
If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart enough to
figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather than a dead
carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to suggest that they
really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"? And that by my
expressing displeasure, I will only encourage more of the offensive
behavior? I would think that by praising the animal, that's what would
encourage more of the killing behavior! But I'm open to being educated
about this, from valid scientific sources.

The question I'm really asking is this: Is there any way in the world to
teach a cat the concept of compassion? That'd be a nice trick, eh? Like
maybe a cat who's been traumatized by a larger predatory animal like a dog
or a cayote might be able to develop some sense of identification with the
smaller victims they terrorize? No, I'm not suggesting throwing the cat to
a pack of cayotes! But I'm wondering, can cats be taught compassion, and if
so, how?

-Garret


"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
> that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com
>

Barbara
June 17th 07, 01:54 PM
I have some stray cats in the neighborhood who hang out in my yard, and when
the birds come around to eat their food, they just look at them like
"eh...you again..ok". My cats indoors, start "chirping" at them. Not sure if
they'd know what to do with them if they were allowed out.

--
A hug a day keeps the blues away :D
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
nk.net...
> Well thanks for all the comments. I know hunting is an instinct in cats.
> But really, that doesn't make me feel any better about it when I have to
> pick up the broken body of a terrified, mortally wounded bird! There are
> a lot of instincts which we civilized types would like to discourage in
> our kitty companions! The two suggestions that I found most interesting
> were:
>
> -to stick a bell on Zack's neck to warn the birds of his stealthy approach
> (This is a practical suggestion I will seriously consider.)
>
> -to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for it's
> really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
> "ungracious".
>
> Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
> about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
> "positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and
> cherish? If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart
> enough to figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather
> than a dead carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to
> suggest that they really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"? And
> that by my expressing displeasure, I will only encourage more of the
> offensive behavior? I would think that by praising the animal, that's
> what would encourage more of the killing behavior! But I'm open to being
> educated about this, from valid scientific sources.
>
> The question I'm really asking is this: Is there any way in the world to
> teach a cat the concept of compassion? That'd be a nice trick, eh? Like
> maybe a cat who's been traumatized by a larger predatory animal like a dog
> or a cayote might be able to develop some sense of identification with the
> smaller victims they terrorize? No, I'm not suggesting throwing the cat
> to a pack of cayotes! But I'm wondering, can cats be taught compassion,
> and if so, how?
>
> -Garret
>
>
> "Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
> ink.net...
>> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home
>> prey that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
>> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
>> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
>> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
>> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
>> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
>> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
>> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
>> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
>> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
>> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>>
>> -Garret
>> garret at garretswayne dot com
>>
>
>

Dan Espen
June 17th 07, 04:51 PM
"Garret Swayne" > writes:

> -to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for it's
> really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
> "ungracious".
>
> Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
> about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
> "positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and cherish?
> If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart enough to
> figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather than a dead
> carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to suggest that they
> really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"?

I don't think looking at it as a "gift" is the right perpective.
As you say, it's too complex a trait to attribute to a cat.

Mother cats will bring home kills for the kittens.
That may be the basis of the evolution of the instinct.
Instincts aren't reasoned, they are built in.
Most likely the instinct operates in females even when they don't
have kittens and in males even though they don't normally provide
food for kittens.

After a cat kills it's prey and eats it's fill it is no longer hungry
and it's no longer satisfying the hunting instinct.

Therefore weaker instincts are going to take over.
It's going to return home, why not take the animal with it?
It's not a complex behavior, it doesn't require complex motives
to operate.


We once had a mother cat bring home a full grown pheasant.
Small cat, really large bird.

KMP
June 17th 07, 05:06 PM
Garret Swayne wrote:
> Well thanks for all the comments. I know hunting is an instinct in cats.
> But really, that doesn't make me feel any better about it when I have to
> pick up the broken body of a terrified, mortally wounded bird! There are a
> lot of instincts which we civilized types would like to discourage in our
> kitty companions! The two suggestions that I found most interesting were:
>
> -to stick a bell on Zack's neck to warn the birds of his stealthy approach
> (This is a practical suggestion I will seriously consider.)
>
> -to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for it's
> really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
> "ungracious".
>
> Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
> about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
> "positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and cherish?
> If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart enough to
> figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather than a dead
> carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to suggest that they
> really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"? And that by my
> expressing displeasure, I will only encourage more of the offensive
> behavior? I would think that by praising the animal, that's what would
> encourage more of the killing behavior! But I'm open to being educated
> about this, from valid scientific sources.
>
> The question I'm really asking is this: Is there any way in the world to
> teach a cat the concept of compassion? That'd be a nice trick, eh? Like
> maybe a cat who's been traumatized by a larger predatory animal like a dog
> or a cayote might be able to develop some sense of identification with the
> smaller victims they terrorize? No, I'm not suggesting throwing the cat to
> a pack of cayotes! But I'm wondering, can cats be taught compassion, and if
> so, how?
>
> -Garret


My cat was traumatized by a dog when she was a little bitty and shows
no mercy to anything smaller than her - including my hand. So it might
have to be assaulted by something smaller to realize that brawn doesn't
always work. Just sayin'....
Kathy

William Graham
June 17th 07, 10:15 PM
"Dan Espen" > wrote in message
...
> "Garret Swayne" > writes:
>
>> -to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for
>> it's
>> really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
>> "ungracious".
>>
>> Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
>> about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
>> "positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and
>> cherish?
>> If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart enough to
>> figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather than a
>> dead
>> carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to suggest that
>> they
>> really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"?
>
> I don't think looking at it as a "gift" is the right perpective.
> As you say, it's too complex a trait to attribute to a cat.
>
> Mother cats will bring home kills for the kittens.
> That may be the basis of the evolution of the instinct.
> Instincts aren't reasoned, they are built in.
> Most likely the instinct operates in females even when they don't
> have kittens and in males even though they don't normally provide
> food for kittens.
>
> After a cat kills it's prey and eats it's fill it is no longer hungry
> and it's no longer satisfying the hunting instinct.
>
> Therefore weaker instincts are going to take over.
> It's going to return home, why not take the animal with it?
> It's not a complex behavior, it doesn't require complex motives
> to operate.
>
>
> We once had a mother cat bring home a full grown pheasant.
> Small cat, really large bird.
>
Large birds of prey will sometimes kill cats....I had a cat who was almost
killed by a large osprey....It swooped down onto my rear deck while the cat
was sunning itself, and almost got it....Fortunately, the cat door to our
bedroom was right next to the cat, so it escaped inside before the bird
could get her......but it was a close call......

Baldoni XXV
June 17th 07, 11:31 PM
William Graham submitted this idea :
> "Alison" > wrote in message
> ...
>> "Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
>> ink.net...
>>> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
>>> that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
>>> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
>>> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
>>> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
>>> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
>>> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
>>> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
>>> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
>>> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
>>> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
>>> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>>>
>>> -Garret
>>> garret at garretswayne dot com >>
>>
>>
>> You could put a liberator collar on him though that won't help with slugs
>> and things.
>> http://www.liberators.com.au/
>>
>> Cats are hunters so is natural for them to bring their prey home.
>> Alison
>>
>>
> Yes. At least mine puts the bodies on the floor somewhere. (usually the
> bathroom floor) I had a friend whose cat used to leave the bird's feet on his
> pillow........:^)

My female cat does all the hunting.

My lazy tomcat then stuffs dead mice under the furniture.

--
Count Baldoni

BALDONI REX ROMANORUM

Baldoni XXV
June 17th 07, 11:32 PM
on 17/06/2007, William Graham supposed :
> "The Horny Goat" > wrote in message
> ...
>> On Sat, 16 Jun 2007 14:29:09 -0700, "William Graham"
>> > wrote:
>>
>>>Yes. At least mine puts the bodies on the floor somewhere. (usually the
>>>bathroom floor) I had a friend whose cat used to leave the bird's feet on
>>>his pillow........:^)
>>
>> One of the defining moments of my teen years was when our cat brought
>> my mother a bird. It was 30 years ago and I still remember her
>> over-reaction even though she had had cats in her life since girlhood.
>
> Yeah...I'm always afraid I will insult them if I don't show pleasure....After
> all, they are giving you a gift to pay you back for all the food you give
> them....When you go to the supermarket, I figure they think you are out
> hunting....

I never thought of it like that.

--
Count Baldoni

BALDONI REX ROMANORUM

Lis
June 18th 07, 07:05 PM
On Jun 17, 7:58 am, "Garret Swayne" > wrote:
> Well thanks for all the comments. I know hunting is an instinct in cats.
> But really, that doesn't make me feel any better about it when I have to
> pick up the broken body of a terrified, mortally wounded bird! There are a
> lot of instincts which we civilized types would like to discourage in our
> kitty companions! The two suggestions that I found most interesting were:
>
> -to stick a bell on Zack's neck to warn the birds of his stealthy approach
> (This is a practical suggestion I will seriously consider.)
>
> -to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for it's
> really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
> "ungracious".
>
> Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
> about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
> "positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and cherish?
> If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart enough to
> figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather than a dead
> carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to suggest that they
> really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"? And that by my
> expressing displeasure, I will only encourage more of the offensive
> behavior? I would think that by praising the animal, that's what would
> encourage more of the killing behavior! But I'm open to being educated
> about this, from valid scientific sources.

Cats are social animals; they're not pack hunters, but they are social
animals. Feral and semi-feral colonies have been videotaped; females
share prey with their offspring and with their sisters. They not only
babysit but actually nurse each other's kittens. Even the males, who
rove more, will sometimes share prey with the resident females.

When we bring cats into our homes, we make ourselvs part of their
"colony," their social grouping. And they respond to us in some ways
as if they were our kittens, in some ways as if we were their kittens,
in some ways as if we were their siblings. Sharing prey is a normal
and natural part of that. And no, even though sharing is normal for
them and they are bringing us a gift when they bring us prey, they are
not smart enough to figure out that it's not the kind of "gift" we
want--nor would they have much ability to bring us a different kind of
gift even if they did figure it out. It's not like they can take their
American Express card and pick up something nice at Nordstrom's, after
all. What they do is hunt, and they share with us what they catch. It
_should_ give you a warm glow.

It's too bad Zack has apparently focused on birds as his preferred
prey, rather than rodents. You do want to prevent or discourage that,
if you can. Keep him indoors, or put bells on his collar.

> The question I'm really asking is this: Is there any way in the world to
> teach a cat the concept of compassion? That'd be a nice trick, eh? Like
> maybe a cat who's been traumatized by a larger predatory animal like a dog
> or a cayote might be able to develop some sense of identification with the
> smaller victims they terrorize? No, I'm not suggesting throwing the cat to
> a pack of cayotes! But I'm wondering, can cats be taught compassion, and if
> so, how?

No, you can't teach your cat compassion for members of its natural
prey species. They're cats, the most efficient predators on the planet
(number of species killed, number of individuals killed, hunting
success rate--cats are deadly hunters.) Sharing with colony members is
part of their repertoire; compassion for prey species is not. A cat
traumatized by a larger predator will not feel any sense of
identification with its own prey; it will just be a traumatized cat.

The most effective way of preventing your cat from killing the local
bird population is by keeping him indoors. If that's not practical,
put bells on his collar, and that will reduce his success rate.

Lis

Dave F
June 18th 07, 09:51 PM
"Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
ink.net...
> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home prey
> that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>
> -Garret
> garret at garretswayne dot com

I just read through this thread and the ignorance just amazes me. Read the
following and then do the right thing and keep your cat indoors where it
belongs.

http://www.wildliferescueleague.org/cats.html

http://www.abcbirds.org/cats/

Dave

William Graham
June 19th 07, 02:43 AM
"Lis" > wrote in message
ps.com...
> On Jun 17, 7:58 am, "Garret Swayne" > wrote:
>> Well thanks for all the comments. I know hunting is an instinct in cats.
>> But really, that doesn't make me feel any better about it when I have to
>> pick up the broken body of a terrified, mortally wounded bird! There are
>> a
>> lot of instincts which we civilized types would like to discourage in our
>> kitty companions! The two suggestions that I found most interesting
>> were:
>>
>> -to stick a bell on Zack's neck to warn the birds of his stealthy
>> approach
>> (This is a practical suggestion I will seriously consider.)
>>
>> -to not react with anger or displeasure at the sight of his kill, for
>> it's
>> really a "gift" that he's offering me and I don't want to appear
>> "ungracious".
>>
>> Now this latter observation, I must say, I can't help but be skeptical
>> about. Is that really true? Or are we just stretching to ascribe
>> "positive" human attributes to our feline buddies, whom we love and
>> cherish?
>> If cats were really "givers" by nature, I'd think they're smart enough to
>> figure out a lot of other things we'd prefer to receive rather than a
>> dead
>> carcass! Seriously, is there any scientific research to suggest that
>> they
>> really are bringing us what they consider a "gift"? And that by my
>> expressing displeasure, I will only encourage more of the offensive
>> behavior? I would think that by praising the animal, that's what would
>> encourage more of the killing behavior! But I'm open to being educated
>> about this, from valid scientific sources.
>
> Cats are social animals; they're not pack hunters, but they are social
> animals. Feral and semi-feral colonies have been videotaped; females
> share prey with their offspring and with their sisters. They not only
> babysit but actually nurse each other's kittens. Even the males, who
> rove more, will sometimes share prey with the resident females.
>
> When we bring cats into our homes, we make ourselvs part of their
> "colony," their social grouping. And they respond to us in some ways
> as if they were our kittens, in some ways as if we were their kittens,
> in some ways as if we were their siblings. Sharing prey is a normal
> and natural part of that. And no, even though sharing is normal for
> them and they are bringing us a gift when they bring us prey, they are
> not smart enough to figure out that it's not the kind of "gift" we
> want--nor would they have much ability to bring us a different kind of
> gift even if they did figure it out. It's not like they can take their
> American Express card and pick up something nice at Nordstrom's, after
> all. What they do is hunt, and they share with us what they catch. It
> _should_ give you a warm glow.
>
> It's too bad Zack has apparently focused on birds as his preferred
> prey, rather than rodents. You do want to prevent or discourage that,
> if you can. Keep him indoors, or put bells on his collar.
>
>> The question I'm really asking is this: Is there any way in the world to
>> teach a cat the concept of compassion? That'd be a nice trick, eh? Like
>> maybe a cat who's been traumatized by a larger predatory animal like a
>> dog
>> or a cayote might be able to develop some sense of identification with
>> the
>> smaller victims they terrorize? No, I'm not suggesting throwing the cat
>> to
>> a pack of cayotes! But I'm wondering, can cats be taught compassion, and
>> if
>> so, how?
>
> No, you can't teach your cat compassion for members of its natural
> prey species. They're cats, the most efficient predators on the planet
> (number of species killed, number of individuals killed, hunting
> success rate--cats are deadly hunters.) Sharing with colony members is
> part of their repertoire; compassion for prey species is not. A cat
> traumatized by a larger predator will not feel any sense of
> identification with its own prey; it will just be a traumatized cat.
>
> The most effective way of preventing your cat from killing the local
> bird population is by keeping him indoors. If that's not practical,
> put bells on his collar, and that will reduce his success rate.
>
> Lis
>
Yes....Our cats think of the raccoons we feed as part of the family, but
then, the raccoons are big enough to take care of themselves, and so it's
really the raccoons who don't kill the cats that I should be talking about.
The birds, even though we feed them, are considered fair game by the
cats....fortunately, the cats aren't fast enough to kill very many of
them.....I can only remember about three or four birds total in over 10
years, and we have fed many thousands of birds all Winter during that same
time period, so the birds are way ahead....We are careful to hang the bird
feeders out of the reach of the cats......Well fed cats aren't very good at
hunting.....It's not a matter of life and death for them, so they just play
at it.....It's significant that our feral cat never hunts for birds (or
anything else) at all. He has become totally dependent on our cat food, and
couldn't care less if he never had to hunt for anything again.
I doubt if you could teach your cats compassion....They have identified
over 100 different sounds cats make to communicate, and compassion is not
one of them.......

William Graham
June 19th 07, 02:54 AM
"Dave F" > wrote in message
. ..
>
> "Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
> ink.net...
>> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home
>> prey that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a bloody
>> lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!) Or a
>> lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not snails or
>> slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also brings in these
>> really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death, leaving large
>> insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living with a feline
>> serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's bringing in his
>> captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give him a stern NO,
>> take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release it. This kind of
>> ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
>> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>>
>> -Garret
>> garret at garretswayne dot com
>
> I just read through this thread and the ignorance just amazes me. Read the
> following and then do the right thing and keep your cat indoors where it
> belongs.
>
> http://www.wildliferescueleague.org/cats.html
>
> http://www.abcbirds.org/cats/
>
> Dave
>
I have read your articles, and I disagree 100%. Cats were created to roam,
and I wouldn't keep one locked up indoors on a bet. Not only that, but if
"100's of millions of birds" are killed every year by cats, there must be
trillions of cats out there with no food to eat.....My four cats haven't
killed 1/2 dozen birds in the last 10 years. For one thing, birds are very
hard to kill....Snakes, lizards and field mice are much easier, and even the
feral cat lived on mice and voles for the first couple of years of his life
before we started feeding him.
But, when you get right down to it, birds are very low on the order of
life, and they are among the most heartless living things in existence. I
couldn't care less how many birds that my cats kill, to tell the truth. Have
you ever seen a bunch of chickens peck one of their number to death? - If
you had, you would gain a vastly different perspective on birds. Sure, they
are pretty....Some of them are downright beautiful. But that doesn't make
them any more compassionate than any other animal....
Your article greatly exaggerates the number of birds that fall prey to
outside cats.....It only serves as an excuse for teenagers (or those with a
teenage mentality) to kill cats.

Dave F
June 19th 07, 03:47 AM
"William Graham" > wrote in message
. ..
>
> "Dave F" > wrote in message
> . ..
>>
>> "Garret Swayne" > wrote in message
>> ink.net...
>>> My cat Zacky is an indoor/outdoor cat, and he's forever bringing home
>>> prey that he catches. Every week or so, I'll come home and find a
>>> bloody lifeless bird in my living room (and the room full of feathers!)
>>> Or a lizard. Or a mouse. Or these really weird worms that are not
>>> snails or slugs, but look like snails without their shell. He also
>>> brings in these really huge grasshoppers and then torture them to death,
>>> leaving large insect carcasses throughout the house. It's like living
>>> with a feline serial murderer! Occasionally, I'll catch him as he's
>>> bringing in his captive still alive and as yet unharmed. So I'll give
>>> him a stern NO, take it from his mouth, and carry it outside to release
>>> it. This kind of ****es him off, but I'm not sure what else to do.
>>> I really want to discourage such behavior. Any ideas?
>>>
>>> -Garret
>>> garret at garretswayne dot com
>>
>> I just read through this thread and the ignorance just amazes me. Read
>> the following and then do the right thing and keep your cat indoors where
>> it belongs.
>>
>> http://www.wildliferescueleague.org/cats.html
>>
>> http://www.abcbirds.org/cats/
>>
>> Dave
>>
> I have read your articles, and I disagree 100%. Cats were created to roam,
> and I wouldn't keep one locked up indoors on a bet. Not only that, but if
> "100's of millions of birds" are killed every year by cats, there must be
> trillions of cats out there with no food to eat.....My four cats haven't
> killed 1/2 dozen birds in the last 10 years. For one thing, birds are very
> hard to kill....Snakes, lizards and field mice are much easier, and even
> the feral cat lived on mice and voles for the first couple of years of his
> life before we started feeding him.
> But, when you get right down to it, birds are very low on the order of
> life, and they are among the most heartless living things in existence. I
> couldn't care less how many birds that my cats kill, to tell the truth.
> Have you ever seen a bunch of chickens peck one of their number to
> death? - If you had, you would gain a vastly different perspective on
> birds. Sure, they are pretty....Some of them are downright beautiful. But
> that doesn't make th