My lovely kitty and I have had quite the adventure trying to tame his wild side. I was successful in getting him to stop wounding critters and bringing them in the house, however, I was not successful in getting him to stop trying. Cats will be cats and it's not my place to change them, but I do need to find a way to live with this one in particular.
Scolding Kitty for bringing in dead (or sometimes not quite dead) animals, as I have learned from experience, doesn't do any good. This is an instinctual behavior and they are actually doing it as a favor to you. Momma cats teach their babies to hunt by bringing food to them, starting with dead animals the babies can eat, then slightly less dead animals the babies can practicing chasing and pouncing on, and eventually letting the kittens hunt for their own food. A pet cat bringing you a dead or injured critter is only trying to help you out, and they will take any fuss you make over the animal as a sign of your gratitude. Jumping, screaming, stomping or squealing will only give your cat a sense of satisfaction that you will eventually learn to hunt and feed yourself after enough lessons from him.
Instead of punishing your cat, try other alternatives. Ignoring whatever prey Kitty brings, and then quietly cleaning it up later is probably the best response. Although this feels like you are ignoring the problem instead of disciplining them for it, it’s in their instinct and there is little that we can do to take it out. There are other options that we can try to eliminate the problem, like the bell collar I put on my cat. I have also heard of a collar that sets off a low pitched alarm whenever the cat jumps or leaps to alert its prey that he is coming. Remembering to put the collar on before Kitty goes out and take it off when he comes back in, or listening to the noise every time your cat is on the move can be a pain. Here are a few other ideas:
- Have patience. Like I said, this is a natural instinct so we may not be able to change it, but sometimes problems like these work themselves out.
- Keep your cat strictly indoors. I tried this, but felt too guilty watching my cat stare longingly out the window. If you have the strength to stick by this rule though, your cat will adapt to his new lifestyle and you won't have to worry about outdoor pests coming in - at least not via your cat.
- Rehome your cat. Say what!? I have not tried this since my furry friend is a permanent part of our family. But if Kitty is causing you too many problems and you can't find any other solution, this may be your only option. Look up tips for finding a family to adopt your cat or surrendering them to a shelter and make sure you are in compliance with local laws.
I know these options are not necessarily easy, or a quick fix, but everything takes time. Of course, keeping unwanted pests out of your home with Fresh Cab® is quick, easy, and safe for pets too! Personally, the bell has worked the best for me. As for the noise, I find it kind of soothing when I hear my cat walk in to the room, or jump on the bed, and I know he is there with me.
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Read Part 2: Martha's Cat Will Be There With Bells On!
Image Source: Boise Valley Pet Services