Small Pets

are cats hunters

Are cats hunters?

Cats have long been thought of as predators and hunters. After all, why else would they pounce on your feet, dig holes, and climb trees? While cats certainly have the predisposition to catch prey, their hunting abilities aren’t as great as perceived.

Evolution of Hunting

Cats have evolved a complex suite of skills across species to help them hunt small animals. This includes having a lightning-fast reaction time, great agility, and a better sense of hearing, sight, and smell than other animals. They also have stealthy movements and sharp claws and teeth. Plus, cats are crepuscular and nocturnal animals. This means that they are most active during the twilight hours, when their prey is most active as well.

Hunting in the Wild vs. Domestic Cats

When it comes to comparing wild cats with domestic cats, the former certainly hold an advantage when it comes to hunting. This is for a few reasons. For starters, wild cats have been bred for hunting for generations. Over this time, they have adapted and honed their hunting skills. Domestic cats, on the other hand, do not have the same amount of hunting experience.

In addition, wild cats live in their natural environment with ample sources of prey. Domestic cats live in controlled environments often completely devoid of any form of prey. So while they may have some instincts, they have no opportunities to actually practice their hunting skills.


In conclusion, cats are instinctive hunters by nature, but they can’t be considered true predators as their hunting abilities are not as strong as their wild counterparts. Domestic cats especially are unable to properly practice their hunting skills due to a lack of environmental stimuli.

Nevertheless, cats still have the genetic traits and natural instinct to hunt, so it is important to keep your cats well occupied during the day. Provide them with toys and objects that stimulate their natural behaviors and occupy their prey drive. This may help them keep their hunting skills alive without preying on birds or small mammals.

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