Predatory Behaviour

Types of predatory behaviour:

  • Food seeking
    including: staring; stalking; chasing; chittering
  • Food capture
    including: pouncing; prey in mouth; manipulating prey; killing bite
  • Food preparation
    including: carrying prey; shaking prey; licking prey; plucking prey; eating prey

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The following section describes some of the individual behaviours involved in the predatory sequence. These behaviours have the primary role of capturing and consuming natural prey items of the domestic cat, for example small rodents and birds. However, predatory behaviours can often be directed towards other items that share some of the characteristics of prey. For example, cat toys often incorporate fur and/or feather and resemble prey in size thus mimicking some of the physical properties of prey. Other small items which are fast moving (like prey) can also elicit predatory behaviour. Examples include leaves blowing in the wind, quick moving human hands and feet and scrunched up paper and/or balls rolled along the floor. For further detail on predatory behaviour directed at non-prey items, see Play.

As all the visual material in this website is opportunistically captured, readers will understand that much of the predatory sequence will not have been recorded. Please note that where there is video footage or photographic material no prey animal has deliberately been introduced to any cat.

An early part of the predatory sequence – focusing on the prey and stalking it

 

 

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Acknowledgements: 

We are extremely grateful to VetNet LifeLong Learning Network who funded the initial development of these web pages