Tenley Haraldson by Tenley Haraldson

On the Hunt: How to Curb Your Cat's Killer Impulses

So your indoor-outdoor cat brought you a bird or snake or mouse or whatever. First thing’s first: you should acknowledge that that little feline of yours appreciates you very, very much. Yes, it’s super gross when you trudge across the kitchen floor with your bare feet and come upon it before your morning coffee boost.

If your cat brings you an animal and leaves it at the door or — better yet — feet, remember that the feline species is a predatory animal complete with night vision, quiet foot pads for sneaking and bounding leaps. They also enjoy and are able to consume raw meat, but every so often, house cats bring in a live animal.

Sometimes, you have to wonder if they enjoy watching their owners shriek and clamor for a cake lid to trap a chipmunk that may or may not have gotten trapped behind the Christmas decorations (this owner lost sight of it and isn’t going to look now).

When feral female cats have a litter of kittens, they do their best to instil the hunting instinct by bringing their babies dead catches. Eventually, they’ll rustle up some injured animals for the babies to ‘learn’ on. When domesticated female cats have you to take care of, they need to ingrain the same learning lesson. So really, you’ve got a cat teacher who has adopted you, and not the other way around.

Rather than running and shrieking away from your front door, you need to compliment your cat with soothing tones, or even a scratch behind the ears. Like a grandmother, your cat firmly believes that you need to eat something, so be thankful. You've got a feline that loves you: congratulations!

A study from 2013, however, states that cats killed anywhere from 1 to 3 billion birds and between 6 and 22 billion small mammals. In one year. Many of these cases were likely caused by house cats, and there are a few things you can do to help if your area is facing a decline in endangered animals (especially birds).

This CatBib locks onto your cat’s collar and reflects “light up to 500 feet away”. They come in hilarious designs, but really, what it does is it “gently interferes with the precise timing and coordination a cat needs for successful bird catching.” I’m sure your precious little Tigger will be frustrated by constantly coming home empty-handed, but you’ll be helping animal populations and not having to experience dead animals on your front steps.

Bird Be Safe® is another cute scrunchie-esque collar that safely attaches to a breakaway cat collar. The makers claim that it cuts down on songbird (perching bird) attacks due to the bright colors. This, however, does not affect hunting patterns of mice, rabbits and other rodent mammals. Either way, the cat looks adorable in this product.

If your indoor-outdoor cat is a natural born killer, you can respond appropriately and without hurting its feelings. And if you want to avoid the whole 'animal murder' thing altogether, there are products out there that can hinder that instinct.

Happy hunting (?)!