What To Do If Your Cat Keeps Killing Animals?

Do you dread opening your front door, only to find a lifeless bird or mouse on your doorstep? Or perhaps your mischievous kitty enjoys presenting their latest catch as a gift for you? As pet owners, it’s natural to feel distressed and upset when our feline friends exhibit their innate hunting instincts.

Cats are born hunters, and killing is an instinctive behavior that they can’t help but act on. However, there are measures we can take to manage or redirect this behavior. In this blog post, we’ll explore what to do if your cat keeps killing animals.

We’ll delve into some of the most effective methods for managing hunting tendencies, such as training techniques, interactive toys, and environmental changes. Additionally, we’ll emphasize the importance of keeping your cat healthy and well-fed since a satisfied kitty is less likely to hunt.

Whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or new to the world of felines, this post will provide valuable insights and practical tips for managing your pet’s behavior. So keep reading to discover how you can keep both your cat and local wildlife safe and happy.

Understanding Why Cats Hunt

Hunting is a natural instinct for cats that provides them with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. But why do they do it?

Firstly, hunting is a form of exercise for your cat that helps them stay fit and healthy. Indoor cats, in particular, need physical activity, and hunting provides them with mental and physical stimulation. It’s like going to the gym for your cat.

Secondly, hunting is a survival instinct for cats. In the wild, hunting would ensure they had a constant supply of food. Domesticated cats do not need to hunt for food as they are often provided with food by their owners. Nevertheless, the instinct to hunt is still present in them.

Thirdly, cats may hunt as a way of marking their territory. By catching prey and bringing it to their owners, they are showing off their skills and claiming ownership of their environment.

But what about when your cat brings home prey or kills animals that are not pests? It can be a problem for pet owners who want to protect wildlife or live in urban areas where hunting is not necessary.

To address this behavior, it’s important to understand why your cat is hunting. If your cat is hungry or bored, providing more mental and physical stimulation can help satisfy their hunting instincts. Consider playing with them more often or providing puzzle toys or interactive feeders.

Another solution is to keep your cat indoors to ensure their safety and protect wildlife from your cat’s hunting behavior. If you do let your cat outside, consider fitting them with a bell or brightly colored collar so that they are more visible to prey animals.

It’s important to note that suppressing your cat’s natural instincts entirely can lead to behavioral problems such as aggression and stress. Instead, we need to find ways to manage the behavior while still allowing them to express their natural instincts.

Providing Mental and Physical Stimulation

One crucial aspect of cat care is providing them with enough mental and physical stimulation, especially if your cat has a tendency to hunt and kill animals. Without an outlet for their natural instincts, they may turn to hunting wildlife or even pets. So, why is providing mental and physical stimulation for cats so important? Let’s explore.

Mental Stimulation:

  • Interactive Play: One way to provide mental stimulation is through interactive play using toys such as feather wands or laser pointers. These toys help satisfy your cat’s hunting instincts in a safe and controlled environment while also providing physical exercise that can prevent obesity and other health issues.
  • Puzzle Feeders: Another way to provide mental stimulation is through puzzle feeders. These toys require your cat to work for their food by hiding treats inside a toy that they have to figure out how to open. Puzzle feeders also help slow down eating, reducing the risk of digestive problems.

Physical Stimulation:

  • Regular Exercise: Cats need space to run, climb, and explore. Providing them with scratching posts, perches, and toys that encourage climbing can help stimulate their physical needs. Regular exercise not only prevents obesity but also reduces the risk of health issues such as diabetes.
  • Adequate Space: Cats are curious creatures who need space to roam around and explore their surroundings. Providing them with enough room to move around freely can help prevent boredom and frustration.
  • Socialization: In addition to interactive play, cats benefit from socialization with other cats or humans. Encouraging them to play with other cats or spending quality time with your furry friend can help fulfill their need for exploration and exercise.

Keeping Cats Indoors

One solution that ticks all these boxes is keeping cats indoors, which has numerous benefits.

First and foremost, indoor cats are much safer than their outdoor counterparts. They are not exposed to the risks of traffic accidents, fights with other animals, or diseases. This reduces the likelihood of expensive vet bills and increases the chances of a longer and healthier life.

But it’s not just about your cat’s safety – keeping them indoors can also help protect wildlife. Cats are natural hunters and have a strong instinct to hunt prey, which can lead to them killing birds, rodents, or other small animals. By keeping your cat indoors, you can play a crucial role in preserving local wildlife populations.

However, it’s important to note that indoor cats need plenty of stimulation and exercise to stay happy and healthy. Providing them with toys, scratching posts, and climbing structures can keep them entertained and active while preventing destructive behaviors. You can even train your cat to walk on a leash for supervised outdoor time.

Fitting Your Cat with a Bell or Brightly Colored Collar

One effective way to achieve this is by fitting them with a bell or brightly colored collar. While there are many benefits to this approach, it’s important to take the necessary precautions.

The primary advantage of fitting your cat with a bell is that it alerts small animals of a predator’s presence, giving them time to escape. On the other hand, a bright-colored collar makes your cat more visible to birds and other animals, making it harder for them to sneak up on their prey. However, it’s vital to use the right equipment to avoid discomfort and injury.

When choosing a collar, opt for a lightweight one with a breakaway mechanism that will release if your cat gets caught on something. A heavy bell can impede your pet’s movement, so pick a bell that is proportionate to their size. It’s essential to introduce the collar or bell gradually, starting with short periods, and gradually increasing the time until they are comfortable wearing it all the time.

While fitting your cat with a bell or brightly colored collar can help prevent them from killing animals, it’s not the only solution. Providing plenty of toys and playtime in a safe environment is crucial to satisfy their hunting instincts. Additionally, keeping them indoors during peak hunting times, such as dawn and dusk, can reduce their chances of harming animals.

Seeking Professional Help from a Veterinarian or Animal Behaviorist

If you have a cat that has developed a habit of hunting and killing animals, it can be frustrating and concerning. However, it’s important to understand that this behavior is driven by instinct and not necessarily a reflection of your cat’s personality or your pet parenting skills. Seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist is the best course of action to address this issue.

Here are some reasons why:

  • A veterinarian can assess your cat’s health and rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the hunting behavior. If there is an underlying health condition, they will propose a treatment plan to alleviate the issue.
  • A veterinarian can also suggest behavioral modification techniques to help change your cat’s hunting behavior. These may include providing more mental and physical stimulation, adjusting their diet, or using pheromone products.
  • An animal behaviorist will work with you and your cat to understand the underlying motivations behind the hunting behavior. They will develop a personalized plan to address the issue by identifying triggers that may be causing the hunting behavior and suggesting alternatives.
  • An animal behaviorist can suggest changes to your cat’s environment or routine, as well as positive reinforcement training techniques to encourage alternative behaviors.

It’s essential to remember that seeking professional help is a sign of responsible pet ownership. Acknowledging that there is an issue and taking steps to address it shows that you are committed to the well-being of your cat and the other animals around it.

Alternatives to Hunting for Satisfying Your Cat’s Natural Instincts

Cats are born hunters, and their natural instincts run deep in their DNA. As a cat owner, you may have seen your feline friend bring home dead animals, which can be disturbing and worrying. Luckily, there are alternatives that can satisfy your cat’s hunting instincts without harming other animals.

One of the best ways to satiate your cat’s hunting needs is through interactive playtime. Playing with toys like feather wands, laser pointers, and stuffed mice can provide an outlet for their natural instincts while also giving them exercise and mental stimulation. It’s a fantastic way to bond with your cat while keeping them happy and healthy.

If you want to give your cat some outdoor time but still keep them from harming wildlife, consider building a “catio” or enclosed outdoor space. A catio can come in a variety of sizes and styles and can include climbing trees, scratching posts, and hiding places. It’s an excellent way for your cat to enjoy the outdoors while keeping them safe and secure.

Another alternative is providing your cat with puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys. These toys require your cat to work for their food, providing mental stimulation while satisfying their hunting instincts. They’re a great way to keep your cat entertained and healthy while ensuring they don’t harm other animals.

It’s crucial to remember that these alternatives may not eliminate hunting behavior completely. Therefore, it is important to monitor your cat’s behavior closely and supervise their outdoor activities to ensure they don’t harm other animals.

Tips for Reducing the Impact of Hunting Behavior

Cats are natural hunters, and as much as we love them, their hunting behavior can sometimes be problematic. Fortunately, there are several strategies that cat owners can use to reduce the impact of hunting behavior in their feline friends.

The first and most effective strategy is to keep your cat indoors. This not only keeps wildlife safe from your cat’s hunting behavior but also protects your cat from potential dangers outside. If you do let your cat outside, make sure they wear a brightly colored collar or a bell to make them more visible to prey animals.

Another effective strategy is to provide your cat with plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied. Puzzle toys, scratching posts, and interactive feeders are all great options that can help redirect your cat’s hunting instincts towards appropriate outlets. This not only helps keep your cat entertained but also reduces their desire to hunt other animals.

Using deterrents like motion-activated sprinklers or noise-making devices can also be helpful in keeping animals away from your property. These products can be especially useful if you live in an area with a lot of wildlife.

Training and behavior modification techniques can also be used to discourage hunting behavior in cats. Positive reinforcement training, such as giving treats or praise when your cat responds to commands, can be very effective. Additionally, using deterrents like motion-activated sprays or noise makers can help reinforce this training.

Lastly, if you have outdoor space available, consider creating a designated hunting area for your cat. This can be a fenced-in area with plants and hiding places where your cat can safely hunt without impacting wildlife.


In conclusion, it’s understandable for cat owners to feel distressed when their feline friends exhibit their natural hunting instincts. However, there are practical ways to manage or redirect this behavior. Understanding why cats hunt is critical in finding solutions that work for both your cat and local wildlife. Mental and physical stimulation is crucial for cat care, especially if your cat has a tendency to hunt and kill animals.

Keeping cats indoors is an effective solution that not only keeps them safe but also protects wildlife. Fitting your cat with a bell or brightly colored collar can help prevent them from killing animals, but it’s not a foolproof solution. Seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist is the best course of action to address this issue.

Moreover, alternatives such as interactive playtime, building an enclosed outdoor space (catio), and providing puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys can satisfy your cat’s hunting instincts without harming other animals. Reducing the impact of hunting behavior can be achieved through various strategies such as keeping cats indoors, using deterrents, training and behavior modification techniques, and creating designated hunting areas for your cat.

By implementing these measures, we can keep both our cats and local wildlife safe and happy.