A new study about cats from the University of Exeter in the UK has shown there may be some truth behind the myth that a fed cat won't go out and hunt. The study has shown that cats hunt far less frequently when fed a diet of high-quality meats. Cats are obligate carnivores in that they thrive on a diet that's high in protein, but they may not always be getting their required nutrition.
Commercial cat food isn't always formulated to meet a cat's dietary needs and can leave a cat lacking in essential nutrients. The preliminary results of the study have shown that feeding cats a diet that meets their nutritional needs can greatly reduce their need to hunt and bring home unwanted gifts. Here's a look at the link between a cat's nutrition and the need to hunt:
Cats and Their Impact on the Environment
Studies have shown that the domestic cat has a negative impact on small mammals and bird populations just about everywhere cats live. It's not something that cat owners are proud of, but sometimes a cat just won't put up with living indoors full-time Sometimes cats get injured during their outdoor activities and need a trip to the vet clinic in Bend for medical care. A cat owner has to make peace with the fact that they're doing the best for their cat and there's not much else to be done apart from deal with the dead creatures the cat brings home. Or do they?
Key Takeaways from the Study
The study used multiple techniques and tools to find out what was most effective at minimizing bird and small mammal kills by household cats. Some households fed their cats a high protein and grain-free diet, there were some who only gave about 10 minutes of playtime with a favorite toy, some households used a puzzle feeder, and yet others used of Birdsbesafe collars, and bells on collars.
Cats who were fed a high-quality diet of meat with no grains or carbohydrates were found to have a 36% reduction in kills and cats who had playtime saw a 25% reduction. Use of a Birdsbesafe collar reduced bird kill by 42%, but there was no reduction in the number of birds killed. The use of puzzle feeders saw an increase of kills by 33% while collar bells had no effect at all.
Good Nutrition is the Key to Reducing a Cat's Desire to Hunt
The study isn't conclusive, but it does suggest that feeding a cat a diet that meets their nutritional needs is effective in reducing their desire to hunt. Read the labels on the cat food cans and bags to make sure the nutrition meets the recommended daily allowance for cats and has no fillers in the form of grains. If you're not sure about your cat's nutritional needs, consult with your veterinarian in Bend for information and advice on a proper diet for your outdoorsy cat.
Reduction of the Desire is Not the Elimination of a Need to Hunt
A well-nourished cat is less likely to hunt but hunt it will when the opportunity presents itself. Cats that consume their kill are at a higher risk of picking up worms from their prey. Bring your cat to the vet clinic in Bend for regular checkups and treatment with de-wormer to keep them healthy. Worms can debilitate a cat's health but are easily eliminated with proper veterinary care from your veterinarian in Bend.