Do cats kill rats?

A caricature of a bibbed cat holding a spoon and fork and ogling a mouse trembling on a plate and the on-going hide and seek activities of Tom and Jerry…these are manifestations of the conflict that exists between a cat and a mouse. Cats are predators and judging by the tales about these two animals, it appears that mice are the favourite preys of cats. Cats would enjoy playing with these squeaky rodents before finally making the kill. Cats indeed are highly efficient rodent hunters but do cats kill and eat rats too? Rats are considerably bigger than mice and some rats can be bigger than cats. As mentioned, cats are rodent hunters and cats would not pass up the chance to kill rats.

The mice and rat hunting ability is what endeared cats to humans. Before domestication, cats have survived in the wild using their own resources. Cat domestication started after humans began growing their own crops. Rats and mice infestation became a huge concern for crop producers until cats came to the rescue. Being prolific hunters of these pests, cats were able to reduce rat and mice population in no time. Cats were then accepted into the homes not only as rodent hunters but also as pets given the fact that these animals have the kind of characteristics that endear them to the human populace.

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats would only get their needed nutritional requirements by eating animal meat. Cats are as well equipped with strong jaws and sharp teeth as well as razor sharp claws that would make hunting and eating the prey easy. Cats’ innate hunting abilities are honed under the guidance of the mother cat. Cats were domesticated…provided with all the food they can eat. Does this mean that cats would no longer hunt? No sir! Mice appear to be the most favourite prey of cats. Cats would as well hunt bird, lizards, frogs and other small fast moving animals. Do cats kill rats too? Rats are much bigger than the usual prey of cats. Rats are medium to large rodents that can grow as long as two feet. Unlike mice that have hairy tails, rats’ tails are long, devoid of hair and actually scally. Cats are proficient hunters but aggression is not one of the characteristics of these furry friends. Is it possible for a large rat to intimidate a cat so that instead of killing the prey, it would scamper and hide?

Rats, no matter what size will still be considered as prey by a cat. It would not be surprising if the cat would mesmerize the rat with its steady stare and once immobilized, the cat would pounce. Additionally, the natural scent of cats would terrify rats. Instead of being afraid of the bigger prey, cats would even play with the prey to prolong the enjoyment of hunting activity. Apparently, cats enjoy the chase. Instead of killing the rat instantly, cats would allow the rat to run so that it (the cat) can chase. Actually, the cat may have a very good reason for not killing the rat instantly. As mentioned, rats are rather big. These rodents can deliver very nasty bites. Allowing the rat to scamper for dear life can be the cat’s strategy to tire out the rodent so that it can deliver the killing bite at the rat’s neck. Cats would kill rats but hunting these preys can be dangerous. Cats can get infected by the parasites that the rat have. Killing and eating rat can result to poisoning as it is common for farmers to use rodenticides to resolve rat infestation.

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