Do cats really eat mice?

Cats are always depicted as mouse-eating animals. Notice how the grinning Tom would do all the dirty tricks in the book just to be able to close in his unsheathed claws on Jerry’s frail little body. Cats are predators with strong prey drives. The sight of any small and fast moving animal would trigger the innate hunting drive of a cat. So what do cats hunt? Cats find immense pleasure in catching insects, birds, frogs, lizards, snakes and other small animals. The favourite prey of cats though is mouse. Cats really do love eating mice.

Cats and mice have had a long history. Did you know that mice are the very reasons why cats became domesticated? Apparently, the cats’ ability to rid grain storehouses of these pests is the main reason why people have opened their doors to these feline friends. Cats have come a long way. From being animals of the wild, cats have become barn and stable denizens. While in stables and in barns, cats have survived by hunting. Cats were domesticated and became well-loved pampered pets. Pet cats these days have settled comfortably inside temperature controlled homes…provided with toys and all the food they can eat. Does this mean that a cat would ignore a scurrying mouse? No sir! Cats, even well fed ones will still run after the mouse. Just like Tom, any other cat would patiently wait for the mouse to come out of its hole and when it does, the cat would feast on his exotic dinner.

What benefits do cats gain from eating mice? Cat owners can get squeamish if the pet is seen eating a mouse. The cat is therefore prevented from hunting prey. Cat owners would rationalize that the pet is provided with premium quality per food anyway. Cats though are obligate carnivores. These animals derive their nutritional requirements from eating organs and meat of prey. However, most manufactured cat foods contain cereal fillers. Cats would not derive their nutritional requirements from plant based protein as they do not have the enzyme necessary to digest plant matter. A cat that is on a dry kibble diet is almost always on the brink of dehydration especially of the owners are not enticing the pet to drink. Mice and other preys are the ideal diet of cats because these animals are not big on drinking water. Mice and other natural prey of cats contain 70 to 75% water thus the water requirement of the diet is provided even if the pet does not drink water.

For thousands of years, cats have been hunting and eating mice. Cats earn their keep by keeping homes rodent-free. Modern homes are kept free of these pests thus indoor cats are seldom given the opportunity to exercise their hunting prowess. Because of the ever constant supply of food, some cats may no longer have the desire to eat mice. Cats would still chase the prey but after toying and killing the mouse, the cat would lay the dead prey at the owner’s feet. Gifting the owner with a dead prey is the highest compliment a cat can give to the owner. Instead of being irked at the need to dispose the dead prey, a cat owner should be glad that the pet has not eaten the mouse. Non-eating of the hunted mice can be advantageous to the pet. People these days are inclined to use rodenticide to keep the home rodent free. Cats that eat poisoned mice will be poisoned too. Rodenticides have the effect of inhibiting blood clotting. Mice can be an ideal diet for the pet but cat and mice can also be a deadly combination too. Cat owners watch out!

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