Predation is actually a sequence of behaviors that if taken to their end point, result in the killing of an animal, presumably for food. However, cats can show part of the predatory sequence, such as chasing, stalking or pouncing without ever killing an animal. Sometimes they will catch a bird or small animal and bring it home alive. Predatory problems can range from just annoying to extremely dangerous for other animals and you should take steps to either control or change your cat’s behavior or both.

Fast movement of any sort can stimulate the chasing or pouncing part of predatory behavior. A bird hopping across the yard can elicit chasing or pouncing. This is why feathers on a string are such good toys for cats.

Your cat can become infested with parasites by killing animals, so it’s in your best interest, and your cat’s, to prevent this. Check with your veterinarian about the health issues involved.

Your first step in stopping your cat’s predatory behavior is to control your cat’s environment. This may mean keeping your cat indoors, confining her to an outdoor enclosure or only letting her out under supervision. Respect laws that prohibit your cat from roaming freely.

While a bell on your cat’s collar may help, some cats learn to creep up on critters and keep the bell silent. Any collar must be of a safe, break away type so you cat can’t get caught and strangle herself.  Recent research has found that cat predation has had a significant detrimental impact on bird populations in various areas.  Be a responsible cat owner and don’t allow your cat to have the opportunity to kill birds!

All things considered, it’s just not a good idea to allow your cat to roam. If you want to give her outside time, train her to walk on a leash and harness, (yes, cats can be trained!), install a cat-proof barrier on your fence so she can’t leave your yard, or give her an outside pen or enclosure.

You can learn how to provide your cat with what she needs to lead a stimulating, fulfilling life indoors with our program Helping Kitty Be Good by Creating a Cat Friendly Home.