Why Does My Cat Have Such A High Prey Drive?

why does my cat have such a high prey drive?

Cats will be cats, which sometimes means we will experience how cats hold onto their instincts to hunt for their next meal. While not all kitties are inclined to slay rodents and wildlife, some of our feline friends seem to take this to extreme. These “gifts” our feline friends bestow upon us aren’t always pretty and only add to the solid advice to keep your cat safely indoors. After all, much of how cats behave has been passed down for centuries. So really, it’s not exactly their fault if they behave the way their kind has for centuries. Of course, your little house cat might snuggle with you and make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but he might not think twice about killing prey in seconds. We know that some cats can have a higher prey drive than others, so let’s take a closer look at why these cats have a thirst for blood.

Your cat is a predator

That little 9lb ball of fluff in your living room might fill up your camera roll with oh-so-cute photos, but that doesn’t mean he/she isn’t a natural-born killer. Cats are predators but also prey, so their hunting will be swift and can even go unseen. But, when it comes to your cat living their kill—not always dead—on your doormat, or worse, in your home, this won’t go ignored. 

Your cat’s eye shape says a lot about them because those vertically slit pupils have granted them the ability to see in low light situations—which is why your crepuscular kitty cat is most active at dawn and dusk. (Although, at times, you might be thoroughly convinced it’s more like 3 AM when they’ve got the zoomies.) Cats are predators at heart, and understanding the way that their minds work will give you deeper insights into how they operate.

Your cat is an obligate carnivore, so without a high-protein diet, they would not survive. There have even been studies conducted that have shown that if you offer your cat a better food option, this will make them less likely to hunt. So, aside from keeping your cat indoors to keep other animals safe, try providing them with a high-quality diet that will satisfy their system and boost their health.

In multicat households, hunting can be a way to exhibit dominance

Many big cats are solitary hunters, and your house cat is no different. They do not hunt in packs or rely on their cat housemates to assist them in luring in their prey. When cats cohabitate with other cats, they are often quick to establish a feline hierarchy in their household. There will almost always be a dominant cat in a multicat home whether this is a house with male cats or female cats or both. These dominant cats will flex their powers in ways that might seem strange to their humans. However, these dominant cat methods will make perfect sense to the cats in their homes that are on the lower end of the totem pole.

Cats who want to display dominance over other cats in a multicat household have been known to spray, constantly rub on things in their homes, not cover their poo in the litter box, and (you guessed it!) hunt for prey to show off. It’s been suggested that spaying/neutering your cat can help to reduce their desire to hunt, so this is one of the many reasons why having your cat altered should be high on every cat owner’s list.

Some cat breeds are naturally drawn to hunting more than others

All cats are unique despite their breed. However, there are common characteristics that breeds can share. Before we delve deeper into that, it should come as common knowledge that hybrid cats that possess wild cat DNA are going to be inclined to hunt and must be kept indoors. I am not personally a fan of wild cats as house pets, but all opinions aside, these hybrid cats are known hunters and will not think twice about killing prey when given the opportunity.

While it might not surprise you much to hear that a Bengal cat has a high prey drive, you might be surprised that a Manx cat is known for having one, too. Manx cats hail from the Isle of Man, and these naturally occurring tailless kitty cats used to spend their days hunting for food. These prized hunters are excellent at pest control, and many farmers would keep them around for their ability to slay rats.

Some even believe that shorthaired cats are better hunters than longhaired cats, but there might be more speculation than truth to that. Another reason a cat might want to hunt might be to protect you. We’ve heard many amazing tales of cats killing venomous snakes that lingered near their homes, and it goes to show you just how incredibly loyal cats can be. 

Want to deter your cat’s desire to hunt? Offer them more enrichment

The truth is, that some cats simply hunt out of boredom. Although we wouldn’t think to off someone simply because we were bored, cats don’t think like humans do. Your cat is not an apex predator, but their desire to hunt is still in their DNA. Many cat toy makers understand a cat’s natural desire to hunt. This is why many of the cat toys on the market offer cats an opportunity to pounce, chase, and hunt. Cats need mental stimulation despite the common misconception that they don’t.

Your cat is incredibly intelligent and they seriously crave mental stimulation to help them live fuller lives. Of course, your kitty isn’t going to go without their much-needed cat naps, but when they are awake, they need to find ways to occupy their minds so as not to get bored. Both cats and dogs will exhibit naughty behaviors when they are faced with boredom. This could mean anything from destroying your blinds, clawing at your carpet, or if they are allowed to travel freely outdoors, finding a poor animal to slaughter. Don’t let this be your kitty. Offer them ways to enrich their minds through play and exercise so they keep those naughty kitty habits at bay.

Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? We hope so. Don’t forget to share this article with another cat lover in your life so they can learn something, too.

Was this article helpful?