A Guide to Reducing Cat Hunting

Written by Lucy Marcham, Academy Trainer

Our fluffy, adorable felines make the perfect predators.

Their powerful eyesight, their amazing hearing and of course their incredible athletic abilities (did you know cats can jump 9 times their height?!) all serve one purpose. To make them confident and successful hunters.

Hunting is a natural and important instinct for a cat, but this doesn’t make hunting behaviour any less stressful for owners. Luckily, there is much you can do to stop or reduce their hunting behaviour.


Add a Bell to Their Collar

If your cat wears a collar, try popping on a bell. The jingly sound of the bell gives birds and rodents a warning that there is a pesky cat nearby. This helps animals evade predation easier. Remember cat collars need to be quick-release to allow cats to get themselves out of sticky situations.


Have a Cat Curfew!

Keeping cats locked in at night keeps both them and rodent prey safer. Mice and rats will be more active during the night so this is prime hunting time for cats.

It is also worth being aware of when wildlife is more vulnerable to cat predation. An hour before and an hour after sunrise is prime time for birds to appear in the garden. Keep your cat indoors and admire your feathered garden visitors.

Keep in mind some garden bird species will wait for wet weather to search for food sources. Keep your cat in after bad weather such as rain or cold. For more help read our Wild Bird experts’ tips on keeping birds safe.


Feed Your Cat a High-Quality Diet.

Although hunting is typically driven by instinct, some cats do hunt to fulfil their nutritional needs. Natural high meat-content diets keep cats fuller and more satisfied.

Ensure your cat is eating a delicious meaty diet that caters to all their dietary needs.

Discover what makes a great cat food. 


Play with Your Cat

As cats age and progress into adulthood, many owners will forgo the regular play sessions. However, playtime is not just for kittens!

Regular play is essential for all cats’ mental and physical well-being. Play provides exercise, keeping cats’ weight down, joints healthy and their digestive system regular.

Play also provides an important source of mental enrichment. Proper playtime should be used to mimic the stages of the hunt. By allowing your feline friend to stalk, chase, pounce and ‘kill’ their fluffy mouse toy, you satisfy their natural hunting instincts.

Cats that are given proper playtime, are much less likely to seek out hunting endorphins later. The trick is to go through the hunting stages and aim to play at least once a day.

Read our Guide to Playing with Cats.