Posted in cats, dogs, pets

As the stomach churns

Living with a cat can be like living in a murder mystery novel – the corpses are usually dropped off on the doorstep, however. Sometimes just the tail arrives, without the juicy torso of whatever rodent has met its demise under the influence of someone feline.

It’s tough to distance oneself from the gory details. More often than not, the deceased is dispatched to a secluded spot under the shrubbery with a quick twist of a shovel and covered over with mulch. I’d prefer it wasn’t necessary at all. But even outdoor cats with a reliable food source (provided by humans, that is) will continue to stalk and kill prey, despite an ample supply of nutritious kibble.

So it’s a hard habit to quit. (It would be a hard habit for me to start.)

Cats aren’t alone in this preference. Some dogs will also break from the routine and chase down moles, voles and mice, kind of as an appetizer or snack. It may be an instinctive drive in some breeds, known for their skill in seeking out and killing vermin. And that can be a good thing!

Think what you might do if your food sources were limited. Does something live and wriggling appeal to you? Once a feral cat, our Casper had been used to eating bugs to supplement what his mother could not (or would not) provide for him. He isn’t a bit bashful about eating anything with six legs, nor eight legs, come to think of it — which probably helped him to survive outdoors. And since we never met any others from his litter, we think he was the only one who did survive, proof that the trait can be a necessity. We first saw him as a kitten, on a sub-zero temperature winter’s day, when there was a wind chill factor than would penetrate even an adult cat’s fur. Yet he was a fluffy, chubby little guy, probably being weaned by his mother at that point, so a new source of food was needed to keep him warm and growing. We were his mom’s and dad’s alternative food source, and he came to eat at Chez Porch first with them.

So when he joined us, his food habits weren’t too selective, a fact that his growing girth makes evident.

If you have a pet who shares this preference for hunting rodents, remember to have your veterinarian include testing for internal parasites such as round worm at least once a year. Try not to touch the critters’ remains, and wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of them….(I mean the critters, not your hands!)

Casper sometimes finds a spider or June bug to munch on, even now as an adult, despite no need of extra calories. Yes, he’s on a diet. And I also have to watch what he eats. . . in case it tries to crawl away.

What’s the strangest thing your pet has ever eaten?

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Owned by three cats over age 13