Why Do Cats Play With Their Prey? (Probably Not What You Think)
Our feline companions take cuteness to a whole new level. From the way they look, walk and even the adorable sounds they make when they meow. However, looks, as they say, can be deceiving. Our cats just like any other animals have hunting instincts. Well, they are not as ferocious as their other counterparts in the cat family such as the lion. But the fact still remains that at one point we have wondered why do cats play with their prey? They usually 'play' with their prey before they strike in for the kill. This kind of behavior can't help but lead us into thinking that our cats have some serious sadistic tendency. Before you think your cat is evil, first you need to know why it does this in the first place. So lets take a closer look at why your cat actually does this, then you can make your judgment.
The major reason that has been presented to explain this behavior is self-preservation. Like most living beings cats want to stay alive, even when they are in dangerous situations such as is the case when hunting. Well, they also say that cats have nine lives but hey, who would want to lose their lives just to get a single meal? When hunting for their prey, which majorly consists of mice, birds and other small rodents. Cats end up exposing themselves to danger, in that they may end up getting hurt in the process. As i mentioned earlier, animals are driven by self-preservation.
This also applies to their prey, as they also don't want to lose their lives being someone else's meal. This calls for them to take the necessary measures to stay alive. Which constitutes nothing less than fighting back in order to make sure they stay alive by all means possible. Having this in mind, along with the fact that cats are short-changed when it comes to accurately delivering the desired killing bite. Why do I say this? This is the case because cats have the structural limitation of having a short muzzle. What this means is that they have to be extremely close to their prey in order to bite them. The method cats use to successfully kill their prey is to deliver a strong bite to the nape of the neck. What this does is to render the prey immobile by damaging their spine. You might be wondering why the cat has to go all through this lengthy process. There is actually an explanation for this.
As pointed out earlier, cats are inclined to self-preservation. When they want to make the kill by delivering the severe bite to the neck, they may end up suffering injury while at it. Mice and other rodents may scratch or even bite them, and birds can peck at their faces with their sharp beaks and end up causing harm to their eyes. To safeguard themselves from all this impending danger, they have to exercise extreme caution when hunting. Some times they even resolve to other rather drastic means. Such as holding their prey by the tail and flinging them into the air to disorient them.
So their you have it. Most cat owners are rather disturbed by this kind of behavior their cats display. I somewhat agree with them since I actually don't consider having to watch your cat torture a tormented little mouse a pleasant treat. It is more like watching a horror movie, only this time it's real and is happening right in front of you. However, in defense of the feline family, this is the only way that they can learn how to hunt without getting themselves in harm's way. This may even in the end be helpful to us as they employ this skill to rid our houses of the many annoying rodents that are taunting our homes! So i guess it's a small price we have to pay to keep our homes clear of such nuisance.