When a cat catches a mouse, it often happens that its owners witness the hunt. With great fanfare, the skilled hunter jumps and dances around her prey and plays with the mouse for a while before she is eaten.
Many people are fascinated that their pet has such distinctive, rustic hunting instincts - and quite a few feel sorry for the poor mice, birds or frogs and find their cat's behavior cruel. But catching prey is part of the nature of the cat, the instinct is sometimes more pronounced, sometimes less, depending on the character of the animal. Some cats or tomcats hunt a lot - others have little interest and rarely bring home prey.
It often happens that cats bring home live mice or other animals such as birds. But why do cats actually do that?
If you ask a cat owner, the answer might be something like this: The cat also wants to bring people a present. Maybe out of concern. If humans provide cats with food, cats can do the same in reverse. But for this purpose a dead animal would also suffice. So why one that is still alive?
No cat has yet answered the question why it drags live mice or other small animals through cat flaps or open doors and then lets them run again on the living room carpet. But behavioral biologists are on the trail of the phenomenon.
One explanation given by the experts is that cats don't give people a gift with live prey, they want to teach people something: namely, how to hunt. A skill that cats might consider vital. It serves – at least instinctively – to nourish and also to care for the offspring.
German and British ethologists explain it like this: Cats hunt most when they have young. The older the little kittens get, the more often it happens that the adult animals present their prey alive to their offspring. Because the little ones have to take care of themselves one day and should learn to hunt and catch their prey.
Cats also seem to transmit this behavior to the household in which they live, i.e. also to the people there.
Apparently, cats consider people completely incapable of catching mice. The cat instinctively wants to teach "its" people to hunt themselves. From this behavior you can also see that the cat sees itself as the head and person responsible for a household, write the experts at "Tiergesund.de".
Many pet owners can certainly confirm that cats determine how things are in a household. So the next time your cat or hangover brings home a live animal, you know it's for educational purposes.
Some people actually manage to capture the live mouse - and then release the rodent back into the wild unharmed. The mouse should be very happy about that. You can only imagine what the cat thinks about such behavior.
Sources: "Tiergesund.de", "Pet-Happy-com"
See in the photo gallery: Cats can take care of themselves and don't need humans - these are just two of many misconceptions about the popular animals. And did you know that there are a lot of street cats in Germany?