Cats, like other feline creatures, have active hunting instincts that they need to survive in the wild. Over time, they were domesticated and fed well at home. However, you can often find that indoor cats go berserk in the wild and chase small animals.
Hunting rodents is not out of the ordinary. They sometimes bring them home as a gift for the pet parents. So, do cats eat squirrels? Yes, cats love hunting and eating squirrels, and it is normal. Read this article to know more about why cats eat squirrels and whether you should stop them.
Do Cats Eat Squirrels?
Hunting squirrels taps into the wild nature of cats. Pursuing and capturing is second nature, which is why the chase comes naturally to them.
The complete satisfaction of the hunt comes once the cat gets to eat the prey. Some indoor cats are not too barbaric. They only hinder the squirrel. Some cats are fond of the squirrel’s body, while most cats take a liking to the squirrel’s head.
Why Do Cats Eat Squirrels?
Now that we have established that cats eating squirrels are normal, the next question is – why do cats eat squirrels?
Known for being nimble on their feet, squirrels can be tricky prey to hunt down. But cats have never been known for being docile. Their eccentric side is further triggered in the face of a challenging kill.
Squirrels are fluffy and have bushy tails. It makes them an enticing target. On the other hand, their meat is soft and high in protein. Filled with nutrients, they make a great meal.
Cat Breeds That Eat Squirrels
Various cats prefer to hunt squirrels, and each breed has a different instinctual reason for doing so. Below are some cat breeds and their specific hunting patterns that draw them towards squirrels.
Siamese cats have sharp instincts and keen senses. It is a perfect combination to hunt the silent, quick squirrels.
The American Shorthair has a long history of being an adaptable and persevering hunter. They do not tire quickly and are efficient squirrel chasers as a result.
They are efficient and sneaky, which makes them perfect squirrel hunters. Farmers also keep them as pets to keep their grounds rodent-free.
These cats are small, but they have great physical strength and stamina. They love to release their energy by chasing squirrels.
Is it Safe for Cats to Eat Squirrels?
It may be worrisome to find your cat-eating squirrels. However, it is not alarming.
Pet parents should consider the following 3 adverse consequences of squirrel consumption.
1. Parasite Infestation
Squirrels live their entire lives outdoors. Hence, they may be carriers of various fleas, ticks, and pests. These can lead to myriad infestations that leave your cat agitated, moody, and itchy. A parasite problem can have long-term adverse effects on your cat’s health, and there are cases where it may even spread to humans.
2. Physical Injury
Squirrels are not defenseless creatures. Adult squirrels are quick with sharp claws and can injure your cat in the hunting process. The attack can be shallow over the fur. It can also cut deep and go beyond the outer layer into the skin. Shallow cuts have a high risk of infection, while deep cuts cause significant blood loss and may even require stitches.
3. Digestion Issues
Squirrels are covered in dirt, grime, and germs. When your cat eats them, it may ingest harmful pathogens that cause digestion issues later. Additionally, squirrels with wet food in their stomachs can hurt your cat’s digestion, as cats are not accustomed to the type of food that squirrels eat.
How to Prevent Your Cat from Eating Squirrels?
Cats will not let the unique chance of devouring a squirrel go. The excitement of the chase and hunt is not tamable. You can monitor the consumption levels rather than deal with consequences later.
Confining your cat to your home is not the solution. It is only going to rile up your cat further. It will become boring or aggressive with time.
Below are 4 better ways to prevent your cat from eating squirrels.
1. Frame a Proper Diet
The primary motivation for hunting and eating squirrels is hunger. Well-fed domestic cats seldom venture out for prey in the wild. It is best to serve them stomach-filling, delicious, and fresh food.
In the case of insufficient food, or bland food that lacks nutrition, cats tend to go astray. They begin looking outside the home for better food. The instant they spot a petite squirrel, their hunting instincts take charge. It is uncontrollable since they are natural predators. So, make sure that they get enough nutrients from the start.
2. Make Playtime More Fun
Bringing a cat home and feeding it is not enough. It is also essential that you nurture it by focusing on playtime. Monotonous activities and toys they don’t like can leave your cats bored and irritated.
Kick things up a notch. Involve more people wherever possible and get your cat more engaging toys. One such toy is the SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Toy. Full of catnip and free of safety hazards, this interactive toy will keep your cat on its toes all day!
3. Collar Your Cat
Unlike dogs, cats can put up a fight when you try to leash or collar them. Cats despise any articles or clothing that restrict or weigh them down, but they will get used to it after continuous use.
You can get collars with bells attached. When the bell rings, the squirrels in the vicinity are alerted. They usually take it as a signal to run away.
4. Cut Down on Nightly Activities
Cats are not naturally nocturnal creatures, but hunting is involuntary. These hunting instincts are heightened at night.
If left unchecked, they will go on hunting sprees for squirrels. But by controlling their activities at night, you can keep an eye on them.
From a cat’s perspective, squirrels are just prey. Their fuzzy appearance makes them a tempting game, different from the usual, but that is all there is to it. There are a few aspects, such as injury and infection, that you have to consider if you catch your cat consuming a squirrel. It is more critical if it becomes a regular occurrence. Watch out for how often they eat and any oncoming health issues.