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Mother cat's advice to her kittens on hunting

Mother cat hunting A mother cat hunting.

The first rule of hunting is 'know your prey!' Lizards run, mice jump, snakes are dangerous, and birds, well, birds are just pesky little teases.

Hunting lizards

Lizards first, as there's nothing tastier than a fresh caught lizard. Soon as you see it, chase hard, because they're fast, they twist and turn, and they're little cowards that always have cover nearby. Get it in your jaws on the first explosive dash or you'll lose it down a hole or under a rock. And make sure you scrunch it up properly, because the little critters bite on the way down. Painful that.

Hunting mice

Now mice. With a mouse, you got to pounce from above, get your body over it and come down on top. That way, you stop it leaping. Great leapers, mice, thanks to those lovely plump back legs. Mmmm. I always think the legs are the best bit, don't you? The second you get it in your claws you toss it straight up in the air. That confuses them no end, and they can't jump when they've got nothing to push down on. Once it lands sink your claws in deep and take it straight to your mouth. A little kiss on the back of the neck.... and it's dinner.

Now the big question with mice is, 'Eat the stomach? Or not eat the stomach?' Personally I always like to cut it out and have a little sniff inside first. Disgusting some mice are. You never know what they've been eating.

Hunting snakes

Now snakes.... they're another thing entirely. With a snake.... just be careful. If it runs you know it's not poisonous, so chase it. If it stands and fights, pull back. Dance round it, give it a few swipes, stroke it gently so it feels your claws, let it be scared. And watch those fangs! Keep your eyes peeled. Don't go in for a quick kill. Snakes take time. Wear it down. Jab at it. Goad it. Then, when it's really mad at you, so mad it's biting itself in a frenzy, that's the time to dart in and go for the heart, a third of the way down. One quick bite then get out of there and watch the show! If you've hit the right spot it will be thrashing around like crazy. You've won.

But snakes are deadly right up to the end. So stay back 'till the writhing stops! Your uncle Tom died from a late biting snake, so let that be a lesson...

Hunting birds

Now, birds. Rule one of stalking birds is patience. Rule two, is patience. And rule three is ... patience. Rule four is to keep that tail still! If you lash it back and forwards all the time you'll just starve. Birds think they're clever, just because they can fly. But they're not clever. In fact birds are the dumbest things around. Except for dogs, of course. Dogs are really dumb. If they got paid for barking I could understand it, but all that noise for nothing.

Back to birds. Yes, birds can fly, but they can't see a cat hiding in the bushes, and that's just as well because a warm fresh bird still wrapped in its own feathers is absolutely delicious. All you have to do is catch it. And the best way to do that is to take a nap. Don't move a muscle, don't chatter your teeth, don't lash your tail. Just hold tight until dinner is a couple of feet away... and then pounce!

Remember these rules, and your belly will never be empty.

Dedicated to Big Kitten and her many hours of happy hunting.