The perfect predator isn’t a lion, a tiger, or even an alligator. Your fluffy, adorable, snuggly domestic house cat is the most lethal, precise, and deadly predator. “But fluffy wouldn’t harm a flea!” you exclaim! Be forewarned, an old wive’s tale boasted that the family cat could suck a baby’s breath away. Is this even true? How big of an animal can a house cat even kill?
While you’re probably used to your housecat killing a few bugs and mice, you might be surprised to discover that cats can also hunt and kill salamanders, mice, moles, lizards, snakes, birds, rats, quail, chickens, pigeons, and even rabbits.
In this article, we take a deep look into the malignant evil of the sweet, fluffy domestic house cat. Be forewarned these seemingly innocent and lovable creatures have an absolutely vile and vicious side, just waiting for their next kill. Will it be a mouse? A bird? Or could it be….a human?
Cats Caught on Camera
Don’t be fooled by their precious purring exterior. Cats are accountable for billions of kills each year. The National Geographic Society joined up with the University of Georgia to study the secret hunting lives of happy housecats.They fitted 60 indoor/outdoor house cats with critter cams and let them roam the great outdoors as they usually would. The typical cat made as many as two kills per week! And they brought almost a quarter of their kills back home to their unsuspecting owners.
Does this make you wonder if your cat is a cold-blooded killer? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding, “She probably is!” Cats may be responsible for the deaths of up to 4 million animals per year and as many as 500 million songbirds! And while this study focused on housecats whose owners voluntarily participated, it also estimates that feral cats could kill many more innocent animals. So this dirty secret of the family cat means grave consequences for your backyard wildlife.
But don’t take my word for it, let’s take a look at what evil mischief our cats excel at getting into and the biggest animals a house cat can kill. We’ll start small and work our way up to the type of prey you’re just dying to know about.
My soft purring cat turns into a vicious killer at the sight of any creepy crawler that flits, flies crawls, or slithers. When the flies are at their worst in the summer, Geronimo is at his best hunting, tracking, and, yes, eating flies. I’ve also seen him chase plenty of other interesting bugs, including spiders, butterflies, moths, beetles, and even the freakish stink bug.
I’ve seen him intentionally stalk a preying mantis, swiftly swat an assassin bug, and even get his claws into a bee or two. But unfortunately, bugs are simply no match for this killer house cat.
Your cute little goldfish is no match for the cat, either. Although rumor has it that cats hate water, they’ll happily dip their paws and claws in for a chance at a seafood dinner. Cats are undoubtedly drawn to the movement of fish, and most won’t hesitate to take a swipe in your fishbowl. Since the fish in a small bowl can’t really swim out of reach, it’s an easy catch. And while your little goldfish is easy prey, larger fish, like koi, are probably too big for a cat to grab, although they could be injured.
You can keep your fishy friends safe by using a tank with a secure lid. Make sure the aquarium tank can’t be knocked over, as well. We want our cats to know that fish are friends and not food, and the only seafood they’re getting is from a can.
Salamanders are pretty enticing little critters, with short little legs and bellies that drag on the ground. As they scramble through the woods, they are exciting for your feisty feline to stalk and chase! Always beware of salamanders, though, because they may excrete toxins that could make your kitty extremely sick.
You may be repulsed at the sight of a dead mouse in the doorway but take this itty bitty victim as a gift from the mighty hunter in the house. First, mice can do a lot of damage to your home and carry diseases, so your fluffy assailant did you a favor in ridding your home of the tiny beast. And it might just be a sign of affection. Regardless, you can be thankful your cat is hunting rodents and not you.
How could a cat possibly stalk something as cute as a little chipmunk? Very easily! And you’re likely to find a few heads leftover from your cat’s chipmunk snack. Chipmunks might be quick on their feet, but they are small enough to be easy prey for your stealthy hunter.
Our flowerbeds are just full of frogs and toads after a spring rain. As they bounce around the backyard, they are secretly being stalked by one of the most cunning killers, your cat. Frog legs aren’t just a delicacy to humans. Cats love them too, but what they love most is the thrill of the hunt. Your kitty might be hunting down the frogs, but at least she’s getting some exercise!
Lizards might seem too large for a cat attack, but those tails are so exciting! As a lizard flits about, its long tail wags from side to side, catching any cat’s attention. Lizards are easily killed or injured by a pet cat. If you’re lucky, your lizard will merely drop its tail to confuse your kitty, but otherwise, your cat might end up with a delicious lizard dinner!
Be on the lookout, though, because some lizards are toxic, some carry parasites, and some carry salmonella, all of which could make your avid hunter very sick. If you have a pet lizard, make sure it is well-protected from your kitty.
Most moles are on the smaller side, but they can wreak havoc on your lawn. But, never fear, kitty is here! And kitty will love stalking those moles just like she goes after all of the house mice.
According to thepestmanagement.com, it isn’t uncommon for common cats to kill and eat gophers. Gophers can grow to a foot or more in length and weigh over a pound!
My children were forever grateful to Geronimo when a few garter snakes wriggled their way into our basement. Not only did he catch and kill the harmless snakes, but he also dragged them into a pile for easy disposal. While many snakes are harmless, keep a lookout to make sure your beloved kitty doesn’t tangle with a venomous snake. The outcome could be devastating.
According to animalpath.org, a cat can easily kill and eat a snack up to 6 feet long. Larger snakes, however, might be tempted to eat the cat!
Jingle Bell, the hamster, was constantly stalked by his housemate, the cat. In fact, whenever Jingle Bell, who was quite an escape artist, wriggled out from his cage, we could always find his hiding spot because Geronimo would point the way.
Wherever Jingle Bell was, there was Geronimo, sniffing him out, waiting for the kill. But, thankfully, we were always quicker than the cat! And Jingle Bell managed to live a long, happy life – for a hamster.
I just love to watch and listen to our local songbirds as they hunt for worms and seeds. But a bird feeder just makes them sitting ducks because cats love to hunt birds. And no matter how pretty they sing, they attract the killer instincts of any house cat. Although songbirds aren’t that big, their wingspan makes them seem a bit bigger than they are.
Cats seem to prefer prey that weighs under 8 ounces. The bigger the prey, the bigger the risk for the predatory cat! So while some skittish kitties won’t hunt down rats, you’ll find that big bad cats with attitude won’t have any problem taking on a great big rodent.
Keep this in mind if you’re keeping pet rats and pet cats. You might end up with a crime scene you didn’t want to see!
Geronimo, the mighty hunter, strikes again when quail are on the loose. In fact, one year, my quail cages were vandalized and left open. As a result, most of the quail escaped into the trees and brush, deep into their natural habitat. One by one, Geronimo stalked the free-ranging quail and brought them back to their cages.
Although he didn’t kill our pet quail, he successfully hunted and carried at least 20 quail. Other cats, though, who weren’t used to quail being considered pets, could easily track and kill quail for entertainment or even for their supper.
Have you ever watched locals feed the pigeons in the park? Keep watching because not far away, you are likely to find a criminal hiding in the shadows…. A killer housecat, waiting to pounce on its unsuspecting pigeon pray. You might think that pigeons are awfully big to be attacked by a cat, but you would be surprised at the outcome! A swift swipe from a housecat can easily take down an unsuspecting pigeon.
Full-size chickens might be a little bit intimidating for your house cat, but bantams are fair game. Chickens are easy prey for foxes, and a large house cat is similar in size to a typical fox, meaning your chickens could be next in line for the warrior cat to attack.
Hopefully, your kitty will know not to mess with a rooster. But, unfortunately, they can be just as cunning and even mean! Regardless, baby chicks are easy prey for feral cats and house cats, so make sure yours are well protected.
That innocent little puffball has a cunning killer instinct, and it will happily hunt down a wascally wabbit, er, rabbit. So if your kitty is on the loose, beware because they could easily stalk and kill a full-size rabbit.
Just because a cat can kill and eat a rabbit doesn’t mean it should or that it will. Cats kill by nature, and housecats are no exception. They’ll kill for the thrill, but they’ll only eat a rabbit if they’re really really hungry.
More likely, you’ll see your cat going after smaller, innocent baby bunnies. Don’t be surprised if Fluffy brings a few living baby rabbits to your door. She’s likely teaching you to be just like her, an effective killing machine!
That being said, according to centers for disease control and prevention, a cat could catch a disease called tularemia for killing an infected rabbit.
18. Other cats.
If provoked, your cat could literally kill another cat. But it’s improbable ever to happen. Cats generally make a lot of noise and would rather huff and puff at each other than fight. When fights happen, usually the injuries are mild, and one cat will give up and run away. However, if the injuries are more severe, or one cat is carrying germs, the other kitty could die of its injuries. You can find out more at faqcat.
We all know what it is like to be stalked by our cat. The cat will wait, crouched behind the sofa or the kitchen chair, waiting for us to walk by, unaware of their presence. And then, out of nowhere, it seems, they attack with a single pounce curled around our ankles, fur flying, and perhaps, ankles bleeding. But are they hunting us? Stalking us for their next meal? Or merely playing games and toying with our sensitive sense of security?
The old wives’ tale warns of cats sucking the breath from a baby. While this old wives’ tale certainly isn’t accurate, there have been old reports of babies being smothered by their cats. For example, in 1931, a four-month-old was accidentally suffocated when his family cat tried to snuggle him. Of course, we hope these tragedies can be avoided. You can read the original article here.
On the other hand, there aren’t any real reports of a cat sucking the blood of its human, despite the book, How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You. But accidents might have you wondering if this is still the case.
Ranker.com tells of an unfortunate accident where a cat killed a cyclist! It seems the cat ran into the cyclist’s path and was killed in the collision. The cyclist later died of his injuries.
Another story tells of Janet Veal in the Deccan Chronicle. Although a cause of death was not listed, when Janet went missing, police arrived at her door only to find her deceased and her pet cats were feasting…. On her body.
And while I couldn’t find evidence of any feisty felines going for the jugular of their two-footed companions, house cats, and outdoor cats can carry potentially dangerous germs. In particular, rabies and Cat Scratch Fever can be passed from cats to people and have devastating consequences, including death. So make sure you keep your kitties – and your murder cats – vaccinated.
Your seemingly innocent four-footed friend could be wreaking havoc on smaller prey. And while wildlife experts suggest keeping kitty indoors to cut down on the killings, what about you? If your cat’s only available prey is her doting human, will the desire for affection win, or will the thrill of the kill put your very life – or at least your delicate ankles – in danger?