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Why Do Cats Play With Their Prey Before Killing Them?

Perhaps, the most playful animals in the world are cats followed by dogs. Why am I saying this?

I have observed several times cats playing with their prey before killing and eating them. In one instance, I saw a cat that had captured a lizard. After biting the lizard, the cat let it off, rested on its four, and watched the lizard escaping before jumping on it again.

A tail was bitten off. It was let loose only for the cat to start playing with it using its claws, jumping, laying on its back all the while playing with a prey that was doing all it can to escape from the hold of its predator.

I don’t know why they play with their prey. Anyone who has an idea?

  • Do you have any idea?

    • Yes
    • No


What do you think?

17 Points

Written by Benny

Content AuthorYears Of Membership


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  1. Hunting instinct Basically cats are, first and foremost, hunters. According to a recent study, live and free-moving cats are responsible for billions of dead birds and small animals. This is not to say that they are inherently evil, they are simply fully attuned to the predatory lifestyle. Regardless of the fact that cats were first tamed about 10,000 years ago, they retain the fine hunting instincts of their wild ancestors. Although many pets do not always eat and sometimes do not kill their prey, capturing their “livelihood” is a necessity caused by evolution.

    • This is another interesting insight. They still have their wild instinct or predatory nature in their system. They make use of it even when they don’t kill or eat their prey. Thank you.

  2. I think Doc has the right answer. If it is an alley cat, he will eat his prey right away to satisfy their hunger. But if is a homebody cat who occasionally goes outside, the prey becomes a curiosity and a toy because the cat is not that hungry and just wants to play before finally letting his hunter instincts take over and finish off the poor prey. I do not think a cat has a mean bone in his body but being a domesticated animal for some of the cat population, the hunter instinct is still there but overshadowed by playtime…

    • That’s right. Wild cats wouldn’t hesitate to kill their prey since they’re hungry. As you’ve indicated, I have seen home cats playing with a lizard, kill it and leave it. Ultimately, you’re right. Their wild instict will set in and will kill their prey after playing with them.


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