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My cat, the serial killer! Help! Long-ish read.

  1. #1

    My cat, the serial killer! Help! Long-ish read.

    Initially Spurrs was just a visitor to my parents home after his previous owner (my aunt) had to move in with family, and the other family's male cat absolutely despised his existence. So this former barn cat found refuge in the company of three chaotic but loving dogs. I found out he's 75% canine after he started getting along with the dogs, he's pretty darn sure he's just "one of the boys."

    Well his 25% feline is absolutely aroar. He is well fed but once I move in with my family (building our own home) he will be going on a raw diet, no kibble. However, though he is well fed, when he goes about to explore, he began bringing home dead gifts (mice more specifically). Then the dead gifts were critically injured gifts, which then became fully live gifts he would bring home. He turned my parents home into a game reserve, bringing his hunt home to kill.

    He was raised as a barn cat, and though he has lots of food, and a real home to come back to after he adventures (he has had unlimited access to the dog door to get his tan on, on the porch) but still he is hunting for entertainment. I'm not put off by this, in fact I'm very appreciative that he has the drive that so many cats seem to lose with domestication. I love that he naturally is drawn to that behaviour.

    Well, my mom, as well as I had been proud of this behaviour and would give him a treat when he would get a mouse, however he decided to up his game. Literally. Then he started bringing home birds, and rabbits. My mother mortified at his new expansion in hunting ground, stopped giving treats and scolding him while trying to release the often live poor little critter he brought home.

    Since he wasn't getting his treats and being scolded (he doesn't like being told he was bad) he decided that he was going to prove a point. My mom caught the victim of the night and released it (ensuring there was no visible damage), no more then 10 minutes the dog door opens and closes.

    A muffled meow and mom knew he had gotten another one to only realize, it was the same poor thing he had brought in just minutes before. This time it was clearly bloody in his mouth and though my mom tried to catch him to stop him from the murderous deed on a baby wild rabbit, he did it. He sat under a space he knew mom couldn't get to him and would meow in a "Ha!" Almost to mock her and carry out his heinous crime. We have since blocked off the dark alleys in which his victims found themselves in. He has nowhere to hide. The killer has been apprehended and detained at nights, though he has day-parole which he still carry outs his violent attacks.

    We need your help! We understand and appreciate the hunting instinct he carries, however, we need to help him come to our side and be a CI on the rampant mouse-gang activities in the area. We need a "hush hush" operation on the mouse population. We may be dirty but we keep the streets (feilds and deck) clean. This bad boy was born for the streets (farm) and can't be contained for long. Though he enjoys his concrete bunkie (various plush blankets) to sleep in at night and a warm meal. It ain't much of a life-style, crime junkie he is. We want to use his crime for the "greater good" and have him be a mouse only hitman.

    Real question time, how do we hone his hunting for sport back into just the mice populace? He really seems to enjoy that aspect of his life and I don't want to take that fully away from him, but as we do have a very rampant rodent population and even after releasing his live catches he has returned with the exact same critter just to kill it to prove something. We give him treats for mice, and not for other critters now, my mom scolds him lightly "Spurrs, what did you do? That's bad, thats a no-no." I'm trying to find a way to redirect his attention back to mice only.

    He currently has killed:
    2 baby rabbits
    3 birds (some babies 1 adult)
    2 chipmunks (1 baby 1 adult)
    100+ mice

    There was a time he was a mouse only cat and that was fantastic but he lost his focus and I want to remind him mice are the way to go if he's going to hunt. Please any advice would be amazing!

    Some info about Spurrs:


    - was a barn cat, who lived on farm after farm, had a seen playful interaction with baby raccoons (he seemed to really like them) and is very much dog like in his demeanor when he's in the home.
    - he has access to the dog door and free roam of our farm though he doesn't travel far and comes with recall and treats during the day, at nights he is locked inside for his own safety as coyotes pass through my parents property in the evening to hunt
    - he is neutered and UTD on shots and adores fellow feline friends and he is a handsome buff shorthaired, althetic build
    - prior to my knowledge of his killing spree, he came over to visit my guinea pig (pig on lap, cat on the floor sniffing) we were petting him and the guinea pig and he tried to groom the guinea pig, the guinea pig was startled by a sudden tongue in the ear (as anyone would) he startled Spurrs to which he then avoided entirely the rest of our visit
    - when we move in our own smaller critters will be in locked secure cages and kept in a room where Spurrs is unable to have access to them unless supervised.

    I know it's ideal to keep a cat safe in an outdoor enclosure but having lived his entire life roaming farms, I don't want to limit his fun, or depress him by locking him away from the life he's known.

    Any advice would be wonderful so please feel free to share your opinion. My apologies for such a long post!

    Thanks for sticking in there with me!

  2. #2
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    you aren't going to stop his hunting. He can't help himself. Cats are natures perfect killing machine, they are hardwired to kill. Cats are the only animal other than man that kills for sport and not food. Other than keeping him inside all the time you are not going to stop him from hunting.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  3. #3
    Thanks Linda, ohh I have seen the incredible hunter he is, and unfortunately I think keeping him inside all the time or on-leash would at this point in his life, decrease his quality of life.

    I feel bad for all the critters he catches but more so for the bigger critters. I hope maybe there's a way we can entice him back more into mice. But it does seem he just enjoys the challenge of the other prey.

    I was thinking maybe getting him mouse toys and the more he plays with that the better, and treat the crap out of him. He loves his treats, very food and praise motivated. I really hope there may be something we can do.

  4. #4
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    he can't help himself, its genetic, the main reason cats were domesticated in the first place was to kill rodents on farms ect. You could put a bell on his collar but cats are smarter than you think and he'll learn to keep his neck from moving thus the bell won't ring, they are quick and their strike is on target and deadly. You are fighting a losing battle if you think you can stop him from hunting. The only sure way is to keep him inside.

    I had a bengal and nothing hunts like a bengal but he was not allowed outside, I have an aquarium screen saver so he liked to "fish" on the monitor, he knew that if he moved the mouse or the keyboard the fish would disappear so he figured out if he got on top of the monitor the fish didn't go away so he amused himself by trying to "fish" from the monitor I no longer have him, lost him to cancer when he was 12 but I have another that is just as bad

    this was him fishing

    https://pix.sfly.com/zvYFxC
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  5. #5
    Haha! Oh my gosh that's sweet! I'm sorry for your loss, we lost my parents 19 year old to cancer 4 years ago, it was devastating. We considered treating the cancer but given his age, it wasnt fair to make him feel so unwell and risk surgery when he could live comfortably a little bit longer with his pain management, but we knew we couldn't hold on to this incredible 24 toed cat. Cancer is just such an unfair disease. I hope our boys have met each other across the RB.

    Well I suppose the killer will be free to walk the streets (fields). I wish there was something I could do. Certainly don't want to deprive him of the joys in his life that he was born for, I just wish he could keep the bloodthirst for mice.

    Would giving him enriching toys outside that give him a "thrill of the hunt" feel perhaps help calm down the frequency?

    He brings in 3-4 animals a day, and that is just bringing them in the house. I've gone out and seen him munching away on a helpless critter outside too on a few occasions. I wonder if there is another way to keep him entertained? He seems like he's just bored so he wants to hunt all of the time because it's fun and sometimes he gets treats.

    So far Spurrs is one of the most incredible cats I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and is certainly the best (and only) cat that I have had the privledge of owning (sort of). He has the loveable goofy characteristics of a dog, and the various cuddling modes of a cat. Smart little devil too, he watches the cats on tv and waits for them to meow then he will meow back.

    He has a tonne of training potential, I just have no training experience with felines so I don't know where to start. He naturally knew things like shake, down, sit, spin, up on back legs, stay and recall. He is great at recall I usually call outside when it's bedtime and within usually five minutes he will pop in the dog door, ready for bedtime snack and cuddles. I've been working with him like I do my parents dogs and he seems to follow right along most times and with a little encouragement.

    He's a smart little bugger, clumsy at times, but I think the big brain must just throw him off balance lol. Any recommendations on how to further challenge a cat that's probably smarter than me? Not to get rid of hunting but to help keep that brain working too!

  6. #6
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    my only suggestion would be to get another kitten, they do like their own kind of play with. Keep the new kitten inside and it might make him want to spend more time inside playing with her. Obviously get a little girl. Also its a good idea to have him neutered before he's six months old to lessen the chances of him spraying.

    I have two cats a siamese and a bengal, mine do not go out but I do have two window boxes that are about the size of a large window air conditioner, it goes in the window and has a magnetic door they can open and close to go in and out whenever they want to. Top and bottom are solid, the sides are all caged in, they can't get out and nothing can get in. You might look into getting one, this way he can go out but not kill anything.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  7. #7
    I've been considering once we have our home built and he is living with us to foster critters of all sorts, but since we are moving with family, they don't want anymore indoor critters, with the three dogs, and the cat plus a dose of animal allergies (we are crazy but we can't imagine our lives without them, even if it's a constant sniffles battle) it is a lot of energy already in the house.

    With us moving in with my guinea pig, my boyfriend's lizard and two snakes we are just adding to that energy level, so a kitten may be a bit much for us right now. But it's something to consider in the future. He loves both boys and girls but he would get beat up with the other male cat, and it wasn't fair he would get chased around his home so he joined my parents to get some peace.

    My house is actually going to be a tiny house on wheels (28' by 8'5" with an additional loft). Though we can't have windows like you have (which sounds awesome by the way) he will have an indoor tree to get him to the loft, a cat door to a screened in porch, private lit potty, climb-friendly walls, and a private window shelf for him to sit and watch the world from the top of the house essentially.

    I'm hoping to make it as cat friendly as I can. Any tips for building a cat friendly tiny home? Irrelevant to my original post, I know.

  8. #8
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    https://pix.sfly.com/qqqJ2m

    this is my bengal

    https://pix.sfly.com/G1qq4-

    my bengal when he was a kitten in his window box

    I have two of these, one for each cat

    its called a kitty veranda or catio

    I have no suggestions for building something for a tiny house. but if he has access to a screened in area that should make him happy
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  9. #9
    Oh my, so handsome!! I love his markings, I will upload a bunch of Spurrs when I can get them loaded properly. I'm hoping he will adjust and enjoy the screened in porch when it comes that time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giodg View Post
    Thanks Linda, oh I have seen the incredible hunter he is, and unfortunately I think keeping him inside all the time or on-leash would at this point in his life, decrease his quality of life.

    I feel bad for all the critters he catches but more so for the bigger critters. I hope maybe there's a way we can entice him back more into mice. But it does seem he just enjoys the challenge of the other prey.

    I was thinking maybe getting him mouse toys and the more he plays with that the better, and treat the crap out of him. He loves his treats, very food and praise motivated. I really hope there may be something we can do.
    Why does it matter what animals Spurrs kills outside? Cats are not like humans who plan to hunt deer or whatever. They see prey and start chasing it. My neighbor's cat does not go out to hunt for anything. He just likes to hang out in my backyard. But when he sees a lizard (there are tons of them here in Florida) the hunt is on. Once he succeeded and felt bad for the lizard, which squirmed in his mouth for a minute. The cat sat in my yard with the poor thing between his teeth for a few minutes, then let it go unharmed. I felt bad for the lizard.

    Toys are a great idea. Some mice have real rabbit fur. Others squeak like a real mouse on contact. A wand toy called Da Bird has real guinea feathers attached to the string that flutter when you flick your wrist while holding it. There also are toys that make a natural chirping sound on contact. Those sorts of toys combined with rewards for playing with them will help Spurrs stay inside without getting bored if he likes them. However, cats do not make the connection you are thinking of. He will still kill birds even if you only give him mice to play with. The only way to stop it is keep him inside 24/7.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

  11. #11
    The only reason we were growing concerned was that we felt we weren't providing enough stimulation at home as he was a mouse only hunter at first and after a few months he switched up to higher game. I'm worried as I have a pet guinea pig who he has met (before I knew he was a hunter) which will be moving in when I move in as well as a lizard and two snakes and want to try and help relax the situation a little bit.

    The guinea pig will be living in an outdoor predator proof walk in coop with other guinea pigs (he desperately needs at least a friend, they're not meant to be solitary animals) and though it will be quite secure and they will be locked indoors at night I still am trying to divert these stronger urges. Like I said I love that he still has his hunter instinct despite domestication, but he is seeking out larger and larger prey.

    I have lots of feather ended toys which he loves, I will have to get him some prey-like toys as well. I will have to encourage my mom to play with him more while I'm away and I will make sure he gets lots of play when I get there.

    I'm thinking about getting him a harness and lead and taking him for hikes on our property, carrying lots of treats and maybe teaching him to focus for the walks and not hunt for our walks, then when we get home have a prey drived play game to show him there's a time to hunt and a time not to hunt? Would that just confuse him?

  12. #12
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    I don't do harness walks, I think it just encourages them to want to go out more and more. My situation is a bit different, they have their window boxes so they can go in and out just not out enough to hunt and kill things. I get a mouse in the house once in a while, needless to say it doesn't last long. Once he had one that wasn't dead, I took it away from him and went to flush it down the toilet, he actually jumped in the toilet to get it. My siamese is not a hunter, she might try to take his mouse away from him or at least see what he has but he will growl and run away with it. He never eats them, just kills them and leaves them for me. Even if the cat is not hungry and has no desire to eat his kill the urge to hunt and kill is hardwired in them, they can't help themselves. So if you try to stop his hunting good luck with that
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  13. #13
    Oh I hadn't considered that! I definitely don't want him straying farther than he already does. It's nice knowing he is just a call away, I would be worried about other predators if he decided to take his own hikes. You're right. Best avoid the walks.

  14. #14
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    My cats are satisfied with the window boxes but I know they'd love to really go outside but that can't happen, we have fisher cats around and house cats are their favorite meal. I don't think they would attack anything as big as Phoenix but she is never left outside by herself unless she wants to go in her kennel
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  15. #15
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    Make sure you don't feed Spurrs too many treats. He may only want them instead of his regular food and get fat.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

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