Last updated on December 12th, 2021
Cats are born hunters, no matter how domesticated or timid they may seem. Have you ever seen those gestures of happiness in your kitty after catching or killing a rat or other weaker animals?
Your feline pet may have gotten its hunting instincts from its ancestors. In fact, the entire feline family, including tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cats, etc., are hunters from birth.
Cats will kill and eat squirrels because of their innate hunting instincts to prey on animals smaller than themselves, however, this will depend on the mood of your cat as they’ll also hunt and chase squirrels for the fun of it.
Table of Contents
- Do Cats Kill and Eat Squirrels?
- How To Protect Squirrels from Cats?
- Are Cats Health Affected by Eating Squirrels?
- General FAQs
The pet that appears so cuddly, adorable, and timid actually has a dormant or even active hunting nature that makes them run after mice, squirrels, frogs, small birds, insects, and so on.
In short, they’re always hunting other species in some way or the other, even if it’s as minor as an ant or butterfly.
Do Cats Kill and Eat Squirrels?
Yes, they do! Most cats will hunt and kill squirrels and other wildlife species, not just for eating but also for sport.
Even though cats don’t need to prey on other animals for survival, especially the ones that are domesticated and are getting full meals every day, yet they’ll display their inborn hunting instincts in some way or the other.
Some cats even kill squirrels for the fun of it and don’t really end up eating them.
In other words, it depends on the mood of the cat, whether it’s going to kill and eat that unfortunate squirrel or simply play with it.
Since cats are predators by nature, squirrels and other species easily fall prey to them. This opportunist hunter may appear sweet and friendly, but it loves to chase weaker creatures.
Most importantly, cats are extremely cunning, and we won’t even have a clue when our feline pets are planning to chase an unfortunate squirrel in the backyard.
Anything that crosses a cat’s path will be chased down – either till that poor fellow’s death or until it manages to escape.
No matter how well-fed your cat is or how satisfied they may seem with all their favorite goodies and toys you’ve offered, they’ll retain their hunting behavior and showcase it at some point in time.
Since squirrels are smaller than cats, they’re often categorized as “dinner” in the cat’s world.
However, cats seem to catch fewer squirrels than they do with other animals.
The reason is almost obvious. Squirrels are faster than other creatures, and they’re better climbers than cats.
Squirrels have quicker movements than other rodents like mice, voles, etc., and hence, they’re good at escaping.
Yet some of the unfortunate ones end up being food for this so-called “furry domestic animal”.
If you’re both a squirrel and cat owner, you may have already warned or otherwise trained your feline pet to behave when squirrels are around.
It’s a constant struggle for pet owners, so much so that some even quit owning either of the two pets.
You may constantly find yourself getting stressed and worried in an attempt to discourage your cats from harming your squirrels.
But it simply doesn’t work that way because your cat is a hunter by nature. There’s nothing much you can do to stop your feline friend.
Telling your cat not to hunt is similar to asking a child not to cry. Kids express themselves by crying, especially the little ones who haven’t learned how to speak.
Similarly, cats will hunt, and you can’t really stop them. And most importantly, your kitties won’t even understand why they’re getting scolded for something that’s natural to them.
And as mentioned above, cats don’t just hunt for food. They do it for sport!
What you really need to do is protect your squirrels. If you have squirrels in your yard or garden and you’re worried about their safety where you’re not home, here’s what you need to know to keep them safe.
How To Protect Squirrels from Cats?
Here are some effective remedies to keep your cat away from squirrels.
Keep Your Cat Inside
This is the best way to ensure your kitty isn’t committing any crime.
Because stepping outside will make your pet come across various kinds of fauna that’ll naturally trigger their hunting instincts, especially if they see fresh prey running across their line of sight.
Keep Your Squirrels in an Enclosed Nest or Squirrel House
Try to build a large and properly enclosed nest, house, or pen for your squirrels to keep them well-protected against cats.
Make sure to provide enough space and supplies for your cute little rodents and address their needs from time to time.
You can also purchase a solid cage with sturdy metal bars that’ll keep out your cat’s claws and teeth.
Are Cats Health Affected by Eating Squirrels?
Hunting wild fauna species may affect a cat’s health. For instance, the prey may try to counterattack the cat in an attempt to defend or protect itself.
As a result, it may inflict harm on your feline pet in the form of scratches from claws, bites, bruises, and other such injuries.
Besides, wild animals may suffer from several diseases and infections. Your cat won’t ever think of such things when hunting down prey. It’s your job to consider such issues.
After eating a wild creature that’s suffering from some disease, it may get transmitted to your cat.
Also, there are high chances that your feline pet may swallow a creature that consumed poisoned bait.
Or the prey may have ingested toxic substances or may have been poisoned otherwise.
Furthermore, some rodents even carry harmful worms and infections. So, if your cat swallows these animals, your beloved pet may fall sick.
Indeed, your cat is actually the protector of your home as they keep all rodents, lizards, and other small animals out.
However, at the same time, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your cat is healthy while preventing your mini hunter from swallowing dangerous animals or poisoned creatures.
Did you know that wild ground squirrels can carry diseases to your feline pet? We must admit one truth that domesticated cats have a weaker immune system compared to wild cats.
Therefore, your pet cat is prone to dangerous diseases like plague, rabies, typhus, brain worms, and many more, which may get transmitted from squirrels.
What’s even more dangerous is the diseased cat may transfer the infections onto you or your family members.
And this is one of the major causes of epidemics and pandemics! In fact, the wildlife and health officials have already declared squirrels as zoonotic.
This means that these rodents are active carriers of different types of diseases and viruses.
Moreover, your cat can easily contract fleas from other creatures, such as mice and squirrels.
So, if your furry friend’s skin is covered with fleas, it’s not only annoying for your beloved pet but is also quite harmful.
Fleas are pests that can be carriers of many dangerous diseases and viruses.
Furthermore, there are other things to consider if your cat has swallowed a squirrel.
For example, if your furry pet gobbled up the entire squirrel, probably by leaving out only the hairy tail, you should check whether your cat is having any breathing problems.
Because squirrels have tiny bones, they may have gotten clogged in the throat of your cat, thus blocking their airways and respiratory passages.
Therefore, check whether your kitty is facing any swallowing or breathing difficulties.
These hairy rodents have extremely sharp claws and teeth that help them to fight back so they may have inflicted injuries on your cat.
Offer your pet the necessary first aid and make sure there’s no internal damage. Consult your veterinarian to diagnose any unseen issues.
The best way to keep your four-legged pet indoors to curb their predatory instincts would be to:
- Keep your feline companion engaged in different kinds of interesting toys and games.
- Provide them with adequate goodies, treats.
- Spend enough time with your pet to ensure they don’t feel lonely.
If your pet has somehow killed an animal, keep a close eye on their behavior and health. If you notice any symptoms, contact a vet immediately.