In the wild, all cats feed on the ﬂesh of the animals they have killed Cats are solitary hunters, except for the lion, which hunts in a family group. Cats usually kill animals smaller than themselves, although occasionally they will attack a larger animal. Motionless animals sometimes escape an attack, but with practice, cats can recognize prey by sound and scent alone. They have an excellent memory for places and will return many times to a spot where they once had a successful hunt. Cats stalk their prey, sometimes for a long time, then, with a sudden rush, leap on it and sink their sharp canine teeth into the neck. Small cats feed mostly on mice, birds, lizards, beetles, and any other small animal they can catch. Large cats, like the leopard, feed on bigger animals-about the size of a goat-and often drags their prey into trees to keep it away from other predators.
The cat’s tail is an indicator of its moods. 1t lashes the tail when angry and twitches it gently back and forth when concentrating or contented.
IN FOR THE KILL
Cats often Choose a vantage point from which they can see but not be seen. This cat may have sat
absolutely silent and still on the fence for some time, watching the happenings in the grass below, before leaping down with great accuracy on the unsuspecting pie}
Ready for Action
This black leopard (also known as ar ” ” panther) is stalking and getting ready for the kill. Every part of the body is alert. A cat on the prowl moves very slowly and silently until it is close enough to make a quick and decisive pounce. All cats hunt in this way, from a lion killing a buffalo to a domestic cat killing a house mouse.
This picture comes from a 13th—centurybook, The Harley/m Bestiary. Although the cats are not at all realistically painted, it is interesting because it is such an early illustration of cats with a rat.
The Cheetah and the Springboks are keeping a wary eye on each other. The cheetah will not begin to hunt unless there is an antelope on its own in a vulnerable position. The antelope know this and will not be disturbed unless the cheetah comes too close. However, once the prey has been singled out the cheetah will pursue it at great
A FISHY BUSINESS
The fishing cat of India does not hunt for its food quite like ay another cat. It can ﬂip fish out of the Mh its slightly webbed paws and has been seen diving for fish and catching L them in its mouth.
With its massive teeth, this tiger can snap a bone with one bite and will devour a Whole carcass, skin and all.
A PRACTICED KILLER
Many cats, both wild and domestic, play with their prey before killing it. Mother cats teach their kittens how to V _ hunt by capturing prey and then releasing it so‘ – the kittens can watch their actions. It is not really known why adult cats with no kittens still play with their prey.
TOM AND JERRY
In the famous cartoon, quxck—thted mouse Jerry often gets the better of the swashbuckling but slightly stupid Tom — not often the “A case in real life.
This serial, like other small cats, crouches down to eat its food. When big cats eat, they tend to lie
down with the food positioned between their front paws. Small cats begin by eating the head, which often swallowed.