“Do Cats Eat Ducklings?” simply, the answer is “Yes”. And if you are planning on having both cats and ducks as pets, then this answer might concern you right now.
But why do domestic cats even eat ducklings, as they get food and shelter? The reasons can be hunger, natural instinct, and many other things. Also, the vulnerability of ducklings can be another reason.
So, to get along with your cat and duckling together, you need to know all about your pet’s behavior. Then you can take the necessary steps to prevent ducklings from being a feast for your cat. Also, you can decide if your cat is a real predator or can be a friend of your ducklings.
Possible Reasons For Cats To Eat Ducklings
For wild cats, the main reason for eating ducklings can be hunger. But the pet cats are getting food and care, so why bother hunting ducklings or other animals? The main reasons for both types of cats are:
- TerritoryNatural Instinct
Let’s just discuss these facts so that you can know better about your cat’s behavior.
Hunger can be the main reason for a cat to hunt ducklings. Ducklings are tiny, little creatures and easy to hunt. It does not take much time to hunt and eat them.
This is why cats are more willing to get ducks. Stray cats often catch ducks and eat them. Sometimes, they search for food, even if they are not hungry, because of their wild behavior.
In case they are hungry and do not get the food at the right time, they may starve. That’s why wildlife teaches them to hunt for food early and store them.
Things are different with pet cats. The neophilic nature forces them to try new food. They enjoy the variation in their food; if they get the same type of food for a long time, they tend to hunt for food outside.
This satisfies their hunger as well as their nature.
Playing with food or prey is a natural habit of cats. Both indoor and outdoor cats play with food before eating them.
The main reason behind this kind of behavior is to reduce the risk of being attacked. Playing with the prey means they may be tiring it off so they do not get injured. Also, it helps to consume food easily.
If the cat does not consume the food but still plays, it is probably for fun. They love to torture their prey. You may sometimes notice your cat is catching a rat, then leaves it, and then again catches it. They do it all for fun purposes.
Having full control over territory is another nature of cats. They do not like other animals invading their territory and love to live independently.
That can be another reason they might want to kill ducks or other animals living in their space.
Cats are predators in nature, which they inherited from their ancestors. The predatory instinct pushes them to hunt, even if they get proper food and supplies.
The pet cat parents often seem concerned because their cat may sometimes hunt fish, small animals, or ducks. The training for being well-behaved also can not help them to get rid of their behavior.
However, the ratio of hunting prey from outdoor to indoor cats differs. This kind of natural instinct highly influences stray cats and can not be controlled like pet cats.
For duck pet owners, the safety of their pets is always a big concern. Because a pet cat is more well-behaved and proper training lets them live with ducks. But you can not expect this from a wild cat.
The environment is a significant issue here. A pet cat gets all the food supplies on time, reducing the tendency to hunt ducklings. But the same does not go with stray cats.
Cats Traits As A Predator
Your cat needs to express its natural behavior, and being a predator is one of them. There are several traits by which you can discover its predatory behavior.
Stealth And Ambush Techniques
Cats use stealth and ambush techniques, thus known as ambush predators.
During their hunting time, they stay motionless and wait for their prey to come within their reach before they pounce. They try to stay calm, and then they trap animals via stealth when it is the right time.
Most often they bite the neck of big animals so the suffocation can kill them.
Pet owners mostly experience this kind of behavior in their cats. Whenever it is time to catch something, especially rats or ducklings, they hide somewhere and wait for the prey.
Agility And Speed
Cats’ agility and speed make them great predators. They can run 20 mph with great flexibility by lengthening their backs. While running, they stretch their back as much as possible and can jump longer.
This makes their hunting much easier. Because, for hunting, they need quick movement so they can hunt within seconds. Otherwise, the prey will escape for sure.
Small ducklings can be tricky to catch as they roam here and there. Baby ducks have higher instincts and can move faster by any interruption. Unfortunately, with great speed and energy, cats can catch them easily.
Even at higher places, they can jump with excellent flexible movement. They use this for trapping spiders or flies.
While hunting cats, sensory perceptions help it the most. You may not know that your cat has a great sense of smell and can detect movement in low lights.
Primarily they detect humans or any object by smelling them. They can smell the object or prey from a distance and prepare for hunting.
Next, great eyesight improves their ability to roam in darkness. Their eye’s retina is more sensitive to light than humans because of a layer of guanine. They can see clearly in darkness.
As a pet owner, you must have experienced your cats walking all around your home at night. This is a great advantage of cats for trapping their prey’s food.
Claws And Teeth
Cats are flesh-eating mammals; like other cat family members, their claws and teeth play a vital role.
They use their claws and teeth as weapons, and it is hard to escape from them. While hunting, their claws, and feet get wider than before to make an unavoidable weapon. This is a claw-sheathing mechanism that cats have been following for hundreds of years.
Their teeth and dental structure are other traits of a predator. Their teeth are not flat, and most of the cheek teeth do not meet with the upper and lower layers.
You may have noticed your cat does not chew food but rather engulfs it. Their grip of teeth is strong; after catching ducklings, they carry it tightly. This tight grip suffocates the duckling and kills it.
Why Ducklings Play the Role of Prey
Ducklings are tiny, adorable little creatures that most people love to pet them. However, the main problem arises with cats because cats tend to eat ducklings.
The reasons are obvious why the ducklings always become the victims. Let’s discuss this a bit broadly.
Vulnerabilities Of Ducklings
Ducklings in their early stage of life are the most vulnerable, which makes them the easiest prey. That’s why cats choose ducklings as their food rather than other animals.
In this stage of life, ducklings are inexperienced and stay under the care of their parents. They start learning survival methods, but it is not enough to stay safe.
If you have pet ducklings, you should be more careful about their safety. It would be best if you do not leave them with your cats alone. No matter how your cat is trained, their instinct may force them to hurt your small ducklings.
Small Size Compared to Predators
Of course, the size of ducklings matters the most. Cats do not chase adult ducks because there is a chance of attacking back. Adult ducks can help themselves because of their size.
Even small-sized cats stay far away from adult ducks. The scenario becomes different when the adult ducks chase small cats—their predator and prey shuffle roles.
Lack Of Defense Mechanisms
Ducklings have very limited defense mechanisms compared to adult ducks. Their parents just started teaching them how to survive.
Young ducks do not have the agile ability like big ducks, not even close to cats. Cats are highly agile, and they can make young ducks easy prey.
Adult ducks use their feathers to fly or swim if any cats chase them. But ducklings do not develop strong feathers, which can be another factor why they lack defense techniques.
Barriers Between Cats & Ducklings
Because of the vulnerability of ducklings, they can not defend themselves from predators, especially cats. Does this make a barrier between them to live together?
The answer can be confusing because, in many cases, they live together being friends. But if the cat’s instinct triggers, then it can be problematic.
So, if you plan on welcoming a new young duck member in your home who needs to live with your cat, you should be pre-prepared.
Socialize Them to Get Along With Each Other
Socializing between a kitten and a duckling is far easier than with an adult cat. Kittens start learning things, and if you introduce a duck to them as a friend, they will be used to that.
Getting familiar with the smell of duck can be a good start. Give your kitten or cat something like a towel that the duck stays with.
For the first time, please do not leave them alone. Instead, let them play together under your supervision. You can continue doing this session until they get used to each other.
Feed Your Cat on Time
The main reason is hunger and why the cat hunts, which we have already discussed. So, be careful about giving proper food to your cat. Bring variations in the cat food so the cat does not feel an appetite while staring at your baby ducklings.
Train Your Cat
It is easier to train a young cat than an adult cat. You can start from an early age or your kitten to socialize with other animals; even if you do not have a pet chicken or duck, bring it from your neighbors.
By doing this, your cat will not harm other cats or pets.
Put a Bell on Your Cat Neck
It is not always possible to be with pets. Tying a bell on your cat’s collar is better so you can know where it goes.
If your duckling is still in the intro phase with the cat, then you must try this trick. As soon as you get closer to the duck, you can be alerted by the sound.
Naturally, cats are predators, and ducklings are prey. The reason is obvious: the vulnerability, small size, and lack of defense make young ducklings easy to hunt for cats.
Cats eat ducklings mostly because of their predator nature, sometimes for hunger or as fun. But this can be prevented if you try from an early time.
Now it is very common to have pet ducks and cats together. But the main concern is how to get along with them. We have discussed all the techniques you can follow so both pets can be friends.