Q: I am terrified of lizards but my three-year-old female Calico cat brings me dead ones and it is freaking me out. What can I do to stop her behaviour?
A: Cats are predators by nature. While hunting is a learned behaviour taught by their mothers and is essential for survival in the wild, they are born with an instinct to stalk, chase and finally catch their prey. It is only natural that indoor felines will continue to hunt. What does our concrete jungle have to offer? Rats, lizards, cockroaches, small birds and many more. Your Calico has been well taken care of by you. When she brings back a catch, it is actually her way of saying “thank you” and showing you how important you are to her.
Now, on to your question on what you can do to stop her natural behaviour. The truth is you can’t, but you can at least attempt to control it. You can begin by calling a pest terminator to get rid of your lizard infestation. This would help reduce the temptation for your furkid. To prevent being startled by dead animals lying around, you can designate an area for her to leave the prey. Get a family member who is less freaked out by the dead creature to move it to the desired location (e.g. an old newspaper laid on the floor), before mimicking joy or rewarding her with a treat. Repeat this step multiple times and your cat will eventually learn the right place to leave her ‘gift’.
It is important to note that shouting or screaming at your kitty will not eliminate this behaviour as she might interpret that the dead animal is not good enough. Instead, she is likely to attempt to bring back more offerings. The best way to react is to accept the prey and then quickly dispose of the body. Lastly, spend more time playing with your Calico to keep her stimulated and tired. This way, she won’t have the time and energy to catch lizards or anything else.
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