Exeter research finds play and meaty food reduce hunting by cats
A study from the University of Exeter has revealed that premium cat food with proteins sourced from meat can reduce the number of prey animals that cats bring home by 36 per cent and that playful interactions between cats and owners resulted in a 25 per cent reduction.
Latest developments improve upon previous studies that suggested keeping cats indoors or fitting cats with collars, devices and deterrents were an effective way to prevent hunting, according to Professor Robbie McDonald, of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability institute. Many cat owners raised concern over the ethics of restricting their cats’ outdoor access. As such, these latest developments showcase a promising turn in animal research.
It was also found that some cat foods contain protein from plant sources such as soy that deprive cats of vital micronutrients which lead them to hunt.
The study involved using feather toys to stimulate cats to stalk, chase and pounce. It was also found that some cat foods contain protein from plant sources such as soy that deprive cats of vital micronutrients which lead them to hunt, said Martina Cecchetti, the PhD student who lead the experiments.
Further research will investigate how cats can gain the specific nutrients without further meat production due to the environmental and climate degradation that production of meat can cause.
Editor: Ella Shadwell