Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Cats prefer killing than eating

Adamec, R. E. (1976). The interaction of hunger and preying in the domestic cat (Felis catus): An adaptive hierarchy?. Behavioral Biology, 18(2), 263-272.

After being deprived of food for 48 hr six cats' food preferences for six types of food were determined. The food types were commercial beef, fish, and chicken cat foods, salmon, and freshly killed hooded rats, either warm or cooled. Food types were presented in pairs and preference was determined as the food types eaten most in a 1-hr period. After being deprived, the cats were then presented a choice between these foods in ascending order of preferences and a live hooded rat, on separate days. Cats were allowed to eat their preferred food for 45 sec prior to introducing the rat. In all cases cats stopped eating, traveled 4 ft, and leaped off a shelf to attack and kill the rat. They then brought the rat back to the food dish and resumed eating. In most cases the cats preferred the food they were eating to the rat prey. In only one case, when the most preferred food was being eaten, did the cat not attack. Quantitative measures of attack latency, biting, and latency to kill revealed a uniform attack pattern in all food-choice situations which did not differ from attacks seen when the cats were presented with a rat only. These data suggest that eating is not a terminal “consummatory” component of preying as a food-getting response. Hunger may be seen as a potentiator of a predatory tendency which takes precedence over food consumption. In view of the relative difficulty of feline prey capture in the wild for maintaining adequate food supply, the precedence of preying over eating may have the functional value of increasing food input by multiple kills if the opportunity arises.

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