Are you a cat enthusiast who has always been intrigued about what our four-legged friends eat in the wild? Well, today is your lucky day as we have all the answers you’re looking for.
Because cats are obligate carnivores, they pretty much rely on meat for their essential diet. What this means is that they can’t survive without meat. And when they are in the wild, they are self-sufficient and fend for themselves.
Now, the big question is, what do cats eat in the wild? Stay with us as we take you through everything you need to know about our furry friends’ diet in the wild.
But before then, let’s give you some background.
Why do cats rely on meat?
As we earlier mentioned, felines depend a great deal on meat, and that’s because their bodies can only produce a little protein on their own. And because cats’ livers produce enough vitamin C, they don’t really need to be fed vegetables and fruits.
Also, since their bodies can only produce sufficient vitamin C, cats living in the wild depend on their impeccable hunting skills and sharp instinct to provide essential nutrients for their body. This explains why cats tend to eat their prey whole.
When cats eat meat in the wild, they don’t just eat for the protein; they also eat for other nutrients found in their prey’s bodies.
For instance, our furry friends can’t synthesize taurine or amino acids. Unfortunately, their body needs these nutrients, especially amino acids, which help with eyesight and heart function. Thankfully, cats can hunt, so they can get all the nutrients needed for healthy living directly from their prey.
Top foods that cats eat in the wild
Having given you a little background, it’s time to provide you with all the juicy details. Here, check out a variety of top foods cats eat in the wild.
Small rodents and birds
When cats are in the wild, their ultimate goal is to survive and thrive, and because of that, their hunting skills are at an all-time high. According to researchers who have carefully examined the stomach content and feces of wild cats, our feline friends who happen to find themselves in the wild feed on small rodents like rats, mice, rabbits, and hares.
Not just that, they also hunt and feed on small birds like sparrows and robins.
As if that’s not enough, cats have so developed their hunting skills that they are able to hunt and feed on larger prey like squirrels, moles, and even bats.
When in the wild, their degree of success as per hunting is greatly impacted by the level of experience, their body size/mass, the availability of prey, and the season in general.
Insect and reptiles
While this may sound somewhat insignificant, the reality is, most wild cats feed on insects and reptiles.
Anything from cockroaches, spiders, lizards, and grasshoppers will do for felines in the wild. It has also been revealed that these preys contain essential nutrients you’ll not find in many cat foods sold locally.
While fish isn’t so easy to catch, cats living in the wild are known to have advanced hunting skills and are able to hunt and feed on fish. Sure, fish is quite relevant to location, but cats in the wild who live near rivers and lakes have fish as part of their daily diet. Plus, fish makes the majority of their protein intake.
Cats and fresh prey
Like most feline families, our four-legged friends like to eat their prey fresh, especially the ones they have hunted by themselves. This is why they are considered among the cleanest animals in the wild. In addition to eating their prey fresh, cats also consume their entire prey, including bones, skin, feathers, and organs.
You should also know about the feeding habits of felines in the wild because while they are pretty much open to eating just about anything to survive, they try not to feed on grains, vegetables, and fruits.
So, when feeding your cat, try to stick to their primary food like meat. If you must serve grains, vegetables, and fruits, do it in moderation.
Do cats eat plants in the wild?
While cats are obligate carnivores, they don’t shy away from plants, especially when they are in the wild. According to information released by the ASPCA, eating very little amounts of grasses and other plants isn’t alien to normal cats. Among feral or wild cats, nibbling on small amounts of grasses and plants is a relatively normal behavior.
When cats are in the wild, they eat plants and grasses to get some fiber into their body. That said, they prefer to eat young and tender vegetation.
Frequently asked questions
What can I feed a wild cat?
Feeding a feral or wild cat can be tricky, but guess what? With a bit of care, you can nail it without a hassle. To start, you can try offering a can of tuna, cat food, a bowl of clean water, and shelter.
It’s okay if the cat puts up a fight, as it is used to living in the wild. To build a close relationship with a cat that has stayed in the wild, try to place its food outdoor. Put it in a place that she can easily access it.
How often do cats eat in the wild?
Wild cats usually eat small amounts of food throughout the day. And because they do more hunting at dawn and dusk, they tend to eat any time within 24 hours.
Should you leave food out for stray cats?
If you love to feed stray cats, it’s important that you don’t leave any uneaten food out. Try to provide a form of shelter in your yard, so they know exactly where to look when they are hungry.
When our furry friends find themselves in the wild, they enjoy feeding alone. And thanks to their impressive hunting skills, cats can eat healthy in the wild. From rodents to birds to reptiles and more, there are tons of prey in the wild that feral cats can nibble on to stay healthy.