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Understanding Animals Viewpoints
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The Animal Communicator Blog

Are Cats Cruel When They Hunt?

We just came home to find our cat had captured a chipmunk and was torturing her until I got hold of her and returned her outside. Can you please tell us why cats appear to want the pain of capturing and eating a fellow animal to linger? Why do they "play" with the creature? It looks so cruel to us. How does the cat consciousness explain this? Kay Lindstrom

I don’t know any cat that wants the “pain of capturing and eating a fellow animal to linger.” This is a human judgment and way of thinking. I have found in communicating with cats that they are much more matter-of-fact about it.

Cats, like all animals, including humans, follow their natural body programming that lets them be the kind of animal they are and do their job in the web of life. Hunting and killing is natural for animals, whether they kill other animals or plants. It’s a straightforward survival operation.

Domestic cats often don’t have the urgency of wild cats to kill quickly in their hunting because they are fed by humans and aren’t hungry. So they can take their time and enjoy the process, which is playful and loving to them and not cruel in intention or action, no matter how humans color it.

Here is the cat and other animal perspectives that I shared in my book,
When Animals Speak, (first edition 1993) under the section “The Predator-Prey Dance.” I learned a lot about the topic from my previous cats.

Nature has carefully engineered the predator–prey cycle. Animals (as spirit) generally leave their bodies as soon as a predator pounces. Even though the body keeps functioning and may struggle to get away, often the spirit will not return and take over conscious control unless the predator has gone away for a while. The body may be in a state of shock, with a dazed or faraway look, until the spirit decides it's okay to rejoin the body. When I have interfered with my cats' hunting escapades and rescued chipmunks, rabbits, mice, or birds, the little animals need some coaxing to return to their bodies, even though uninjured physically. Nature also takes care of prey animals by triggering a release of endorphins into the body as the predator attacks, so no pain is felt after the initial blow.

Yohinta, our tortoise-shell cat, is a skillful huntress. We have a rule in our household that the cats must kill and eat their prey animals outside, not in the house. My office windows faced the pathway that Yohinta regularly took when she was bringing critters back into the yard. Sometimes I became involved in the life-and-death struggle.

I have tried to rescue chipmunks and release them before Yohinta or the other cats kill them. Often, despite my good intentions, they would run away from me, their rescuer, and scurry back under the nose or legs of the cat–expecting, almost asking, to be killed. It appears that a smaller cat predator that you know is preferable to a giant human predator that you don't know! The predator–prey ritual is programmed into the species and agreed upon as part of natural living for those involved. Human rescuers may seem like an anomaly in the natural process.

Instead of interfering physically when Yohinta parades past my window with a chipmunk in her mouth, I have found that working telepathically eliminates a messy struggle and is much more effective.

Cats often drop and pounce on an animal a number of times after they've made their catch. Chipmunks are often in shock after a cat attacks, and don't try to run away when the cat releases them. I have concentrated on helping chipmunks to stay conscious, sending them an image of running up a tree to get away as soon as the cat drops them. The result has been that I have seen Yohinta walk away disappointed and heard chipmunks chattering from high in the trees after their escape.

Nonhuman companions have also taught me to look at the relationship of predator and prey in a totally different way than my human-acculturated viewpoint. Sherman also hunts and eats a variety of animals. Once, while I was walking in the yard, feeling emotionally exhausted after a hard day, Sherman ran up to me with a bird in his mouth. He placed it at my feet, backed away and said, "Here, this will make you feel better." Instead of trying to pounce on it again, he sat calmly watching me as I picked it up. I thanked him warmly for his gift and his thoughtfulness. The little bird, scared but unhurt, quivered in my hands. As I opened my hands to let the bird fly away, Sherman watched quietly, blinking a smile to me. My spirits were definitely uplifted by his gift.

Master Sherman

Another time, I was roused from my desk by the high-pitched squealing of a baby rabbit. Sherman was flinging the rabbit up in the air and leaping on it. While I knew that the spirit was disconnected from the body and this was the predator–prey agreement, I couldn't stand watching or hearing the scenario. I tried to get the bunny away from Sherman as he tossed it, only to have him snatch it more quickly than I could. I asked Sherman to release it, telling him that he didn't need this rabbit. As I reached to take it from him, he growled at me and told me it was his rabbit. I then stood quietly, asking him to release it. He looked at me, with the rabbit in his mouth, and said that I didn't understand. He loved this bunny. It was his friend, and he loved him. He let go and caressed the rabbit to graphically demonstrate his affection.

As he did that, I experienced, right through the core of my body, the love that exists between predator and prey–the agreement that is as old as life on Earth. I walked away with a new comprehension as I heard Sherman complete the ritual and eat the rabbit.

On a television program called "Wild America," a mountain lion was shown with a deer he had killed. The big cat lay next to the deer's head, fondling it and purring. The commentator, Marty Stouffer, mentioned the same thing that Sherman had taught me–how much the mountain lion loved the deer.

Present in most predators is an unspoken gratitude to the animals who nourish them with their lives. This same sentiment is celebrated in the lives of native peoples as they speak to and honor the animals and plants that they kill. Modern, urbanized people, who are remote from the life and death of the animals and plants that they eat, or hunters who do not communicate with animals and kill for "sport," lose out spiritually when they put aside this connection.

I have a number of animals in my family who would normally have predator–prey relationships, such as cats with birds and rats, or dogs with chickens and rabbits. The "prey" animals are assured that they are safe in their habitats, or that living among the "predators" is possible. The predator animals are coached to guard and take care of the other family members, looking at them as fellow beings rather than as prey.

When I got Igor, the anole lizard, Chico San became very interested in him and would jump next to his terrarium, which frightened Igor into the corner. Chico persisted, despite being chased off when I spotted her. I told Igor he was safe and Chico could not get him, and I felt them develop an understanding with each other. I could see from one angle how it created a more natural environment for him, where there would be predators, and of course, he was safe and could hide behind his bountiful potted ivy plant. But he couldn't keep running or hiding in safer places, as he would in a wild situation, and this was stressful.

At Igor's first advanced (animal communication) workshop, several people learned from Chico San and Igor about the love and friendship they felt for each other. As the people talked about it, Chico San rolled over, meowed upside down with her mouth open, batted at the person near her, and asked, "Can the lizard come out now?" Later, I put Igor's terrarium in a place where Chico could not jump up next to it, as he was being chased from warming himself on the bottom heater and wasn't relaxing enough to eat well. Moving his habitat to a cat-proof area created a better balance in our domestic predator–prey relationships.

Igor had a peaceful kinship with the flies, crickets, and other insects that I gathered for him to eat. They watched each other and communicated, understanding and accepting their relationship as predator and prey. It is a natural but remarkable connection. Obviously, all creatures try to survive, but there is also the understanding of how we are to exchange with each other, even unto death.

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