Ellie Mae barn cat mamma extraordinaire is guest blogging. Webster has learned she is a mousing expert. She has vital mousing advice for all the future barn cat mothers. Ellie Mae has her name cleared from being accused of having given birth cabbits (rabbit cats). They charged this mother cat with teaching baby cabbits to hop on mice. With her good cat name restored, Ellie Mae is ready to share her wisdom with barn cat mothers across the nation.
It is important from the earliest moments of your kitten’s kittenhood to teach them to mouse. After all barn cats, unlike lazy house cats, work for a living. We can not depend on Fancy Feast served in crystal dishes for our survival. Barn cats earn their keep. We also provide the necessary protection of draft horses from itty bitty field mice. Who knew so many daffy draft horses who weigh over a thousand pounds have a neurotic fear of mice? Tug Boat a retired hayride horse is the worst in our barn. He picks up his hoof prances like a dressage horse whenever a small mouse is at his feet. I come to the rescue every time. I have a saying about this,” Teach your kittens to be fast. Our nervous horse will make them go splat.”
This poor horse saw a field mouse in the field. Fainted due to the shock . A good mouser should have been escorting this poor mouse phobic horse.
Cats have been famous for hunting mice and rats for as long as cats have lived in barns and sometimes houses. As strange as it may seem to some non-barn animals, cats are not born knowing how to hunt. It is a skill they learn from watching their mothers. If the mother cat is a good mouse hunter, then her kittens will learn to be good hunters.
At about five or six weeks of age, you will teach your kittens how to hunt. At first, bring dead mice to the kittens. Eat some mice in front of the kittens. In this way, showing them that mice are their prey and that they are good to eat. As time goes on the kittens should play with the dead mice, you bring them. No catnip mice or lasers for working kittens. Before long the kittens should fling the dead mice around and pounce on them. It’s a good idea to stand clear of them when they’re at this stage. You might get smacked by a flying mouse if you don’t!
After a while, start bringing mice that are still half alive and release them for the kittens to practice. Soon the kittens are leaping on and flinging these mice around as confidently as they did the previous dead ones.
Then you should bring live mice to the kittens. These are the mice for the kittens to practice on. The first time you release a live mouse, and it tries to run off, there’s immediate bedlam among the kittens. Wildly excited, the kittens should fly around trying to leap onto the running mouse. The mouse should be zigging and zagging between the kittens.
If the mouse escapes the kittens, swat it back into play. By this time the kittens are so overexcited, they’re leaping at anything that moves. The mouse, a blade of grass, a blowing leaf or even each other. This is all fair game to the kittens. The mouse often
escapes during these early lessons.
As the lessons progress the kittens become more discriminating in their targets. Kittens develop their skills in catching the mice a varying rates. Some kittens seem to have ADCD. Attention deficit cat disorder, they leap from mouse to mouse not catching the mouse in their mouth. You can take extra time by releasing live mice one at a time. Take kittens that have ADCD, to the tack room or another distraction-free place to give them remedial mousing lessons. These lessons don’t always go smoothly. One of my kittens got the surprise of her life when a large mouse she was chasing suddenly sat up in front of her and scolded her at the top of its lungs. The mouse was apparently so fed up with the whole business that it jumped at the kitten. The startled kitten fell over backward and the mouse raced off to safety. Live and learn.
Eventually, the kittens are ready for their first real hunt. You should take them out to a good location that will have plenty of mice These are mice for the kittens to practice on. Now is not a time to show your hunting technique to the kittens. Instead, let them develop their own unique styles on these hunting forays. Each kitten discovers the techniques that work best for them. By the end of their lessons, the kittens have become fine mousers in their own right.