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lilikoi's avatar

If you buy bunnies from a pet store, will a domestic cat make them dinner? (read details pls)

Asked by lilikoi (10079points) March 14th, 2010

I’ve been reading a lot about feeding cats a raw food diet, which I’d like to do. Apparently rabbits are what cats would eat in the wild.

People that subscribe to this raw food diet spend a considerable amount of effort trying to get all the nutrient proportions just right to exactly mimic what a wild cat would eat.

You can’t get fresher than live rabbits, which are locally available as opposed to dead rabbits which may not be. And a whole rabbit, assuming the cat would eat the whole thing (I doubt it though), would provide precisely the right nutritional balance desired. Plus, it may actually be cheaper in the long run to keep rabbits than to ship rabbit meat in (or even in up front costs if I have to mail order it).

Has anyone ever done this?

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25 Answers

wildflower's avatar

Are you trying to make your cat feral?

Personally I find the idea of mixing a domesticated animal with wild behaviors a bit disturbing. Do you want a pet or a wild animal? If the latter, why not let it hunt for its own food?
If you want to feed your cat raw food, you could just buy fresh meat at the butcher’s

Ame_Evil's avatar

Holy crap I opened this thinking that you wanted to have a pet rabbit. Rabbit murderer!

Any way, I find cats are very fussy with food so there is no way anyone can generalise whether your specific cat would eat a rabbit unless you try it out yourself.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

Why do you want to feed a domesticated cat a wild food diet? Seems counter intuitive to me. That said, yes if you buy live bunnies a cat will eat them. Actually, destroy them is a better word. It’s not a pretty thing to watch.

lilikoi's avatar

@wildflower It is not as simple as just buying fresh meat at the butcher. The calcium to phosphate ratio in a cat’s diet is critical; meat is rich in phosphate while the bone balances it with calcium. There are also a number of amino acids that are absolutely vital to the well being of a cat that can only be found in organ meat, which can be hard to source. My cat hunts little city birds and what not, but still expects me to provide the main entree. I can start measuring out vitamin supplements and grinding meat, but I started to think just providing the whole live rabbit could be much easier and more sustainable.

@TheLoneMonk Basically because from a genetic standpoint, that’s what cats are equipped to process. Their digestive system is not equipped to process Meow Mix, and frankly no one really knows what the hell is really in that anyway.

@Ame_Evil Yeah. One of my cats will not even touch cooked chicken breasts – she is hooked on dry food. The other prefers raw meat (has to smell fresh), but I’ve never fed’m rabbit….I kinda would like to try it, but I’m afraid they’d make a huge bloody mess and then not even eat it.

autumn43's avatar

Wow. This is just disgusting.

Ame_Evil's avatar

@lilikoi Cats will always make a mess when hunting food. Either way you’re going to have to clean up bones, discarded flesh, and blood from whereever you let it hunt it. Are you really up for keep doing that?

The alternative is to kill the rabbit yourself and freeze it (if thats possible) and feed it to your cat a bit at a time. I would probably prefer this (if it didn’t involve killing a rabbit) padded between meals of normal cat food.

But finally I want to make the point that cats’ life spans are longer in domestic homes than in the wild. Are you sure comprimising this is a good idea if you want your cat to be healthy?

Just_Justine's avatar

LOL! this has to be a joke right? Please tell me it’s a joke? Just go and buy some raw meat from the butcher. It’s a bit like you hunting your own food too? I mean do you shoot wild birds take them home and eat them? All in the good intention of making sure you get good vitamins and minerals? Do you focus on your diet? I would love to know just out of curiosity. I am imagining your house, with bits of dead bunny around the place and a happy “tiger” purring on the couch. (Hoots of laughter). I do apologise I don’t mean to sound rotten. I really don’t. Maybe hunt down some (excuse the pun) “cat broth” recipes as some cat owners are very careful what they feed their cats. You might find some satisfaction there.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

@lilikoi Why not let your cat roam free like a wild cat and allow it to eat whatever it wants? Then you can truly replicate the wild experience. Part of why a wild cat digests bunnies is because it has to hunt, chase and disembowel its prey. Exercise, if you will, allow for great digestions. Catching and preparing a wild bunny for your cat kind of take a lot out of the equation.

lilikoi's avatar

@Ame_Evil Yeah, I was just thinking about that as an alternative, too. I’ve never seen a cat destroy a rabbit. Not sure if I’d be up for regular carnage maintenance, heh. Admittedly, I’d probably have a hard time killing them myself; they are so darn cute.

@Just_Justine No, I’m not joking. What’s wrong with hunting for your own food? At least then you’d know exactly what you’re eating, which is more than most people can say. Fresh food (be it meat or produce) tastes worlds better than older foods and can be much more nutritious as well. I have been researching cat food (and have collected several recipes from three different sources), and that is what prompted the question.

@TheLoneMonk Because I live in the suburbs and there aren’t enough pidgeons. He does roam, and gets plenty of exercise. I think providing a cat with fresh meat, even if you process it for them, is still several times better than dry food or canned food you buy at a supermarket.

jrpowell's avatar

You can go to a butcher and they will grind up everything for you into what looks like raw cat food. My roommate used to do this with chickens for her dog. Everything (bone and all) got ground up. But you really don’t what to have to clean up the mess of hunting. We had about ten ducks killed by raccoons and it wasn’t pretty.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

@lilikoi : I applaud you for wanting the best for your cat. I bet if he roams he’s getting his share of mice and squirrel and chipmunk but if fresh meat is your bag go for it!

FutureMemory's avatar

@lilikoi I know nothing of a cat’s nutritional requirements nor what the “average” house cat eats, but I’m wondering, are you under the impression that most cats are undernourished? It would seem most house pets do ok with the standard commercial brands of dry and canned foods. I’ve honestly never heard of a cat owner securing live game as the main source of food for their cat. I have no moral qualms with the idea, but it does seem a little “out there”.

wundayatta's avatar

Now why would a cat make dinner for a rabbit? It’s much more likely that they’d make dinner of the rabbit.

Oh. I guess that’s what you meant.

[sorry—could’t resist]

jrpowell's avatar

I should add that we have two domesticated cats and a guinea pig. The cats never mess with the pig. I imagine that they would need to be really hungry to go after it. All three of them hang out in the living room at the same time and there is nothing stopping the cats from hunting the pig. They simply don’t since we feed them.

So even if you did drop a live rabbit into the mix you would probably have to starve it for a while before it wanted to kill and eat it. And once your cat got to that point it might be a good idea to sleep with one eye open.

CMaz's avatar

My dad had a bunny. When he was a child.

One day it was dinner time. He came home from school and headed towards his rabbit. To feed.

His dad said to just sit down for dinner. So he did. After dinner he discovered that his bunny was dinner.

ccrow's avatar

@lilikoi have you seen this? Much easier & less messy than what you’re asking about, IMO. I have been feeding my dogs a raw diet for over 10 years, & fed the cats raw too, when I had them. I used to use that; well, actually used their recipe rather than the mix. The biggest problem I had was with one of the cats who was quite a rodent hunter. He realllly didn’t want the raw food! His attitude seemed to be “I can get this for myself!! Where’s my yummy cat food?!”
Anyway, this makes a good, nutritionally complete cat diet; although I also, later on, fed them a slightly modified version of the dogs’ diet. It ain’t rocket science. :-)

ccrow's avatar

@ChazMaz It seems to me that parents think this sort of thing is somehow educational; teaching the child how the world really works. I don’t get it.

CMaz's avatar

Actually, they were hungry.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Cats will eat alot more than just rabbits.My neighbor’s cat will bring us dead fish.My two cats want to eat pizza,and one of them tried to take down our German Shepherd like a lion on a Cape Buffalo.LOL!
You have more choices ;)so does your cat

CMaz's avatar

You should see my Dad’s cat plow throw a gaggle of squirrels.

galileogirl's avatar

If you have an outdoors cat it is perfectly capable of catching rodents or birds on their own. That doesn’t mean they would eat them. More likely your cat will drop it in your lap and go look for preferred cat food in the bowl,

If you put your cat and an adult rabbit in an ultimate cage fight, the rabbit will probably kick the hell out of your cat, Michael Vick er, I mean @lilikoi

faye's avatar

This seems totally unnessessary and cruel to the rabbit. I raised a cat on liver and smelts withe some dry food. She lived to 19 years. Boy she loved that liver!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

A domestic cat will likely eat a killed fresh rabbit (I’ve fed cats bunnies in the past) but I don’t know about them attacking and successfully killing one on their own, not to mention the mess and undue suffering it would cause- you know, if you even care about such things.

YARNLADY's avatar

You should discuss the best diet for your cat with the veterinarian. Domestic cats do not live in the wild, and do not need to eat live food, any more than you do.

FutureMemory's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille one of them tried to take down our German Shepherd like a lion on a Cape Buffalo.

I’d love to see video of that!

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