Cat owners are often torn between keeping their cat an indoor cat only or allowing them to go outside. Those who allow their cats to be indoor/outdoor cats feel that their cat needs the activity and exercise going outdoors affords them. However, outdoor cats will hunt and kill prey. Some cat owners are not fond about this. If a cat kills wildlife and eats their kill, they are subjected to various infestations including worms and fleas.
A team of researchers found that by feeding cats a diet rich in meat protein instead of non-meat sources, and by playing with their cats, hunt behavior was reduced significantly. The food had to be from a high-quality brand, and by using it reduced hunting by 36%. Added to the diet, playing with a cat for five to ten minutes a day further reduced the hunting behavior by 25%.
The play behavior had to include stalk, chase and pounce games and allowing the cat to have a toy mouse or similar toy at the end, to mimic a real kill.
This change in diet and behavior is beneficial in more ways. It increases bonding between the cat and his owner and is fun for both. The study noted that the restrictive methods previously used, such as putting a bell on a cat, did not reduce hunting as much as the diet/behavior change.