What Do Cats Eat in the Wild?

cat hunt mouse

The foods that cats eat when they are hunting outside in the wild can vary depending on the breed and location.

These animals are natural predators with amazing instincts developed over many years.

1. Birds

A lot of cats enjoy hunting small birds like robins and sparrows. Believe it or not, cats can use their amazing cunning to strike these birds before they even have a chance to fly away. That is just how sneaky your pet really is.

It is not entirely uncommon for cats to bring in dead birds when their owners allow them to go outside. While this is more commonly associated with dogs, some cats have been known to do it as well.

cat in forest

2. Rodents

It is also very common for cats to hunt down a variety of rodents, including mice and rabbits. While killing these animals can pose a particularly challenging task (just think about how quick a rabbit is!), your cat is more than up for it.

Maine Coons, in particular, is known for taking down squirrels and even moles. The amount of success the cat has with hunting largely depends on which prey is available and how large they are. 

The heavier the cat is, the more difficult it is to catch quick prey. Larger cats, however, do have an easier time holding down animals once they have their claws on them.

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3. Insects

Cats also occasionally like to snack on insects that happen to be outside, including grasshoppers and spiders. These insects provide cats with certain nutrients that benefit them quite a bit. They don’t get these nutrients from their usual prey, which is why might target insects from time to time.

wild cat

They Love the Hunt

It will probably come as no surprise that cats are natural hunters, and therefore only like to eat fresh that that they have caught themselves. These animals are not opportunists, so they won’t typically eat an injured or dead animal they happen to stumble upon.

The reason that so many cats want to get outside so badly is because their natural instinct to hunt and explore. They usually eat everything of whatever they catch, including the skin, bones, feathers, fur, etc. 

Cats have incredibly strong stomachs that are capable of digesting all sorts of things without any problems. This is something that has developed through evolution because of what skilled hunters they have been for thousands of years.

Cats Aren’t Vegans

While you very well might be a vegan or vegetarian, your cat most definitely is not by nature. The fact is that felines have instincts for hunting animals, not foraging for plants and berries. A diet that includes a significant amount of plant products can actually harm your pet.

Should I Feed My Cat Raw Meat?

There are actually quite a few different arguments that can be made in favor of a raw meat diet for cats. It is important that you take the time to consider some of these benefits before making a decision either way.

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Some of the benefits associated with a raw meat/feral diet include:

  • A raw meat diet is good for the health of your cat’s skin and coat (reduced shedding and other issues).
  • More satisfied overall (this means that you don’t have to put up with begging for food as much).
  • Good kidney health.
  • A significant increase in energy levels.
  • Their stool isn’t quite as aromatic.
  • Fewer dental problems.

While there are tons of potential benefits to putting your feline friend on an all-meat diet, you should consult your veterinarian first. They will be able to tell you whether or not this is really a good idea.

The fact is that while some cats thrive on this type of diet, others have a more sensitive stomach. Some cats can be extremely picky about the food they eat each day.

Wet vs. Canned Food

If you have been thinking about switching your cat to a more “natural” diet that resembles what they eat in the wild, you should consider giving them canned food. This can help with preventing major health problems like obesity, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.

Canned food is often a good alternative to a raw meat diet for cats that it just doesn’t work for. It is important that your cat gets plenty of protein, fats, and a small percentage of carbohydrate in its daily diet.

Protein is probably the most important nutrient in any cat food, followed by fat. Some cats require more or less fat than others, but it is usually around 60/40 percent for protein and fat. This is something to keep in mind when shopping for kitty food.

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What to Avoid Giving Your Cat

There are certain things that you should avoid giving your cat because they are unnatural and unhealthy for them. This includes any food products that use artificial colors, preservatives, or sweeteners. These foods tend to cause digestive problems with many cats, especially ones with sensitive stomachs.

You will need to know which meat products are in the food you give to your cat. Chicken and fish are two great meats because of all the protein they contain.


  • Cats hunt a variety of animals, including some smaller birds.
  • A lot of cats enjoy hunting and eating rodents like rabbits, squirrels, and mice. Part of what they like so much is the hunt, which can be challenging with these animals.
  • Your cat might also eat certain insects when it goes out at night, including grasshoppers and non-venomous spiders.
  • Cats don’t eat fruits or vegetables out in the wild.
  • A lot of cats can benefit from a raw meat or “feral” diet in a multitude of ways.
  • You should consult your veterinarian before suddenly changing your cat’s diet.
  • If you can’t give your cat a raw meat diet, you might want to consider feeding them a high quality canned food.
  • Make sure to avoid giving your cat any food products with artificial ingredients.