While scrolling through adorable kitten pictures, which is something we at Bored Panda are shamelessly guilty of, we often get so taken away by their cuteness that we forget they are actually predators.
Even a well-fed domestic cat has such a strong motivation for hunting that it will prey on birds, small mammals, and reptiles if the opportunity presents itself.
Luckily, the subreddit ‘Murder Mittens’ is here to remind us that these two characteristics — quirky fluffiness and a ferocious thirst for blood — can coexist.
Even though the online community is quite young even by Reddit’s standards (it was established in 2018), it already unites 195K members and since they keep posting pictures of sharp paws, I guess the number will only rise.
#1 Our Local Pet Shelter Just Shared This Pic Of The Teeniest Murder Mittens I’ve Ever Seen
Image credits: sonjasrevenge
#2 Kitty Just Wants Pets
Image credits: muchtimeandspace
Studies have found that free-ranging domestic cats kill up to 22 billion mammals and 4 billion birds per year in the United States and that they have contributed to the extinction of 63 species globally.
Many cat advocacy organizations question those numbers, however, and many owners still let their cats outside, arguing they should have the freedom to express their natural behaviors.
#3 So Dramatic
Image credits: lskxpp
#4 He’s Trying To Lure Me Under The Bed With Red Balloons
Image credits: Slamtastick
#5 Sometimes Claws Aren’t Enough To Get The Message Across
Image credits: MadMadBunny
“There’s been a lot of antipathy between people who advocate for wildlife and those who advocate for cats,” says ecologist Robbie McDonald at the University of Exeter. Despite being a dog person, he set out to find a solution that might please both camps.
McDonald and his colleagues recruited 219 cat owners from southwestern England whose pets regularly hunted outside — they divided the animals into six groups, including a control one that did not change their habits. Some wore bells to make it easier for the prey to hear them coming, while others wore colorful Birdsbesafe collars that birds easily see.
#6 I Work At A Cat Rescue In Detroit And This Mama Gave Birth In My Bed 2 Weeks Ago Today. Here Are Two Of Her Itty Bitty Murder Machines!
Image credits: Vast_Plant_1681
#7 Small Guy, Big Claws
Image credits: theylovelunaa
#8 I Think Poe Is Flipping Me Off
Image credits: paigedaly
#9 I Shall Delete Everything
Image credits: TarynHK
In other groups, owners fed their cats with “puzzle feeders,” food-dispensing toys designed to challenge the feline. Still, others changed their cats’ food to a store-bought brand that is grain-free and made entirely of animal protein. (It comes in both wet and dry forms.)
The owners of a final group of cats spent 5 to 10 minutes per day playing with their pets; the people were instructed to use a feather toy on a string to simulate hunting and then replace it with a crinkly mouse-type toy.
#10 The Paw Of A Lion
Image credits: raijin90
#11 I Have Activated The Claw Trap
Image credits: tb0ne1915
#12 I Was Told You Guys Would Appreciate Rasmodius’s Murder Mittens! He’s One Of My Foster Kittens! He Loves To Play!
Image credits: literarylilly
#13 The Teeniest Of Murder Mittens Plotting His Escape Into The Big World
Image credits: Im_Asia
For 12 weeks, the owners took pictures of every animal their cats brought home.
Interestingly, nearly all of the approaches curbed the cats’ killer instincts. The Birdsbesafe collar was the most effective way to reduce the number of birds the kitties slaughtered, cutting the total by 42% on average. But the high-meat diet and playtime methods had the most sweeping impacts, slashing all types of animals on the doorstep by 36% and 25%, respectively.
#14 Eek Casually Flexin’ The Claws
Image credits: Vast_Plant_1681
#15 Four Week Old Wednesday Resorts To Violence To Get Her Way
Image credits: Colar
#16 Fur Cactus Prevents Man From Making Bed
Image credits: FallOfTheThrall
#17 Murder Mittens Gripping The Food Bowl
Image credits: Jelly18Bean
The bells had no effect. And the puzzle feeder actually increased predation by 33%. The researchers speculate the cats became frustrated with the devices, got hungry, and just decided to go hunting instead.
#18 Was Told Ursula’s Tiny Murder Mittens Belonged Here
Image credits: harperking
#19 My Fierce Lil Voidlet!
Image credits: Brooksy925
#20 When She’s Relaxed But Also Doesn’t Want You To Forget The Potential To Murder
Image credits: stinkyspacebaby
#21 You Can’t Hide From The Murder Mittens
Image credits: meek_sh
The study didn’t look at what makes each strategy work, but McDonald believes the richer meat food may have filled a nutrient gap in the cats’ diet, and that the playtime satiated part of their hunting instinct. “Most of the cats still killed wild animals because old habits die hard,” he said. “But overall the numbers were greatly reduced.”
#22 My Baby Murphy Had The Tiniest Murder Mittens
Image credits: maya_loves_cows
#23 Hand Drawn Murder Mittens
Image credits: nikitahere
#24 Meet Patch
Image credits: FitProblem6248
#25 Three Hour Old Murder Mittens! I Work At A Cat Rescue, Took In A Pregnant Mama Last Night To Temporarily Foster, And Woke Up To Kittens In My Bed This Morning!
Image credits: Vast_Plant_1681
Interestingly, online communities like the subreddit Murder Mittens can serve as a platform for education and advocacy on responsible pet ownership, as well as for promoting conservation initiatives that benefit both domestic animals and wildlife.
#26 How Is Gus 89% Feet?
Image credits: reddit.com
#27 Press The Central Pad To Deploy
Image credits: FleetAdmiralWiggles
#28 She Slowly Lifted Her Paw, Dragged Her Claws On My Hand Until One Sunk In, And Then Rested Her Arm There For A While; The Audacity
Image credits: tilthevoidstaresback
#29 The Claw
Image credits: stonerbunniixo
#30 My Baby Girl When I Found Her Back In June
Image credits: Vanityandwrath
#31 Loki, Prince Of Darkness
#32 Just Got Back From The Vet, 10 Weeks Old, Beat Up The Vet And Vet Assistant Pretty Bad. Tired Baby Mittens
#33 Lucifer Says Step To Me I Dare Ya
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Author: Austėja Akavickaitė