What Do Cats Eat In The Wild?

The feline world is quite a big one. There are a wide variety of cats that we humans can choose from as our pets. There are the furry ones and the short coated ones, there are skinny types and chubby types, there are the small ones and the big ones, there are the affectionate ones and the aloof ones, and then there are the domestic cats and the wild cats.

Cats are really fascinating. For this article, our focus is going to be cats living in the wild and the usual elements of their diet answering what do cats eat in the wild?


Wild Cats vs Domestic Cats

Before going through a wild cat’s diet, let us first differentiate a wild cat versus a domesticated cat. What makes them similar and what are the characteristics in which they differ.


  • Genes – Perhaps the most evident difference we would see between a wild cat and a domesticated one. Their genes affect how big they can get and the personality they will have. Of course, as how they are called – wild cats tend to be more aggressive than domesticated ones. Domesticated ones are more adept to human companionship than wild cats.
  • Brain size – The difference between a wild cat’s brain size and that of a domesticated one is quite insignificant. It is a rather small difference, but nevertheless a difference. A wild cat’s brain size would normally be bigger (by a small margin), than that of a domesticated one, to match its size.
  • Pupil shape – We are so used to cats in our homes whose eyes have slit-shaped pupils. But it will be interesting to know that wild cats’ pupils are rounded, very much like that of ours. Researchers note that this could possibly be due to the lifestyle they have in the wild.
  • Sound they are able to make – This is perhaps yet another evident difference. We could immediately guess that a wild cat roars, while on the other hand, a domestic cat does not - but purrs instead.
  • Training – domesticated cats are also quite a lot easier to train. If you want your house cat to stop biting, you can simply follow certain steps and voila your house cat stops doing so. If your pet cat seems to be aloof, there are also how-to’s on how to raise a friendly cat.

Diet of a Wild Cat

If there is one thing that a cat living in the wild and a cat living inside our homes share, it would be that no matter where we find them, cats will always be a true blue carnivore. Which means that domesticated or wild, a cat’s diet would mostly consist of high-protein ingredients and different kinds of meat.

Cats living in the wild have a wider variety of food to choose from. The whole food chain is  right at the end of their paws, it is readily available and accessible to them. Wild cats usually consume small rodents, small birds and some insects and reptiles. Some of the unlucky preys include rodents like rats, mice, shrews, rabbits and hares; birds like sparrows and robins; and insects and reptiles such as snakes, lizards, spiders and grasshoppers.

Perhaps another difference in a wild cat’s diet than that of a domesticated one is the quantity in which they consume food. Domesticated cats usually have a fixed amount of food to consume. Wild cats can opt to consume food in larger quantities, given the obtainability – especially if it is only the smaller preys available. This is to compensate for their relatively larger size, requiring them to consume more in order to sustain them in the wild. Aside from these, wild cats are also sometimes seen consuming a diet of bats, squirrels, moles and weasels.

There are also instances where these wild cats feast on other animals that may be larger than their own size. Well, that is to say if they are not the ones who turned into prey. Yikes!

Bottom Line

I guess that’s about it! I hope that gave you a general idea of how the world of wild cats look like compared to that of domesticated cats we are so used to. That was just a glimpse of the usual elements of a wild cat’s diet, these may differ from wild cat to wild cat. The variation is due to the fact that there are a lot of factors to consider – the availability of their prey, the season of hunting, their “personal” preferences and of course their ability to get their desired food.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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