I've recently heard a podcast, in which a professor describes one of the theories as to why we like abstract art. In his talk, he mentions an experiment with seagull chicks, in which the seagull chicks mistake a stick with a red dot for their mother's beak, and in the case of stick with 3 stripes actually preferred it to their mother's beak. When a stick like that is waved around a chick, it starts to peck at it, believing it is mother bird:
This experiment suggests that birds are imprinted to recognize specific patterns and interpret them as mother.
I'm in trying to create a similar experiment for cats. To do so I'm trying to understand if cats other small predators (ferrets,etc) are imprinted in a similar way - do cats recognize specific features of a bird to identify it as "bird", "prey" or "can hunt and eat"? I'm talking about stuff like - do they recognize eyes, beaks, wings or tail in a special way?
To paraphrase the question: If I'm to create a stick like above, but for cats, what features would be painted on the stick?
I know that butterflies, caterpillars and other insects have evolved to mimick "eyes" on non-vital organs to confuse birds. I'm interested if same stuff exists for small mammal predators.