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My female cat is a very active hunter and brings me her prey daily. Except for shrews and birds, she always eats them entirely.

This afternoon she brought me this:

Cat with rodent

It was quite large (maybe between half and two thirds of the length of a mole), and I couldn't identify it (I'm in Europe if that matters).

The prey was already dead when she brought it to me, and she quickly started eating it. I noticed that she didn't eat this part:


I'm not a biologist, but I guess this is the stomach of an herbivorous animal? What's inside looked like wasabi.

Why didn't she eat it? She is not so picky with smaller animals. Is it because of the size of this one?

Are there some organs or parts of the prey that cats usually don't eat ?

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migrated from Jun 22 '14 at 20:16

This question came from our site for pet owners, caretakers, breeders, veterinarians, and trainers.

Yes probably. They're surely better at identifying the inside of animals. – user3585425 Jun 21 '14 at 21:10
When I first looks at that I thought it was a fetus of some kind!!! – L.B. Aug 1 '14 at 2:37
This isn't exactly an answer but my 2 male cats always eat only the head of all the mice they catch. It seems very strange. – syrjohn Feb 2 at 16:56

That looks like some sort of rodent. The rodent stomach, while not as acidic as the human one, is still strongly acidic:

The mouse stomach pH was 3.0 (fed) and 4.0 (fasted), and the corresponding values in the rat were 3.2 (fed) and 3.9 (fasted).

From this article

Since it's clear from the picture that the organism had just eaten (the stomach had not yet emptied), the pH would be on the lower end of that spectrum.

In humans, acidic foods often taste sour, so it may be that the cat ran into a terrible taste at the base of the esophagus that caused her to stop there, but I don't know whether the taste buds on the cat are comparable to those in a human.

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I think it depends on hunger, preferences....

Domestic cats can pretty much eat it all. They might discard items they can't digest like fur, relatively large bones... other than that what they leave behind is rather individual.

I'm guessing this cat doesn't like salads.

Typically I haven't seen hunting cats discard digestive organs. Aside from fur and big bones sometimes they might discard a head (probably because they don't feel like dealing with the skull).

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We had a hunting cat years back that seemed to leave the kidneys alone when eating rabbits. – Oldcat Jun 23 '14 at 18:44

It is known that Grizzly bears catching salmon during times of plenty only eat the head (the fish brain, as any brain, is rich in fats, easy to digest and basically luxury food). However, in times of shortage they consume pretty much the whole fish, as every scrap of food, even untasty and non-nutricious tail fins and the likes are better than nothing.

Your cat will chase, hunt and catch prey following its hunting instincts. When its well-fed, however, your cat is not really hungry and will eat only the tastiest and easiest parts (say liver etc), but will definitely skip smelly intestines with undigested plant material.

I can try to find a reference to the Grizzly study (pretty interesting study :-)

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My cat brings us those too. So I guess it is very common to cats to not eat that part of a animal. My cat brings us one almost every morning so it is very common. This item they leave behind is called a gizzard. A gizzard is a part of the stomach that has strong acid in it so they know not to eat it.

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