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Violent Role Models:
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Comments by Roger Kimble
2 July 2001
[Ed.] This e-mail was in response to Keith Akers' comments.
Actually, cats do not have to be taught anything by their mothers. I have hand-raised several litters of kittens after their mothers had either died in giving birth, or were killed shortly after having her offspring. Fed, watered, wiped their butts with a warm wet cotton ball to induce urinating as a mother cat would lick her babies, never exposed to hunting, violence, makes no difference. I am speaking in broad general terms here. There will always be the exception to the rule, and this is an anomaly.
But, even after this gentle environment, the cat will hunt, and hunt, and hunt. Now, some, having free food and shelter, may well become too lazy to hunt, especially neutered males. Still not a fast rule and again an anomaly.
Speaking of dogs, granted there are dogs that wouldn't hunt, except for maybe hunting a shady spot. Again, not the general rule. Beagles will absolutely and instinctively hunt and track rabbits. Yes, with training you can improve their skills, but the basics were already there. Same with a good bird dog. Same with a good fox dog. You can hone their natural proclivities with acre and patience, but still. the basic instinct was already there.
A few years ago, I rescued a Bobcat kitten that was about two weeks old. The kitten's mother had been killed. I called the Department of Natural resources and in a couple of days the officer came by and picked it up. The kitten would be placed in a wild animal shelter until it would be able to care for itself. So it was going to be Ok. While I cared for it, you could not tell it was a wild animal. Played with the other cats, purred when you held it, and on and on. The officer told me that at some point, although the kitten was just like my domesticated cats at that time, you would reach your hand down into the cage to pick it up and you would draw back a stub. What he was saying was that even though the Bobcat kitten was at that time a cuddly little furball, it would change, almost instantly, into a full Bobcat, at a later point.
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