I have a cat who lives mainly indoors but we leave the window open during daylight for her to come and go as she pleases. She could be gone for an hour or two at a time.

We have a little bell on her collar to warn birds she's coming and prevent her from bringing anything home. Instead, now and again she brings us home feathers that have fallen off birds every .

I'm wondering, is it ok not to ever allow her to hunt? Is hunting good for a cats psyche and wellbeing? Judging by her personality, I know she would love to stalk and catch prey. Should we take the bell off every now and again to allow her to hunt freely?

UPDATE: I meant to update this a while ago but within a week of me posting this, my cat (which we have had for two years) brought home her first 'gift' to me of a birds head and it's wings. She must have been reading my posts! The other day she also brought home a live bird which we have since nursed back to health and released back to the wild. To those you mentioned the bell not stopping hunting completely you sure were right!

  • Has she ever been against you putting the collar on her?
    – D. Tunus
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 8:13
  • She keeps it on for the majority of the time but whenever I do put it on her there is no objection at all. Commented May 20, 2016 at 13:52
  • 1
    Have you read Should I Put A Collar On My Indoor Cat? It may point you to a different concern than the bell. Commented May 20, 2016 at 14:26
  • My concern isn't the bell or the collar. She has no problem with either and rarely has them off. My concern is her not hunting like he natural instinct tells her to do. Commented May 20, 2016 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


The bell will not prevent your cat from hunting. It my make it a little harder for her to sneak around, but my cat wears a bell and still brings dead voles and mice home regularly. The bell is more to prevent him from sneaking up on us than the birds.

The best thing you can do is "replace" the hunting action for her. Buy a couple cat toys (or make your own out of tin foil/pipecleaners/anything your cat likes) and spend some time playing with her every night. Twilight is the time cats are usually the most active and interested in hunting.

According to cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, cats like to follow a hunt-catch-kill-eat pattern. Keep this in mind while you're playing with her, and reward her with a couple treats to satisfy the "eat" part when you are done.

Plenty of cats do just fine being 100% indoor and never having the chance to catch real prey. With enough exercise and playing she should be fine.


The only way to keep your cat from hunting and killing other animals is to keep them inside. The question How can I prevent my cat from killing animals and birds? shows that putting a bell on the cat is not 100% effective.

The cat will still hunt, the bell may or may not give the other animals sufficient notice to escape.

We have the existing question Laser pointer: does a no-win situation risk psychological harm to cats? with a GREAT answer by Zaralynda. that speaks to psychologically issues. But keep in mind, bells don't make hunting a no-win situation, it just makes it harder for the cat to catch the animal.

  • Do you think nail trimming would make hunting harder for cats? Thanks! Commented May 2, 2020 at 2:10

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