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So I have a three year old male cat that I took in from a shelter. It wasn't long before he started bringing in mice, shrews, birds and once, a rabbit. I accept it's a part of their nature to do this but I'm not entirely sure how to ethicially(?) handle injured animals.

If they're barely moving I'll kill them myself quickly but when he brings in a mouse that's pretty mobile albeit with a wound, I've just been taking it back outside and putting it into the field across the road.

Is there a better way to deal with this? I feel like I'm simply prolonging the inevitable and the animal will die of injection or suffer another more prolonged death. Or do I simply accept this is nature and try not to let it bother me?

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There is no unequivocal right or wrong answer to what you asking. You simply have to decide what you think and feel is right here.

Many people believe animal's lives have value, that they should have the right to peruse their own interests as much as possible, and that undue animal suffering should be prevented and mitigated where possible. Many view these as kind and noble sentiments, myself included.

If you think like this then, yes, you are doing the right thing - you are doing your best to prevent suffering and needless destruction of life by euthanizing and rescuing your cat's prey. Animals are very good at surviving injury and fighting off infection so your efforts are not wasted.

Another aspect of this thinking is to "live and let live" or "Let your cat be a cat." Cats will hunt and kill and will even even toy with their prey in a manner many people think is cruel, but the cat is not being cruel. The cat is just being a cat. It is unrealistic, and possibly unethical, to expect other animals to conform to all of our sensibilities, or bend to our every whim.

If you agree with the above then, yes, you should try to accept the cat's nature. I don't know how successful you will be at trying to not let it bother you, but one thing you could try to think about is that this is the natural order of things, and when you study it closely you can see a tremendous amount of beauty in all of it.

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Ethically...

Your cat bring you a mouse: this is a gift it would bring its children too, to feed them, to train their hunting behavior.

You have three ways here:

  • kill it, waste it

  • kill it, feed it

  • let it go

First point I think is wasting referring to cycle of nature...

Second point: Your cat bring it as food, if it do not eat it itself, you can lay it in the nature and another animal will eat it (you should pay attention to not attract animals you do not want to have in the neighborhood)

Third point: You give this prey the chance to stay alive, reach a secure hiding place and replicate.

Conclusion:

In my opinion you should choose between points two and three. A criteria to choose could be "Can this animal reach the hiding place?". If it is not moving, has fracture of a leg or anything like that, I would kill it. But if it can run away from me, I would let it go and give the decision to nature.

The fourth way, to care for it until it is healthy again I missed with reason. You almost can not do that in flat share with a cat...

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