Two of my cats were avid insect hunters in our old apartment.
We were near a farm, so we had lots of flies hanging outside our front door and our patio, and some would invariably get in during the warmer months.
I taught both of the cats to hunt the flies by making a distinctive noise to alert them, and then assisting in stunning the flies with a newspaper so that they could catch them. Both of them quickly learned to come running whenever they heard me make that sound, and would immediately start scanning the walls to find the bug, especially if they saw me pointing.
This worked out to be a rather efficient means of eliminating flies and moths that found their way into our apartment, as well as providing entertainment and exercise for the cats.
However, several years ago we moved into a house in a different neighborhood. We still get the odd insect intruder, but it is far, far rarer.
Even worse, the two most common intruders we find are stink bugs, and ladybugs. Both exude a noxious chemical defense when disturbed (although ladybugs don't stink nearly as bad as stink bugs do, it is more than enough to dissuade a sensitive feline nose).
While I have not seen either cat have an actual run-in with either type of insect, that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.
However, now none of our cats will eat any insects. Of the original two that I taught to hunt, only one shows more than a passing interest in insects, and while she gets extremely excited to spot a moth, and will relentlessly follow it around the house, meowing pitifully, she won't attack it, and even if I knock it down, she won't eat it.
Is it possible to teach my cats to distinguish between "good" insects (e.g. ones that are flying) and "bad" (stinky) insects, and rekindle their hunting instincts?
Or have my cats been traumatized by insect stench to the point where I have to swat my own flies?