What Do Wild Cats Eat?

what cat watching prey

What do wild cats eat in their natural habitats? Pretty much anything that’s made of meat! Wild cats are what we call obligate carnivores, which means that they only eat other animals. These mammals, lizards, fish, insects or even arachnids range all the way from tiny grubs to creatures nearly their own size. And wild cats will consume every scrap of their prey, down to the bones and even fur coats in some cases. Today we’ll check out which animals you can expect a wild cat to eat, how they hunt and catch them, and whether they will ever settle for fruits or vegetables on the menu instead.


Wild cats include leopards, lions, cheetahs, tigers, jaguars, and more. They are considered native to all continents apart from Antarctica and Australia and live in a range of habitats, including tropical rain forests, mountains, deserts and savannas. The places they live impact the types of food they can find to eat.

What Do Wild Cats Eat?

A wild cat’s diet is mainly made up of small rodents, birds, reptiles, and insects. This includes mice, squirrels, rats, shrews, birds, rabbits, and moles. Wild cats also eat smaller animals, like snakes, lizards, and even larger insects like spiders and grasshoppers.

Depending on the type of wild cat, they also eat rabbit, zebra, giraffe, board, and deer for energy and nutrition. Moreover, wild cats eat pretty much all parts of their prey, which includes the organs, skin, offal, muscles, and more. A wild cat’s diet consists of eating their prey at near body temperature, so they’ll devour it as soon as they kill it.

Since a wild cat will eat almost all parts of their prey, they’re prone to carrying parasitic worms in their gut. As a result, they’ll eat long blades of grass to aid their digestive system.

A wild cat’s diet depends on their breed and what regions they’re from. Since eating is for survival, they’ll spend most of their waking hours hunting down prey and eat small amounts throughout the day to keep up their energy levels. Although, they’ll get what they can take.

wild cat diet

What Do Wild Cats Drink?

Similar to humans, a wild cat’s body consists of 70% water, which means that they need to stay hydrated to survive. Due to their living environments, it’s not always easy to have access to fluids, so they get the majority of their water from the meat they eat. They also drink water, though not a lot of it.

Do Wild Cats Eat Vegetables?

A wild cat’s digestive system is designed for mammals and to break down tissues, so they struggle to eat vegetables, grains, and fruits and will typically avoid them.

How Wild Cats Catch Their Prey

Wild cats stalk their prey as close as possible. For example, a cheetah can run up to 80 km/h to get into close contact and will then use their claw to try and trip up their prey. As a result, they keep their claws razor-sharp by scratching them against trees.

A wild cat will use a downward position when stalking a prey to not give away their scent. They’ll also try to stay out of sight until they’re ready to pounce.

Sometimes, a claw can kill the prey outright. Once the prey is dead, the cheetah will start eating the animal quickly before any other predators arrive on the scene. They can even begin to eat their prey before it’s dead to prevent any scavengers from coming onto the scene to steal their food or to hunt them.

Interestingly, wild cats, like cheetahs, kill their own prey and don’t scavenge, so they can starve to death if they’re sick, injured, or unsuccessful in hunts.

When Do Wild Cats Hunt?

Wild cats hunt at dawn and dusk and can spend up to 12 hours a day looking for their prey. They then spend the day resting.

What Do Wild Cat’s Teeth Look Like?

Their teeth are important in catching their prey and being able to eat it. For example, a fully grown tiger has 30 teeth and very strong jaws that can move up and down to grasp their prey when it’s moving.

Tigers also have carnassial teeth on the top and bottom to shred through chunks of meat, enabling them to eat their prey in a hurry. If a wild cat has missing teeth or unsharpened teeth, they can starve to death.

What Do Wild Cats Eat?

Wild eats will eat anything from insects to a mammal that’s the size of it. Their teeth and claws are adapted to hunting prey, and they’ll spend hours a day looking for rabbits, lizards, giraffes, moles, and more to eat. Their prey also provides the majority of their water intake.

Learn More About Wild Animals’ Diets


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