Plucking Prey

Plucking prey describes the removal of feathers from a bird that the cat has caught. The cat holds the bird with its forepaws and pulls the feathers from the skin using its front teeth. Feathers which stick to the cat’s mouth are spat out. Spitting out involves the tip of the tongue being turned under and pushed forward out of the mouth followed by licking movements which precede the drawing of the tongue back into the mouth behind the closed incisors, thus stripping it of any feathers (Leyhausen, 1979). The cat then typically shakes its head from side to side to remove any feathers from its face. Plucking is more commonly observed with larger bird prey (Leyhausen, 1979).