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A Living Toy

April 20, 2013
Adult stink bug, Acrosternum hilare

Adult stink bug, Acrosternum hilare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 30 minutes ago I noticed that Bandit had spotted something interesting in the kitchen. Her eyes fixed on her prey, she slunk forward. She crouched down, the tip of her tail twitching. She pounced! I went to see what she had discovered, to make certain it wasn’t an item Unsuitable for Digestion. It was a Stink Bug. It scuttled across the floor. “Tap!” Out came her right foot and the insect changed direction. Attracted by the noise, Selleck came into the kitchen and joined the fun. I watched them for several minutes and realised two things. One: they weren’t actually touching the insect itself with their paws, but carefully placing their feet just in front of it causing it to change direction. Two: unlike other prey I had observed them with, they made absolutely no attempt to pick the bug up with their mouths. Intrigued by this behavior I went on-line to Wikipedia and looked up “Stink Bug”. I had never known why they had been named Stink Bug. That mystery and the solution to the cats actions was now explained. Stink Bugs possess the ability to release a noxious odor if they feel threatened by a predator. By diverting its path and not touching the bug they were safe from its defenses. 10 minutes later they gave up their game . The poor bug was too exhausted to move again. I carefully swathed it in a tissue and carried it outdoors. I shook it free and left it to take its chances. Worn out from their fun the cats settled down to take baths and then sleep. Emily

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5 Comments
  1. That’s so interesting! Cats are intelligent creatures 🙂

    • emilykarn permalink

      Yes they are. we can all be glad that they don’t have opposable thumbs. Think of what they cuold do! Emily

  2. You are actually lucky they didn’t try to eat it. I actually had a cat that did try to eat one (shocking, uh). I started panicing because I noticed he was drooling bad. Took him to the vet extremely worried and the vet told me that it was a natural reaction. When he tried to eat it and it tasted really bad to him, that’s how he was getting the bad taste out of his mouth. Like we do when we rinse our mouths out when we taste something bad. Glad they are good. As I like to say that I learned from my cat “a nap is wherever I lay my head” and it seems that’s what your cats did. 🙂

    • emilykarn permalink

      In Bandits case she had tried to eat one as a kitten and had the same reaction. Selleck was three when he came to live with me so I’m not sure when he learned that Stink Bugs were ‘Not Good To Eat!’. Emily

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