How Does A Fishing Cat Fish?

A question I get asked a lot is, “how does a fishing cat fish?”. It’s a pretty legit question right. It’s impossible not to think of a cat sitting at the edge of a pond with a fishing rod and a little outfit, much like Beatrix Potter’s Mr. Jeremy Fisher. The first time I heard of fishing cats I thought the exact same thing. But I assure you, fishing cats have a much wider range of fishing techniques. So far I have identified three. Let me elaborate.

The Mr. Jeremy Fisher Technique

Mr. Jeremy shoved the boat out again a little way, and dropped in the bait. There was a bite almost directly; the float gave a tremendous bobbit! “A minnow! a minnow! I have him by the nose!” cried Mr. Jeremy Fisher, jerking up his rod.

In a way, the Jeremy Fisher thought is quite accurate, minus the fishing rod and the outfit of course. The cat does however, sit at the edge of a body of water, waiting for a fat fish to swim by (in the case of this photograph, a dead baby chicken). And when it does. BOOP! The cat scoops the fish out with its front paws. Much like you would scoop out a dumpling from your soup (yum), using one of those soup spoons they give at a Chinese restaurant. It happens so fast, the fish usually has no idea it has been caught, until it’s swimming in a pool of gastric juices.

The Reverse Cannonball Technique

The next technique often used, is what I like to call, the Reverse Cannonball. The cat would sit at the edge of a pond, and patiently wait for it’s fishy meal to swim by. When it does, the cat plunges its entire upper body into the water – much like a reversed cannonball dive – and grab the fish with its mouth. More often than not, the cat will sit back down in the water like a furry pumpkin before heading onto dry land, to finish its well earned meal.

Image by Neville Buck

The Little Cormorant Technique

When I tell people that a fishing cat will actively dive underwater to catch fish, I get puzzled looks. What made it worse, was that I could never truly explain it’s done. Luckily for me, Neville Buck, came to the rescue – he’s come to the rescue quite a few times! He had exactly what I needed. A video of one of the cats he works with, diving underwater to pull out its fish snack from one of the ponds in its enclosure. It’s so cool to actually be able to see how its third eyelids partially cover its eyes underwater, and the little bubbles blowing out of its nostrils as it grabs the fish at the bottom. The best part of the video is right at the very end, so you’ll have to watch it to find out what I’m talking about 😀

So there you are. The three fishing techniques!

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