a friend who got some cats to supress the mice population on his farm complained that the cats went after the gold finches that came to his wife's bird feeder and isgnored mice, Squirrels and rabbits.
I dealt with the cats knowing what they should do to Rabbits and squirrels
in a single afternoon... it may sound cruel and cold but give a cat a "not quite dead yet" squirrel or Rabbit and they figuire out what to do with it very quickly.
a little switch in their cat brain goes from curiosity mode, "what is that thing over there that runs away before I can get a close look at it?" to "Stalk, Pounce & KILL!" mode "Hey! I see DINNER of FRESH MEAT over there!" and after that they are considerably more motivated to catch it. And you really don't need to show them much at all after that...
If you have a "colony" of cats (like on a farm) and you teach one or two the rest pickup on the idea suprisingly quickly
I explained that kittens learn from their mothers what they are supposed to prey upon OR learn by accident that "the moving thing that attracted their attention was actually made of meat when they bit it too hard while playing with it"
I learned myself long ago that you cannot depend entirely on "luck" or for Mamma cat to teach her new baby killers what to chase after...
So I take that responsibility upon myself.
I needed to show my Ginger Tom Manx who was well instructed about what rabbits are for by his mother that squirrels were worth chasing too... I needed one freshly dead squirrel and a sharp knife.
I needed to show that cat ONCE that squirrels were made of meat...
He took one sniff of that squirrel and started his "Hey, it's MINE you GAVE it to me growl"
My cat gave me a look as if to say "Why didn't you tell me these
annoying furry things were made of meat before now?" and promptly became "Death in the trees" to the local squirrel population.
What was funny is that he also instructed several other cats that "Squirrels are good cat food" to several other cats I had
(serially, I've never had more than two cats at once)
Personally I liked him killing Rabbits, I am particularly fond of Romaine lettuce
and I can plant 10,000 feet of the stuff and not get so much as a shred to eat
unless I have a dedicated killer to guard the lettuce plants from the rabbits.
But after not getting a single hazelnut off of my dozen hazelnut bushes (in a year when they had been loaded with immature nuts before the squirrels got to them)
I was kinda ticked off at the squirrels...
Those furry tree rats were literally taking food out of my mouth!
To me while a cat is a "pet" (a useful foot warmer on a cold night)
it is also a useful TOOL when properly instructed in what I call
"The science of enlightened self interest"
Teaching a cat to do anything is difficult, but showing it something it really
wants to do, to the exclusion of nearly everything else, then turning
it loose can have some amusing results. (and is disturbingly easy)