Almost all cat owners have received “gifts” from their cats at least once. Some may receive their cat’s favorite toy, while others get a dead mouse or rodent. Cats have been domesticated for more than ten thousand years. However, the instinct of hunting is still strong in them. The dead animals your cat brings to you are maybe because of their instinct of hunting, preying, and feeding the ones they love.
The Gifts and the Prey Drive Behind it
Cats are natural hunters, and every kind of cat, either it’s a stray cat or a domestic one, has the instinct of hunting, which cannot be suppressed. Moreover, even the toys they bring to you might be because of their instinct of hunting.
Cats are animals who live in packs, and they have a habit of sharing whatever they hunt. Especially female cats share their prey more than males. They share it with the ones they think are their family, so if your cat brings you dead mice or rodents, lucky you, your cat thinks of you as a significant part of his/her family. Cats hunt when they want to, not when they are hungry. Some domestic cats just catch prey to have fun.
Domestic cats don’t get many animals to prey on, and this is why they might think of the balls and toy mice as something they hunted. They might even present you with their toys because they believe they hunted them. In short, cats show their trust towards their owners by bringing them their prey as a gift – either a dead animal or their favorite toy.
Here is a list of some possible reasons why your cat brings you gifts:
- Your Cat Loves You
It is the most prominent and common reason behind the gifts your cats may bring to you. This is their way of expressing the love they have for you. Cats share their prey only with the ones they love, and if they bring their favorite toy or a dead animal to you, it might be because they want to show their gratitude towards you by sharing their prey. We might think that cats are stubborn beings; in reality, they love their owners enough to kill some small animals for them.
- Your Cat Wants to Teach You How to Hunt
You might not notice, but sometimes cats look at humans as inexperienced hunters. That’s why they try to teach us hunting. Female cats teach their kittens how to prey and survive independently, which is why most female cats feel responsible towards their “inexperienced hunter” human. This is why they bring the prey to you so you can learn how to be a good hunter just like your cat.
This trait is also found in male cats close to their owners; they do it out of love and concern because your cat doesn’t want you to starve.
- Your cat Wants an Appraisal
Predators feel proud of hunting down their prey, and domestic cats seek appraisal after a successful hunt. This may be the reason why your cat brings the dead mice or the favorite toy (that he/she thinks is a prey) to you. When your cat brings you things like that, make sure to act peacefully. Don’t get angry at your cat because he/she only did it because they are made for hunting, and it’s their nature that you can never alter.
- Your Cat Wants You To Play With Her
One more reason why cats welcome their owners with their favorite toy is that they need some playtime. You can never resist a kitty who comes up to you with her favorite toy. It is essential that you take out and reserve some time for your cat and play with him/her every day. Your kitty just wants to spend time with her human friend.
- Your Cat Thinks of You as the Alpha Pack Leader
When your cat brings you her favorite toy or an animal – be it dead or alive – remember that she is doing it out of respect. Cats bring prey to their pack leaders, and as a domestic cat, your cat still has that instinct. This is why you should feel proud because you are not an ordinary human to your cat. Even domestication cannot eliminate a cat’s instinct of providing for the pack leader.
How to Stop Your Cat From Bringing You “Gifts”?
Receiving gifts from your cat is fine until she/he decides to give dead animals to you instead of her toys. No one wants to see dead rats, rodents, or birds as a gift – except cats. You must want to stop this behavior, and of course, there are some ways to avoid such gifts.
Most cats who spend time outdoors bring dead animals; this is why you can try keeping your indoors most of the time. But keeping the cat indoors doesn’t mean you have to make her bored. Make sure you give enough attention and spend time playing with your cat. You can also hide treats in different parts of the house and teach him/her how to hunt for them.
However, if your cat doesn’t like staying at home all the time, you can put a bell around her/his neck – just like Snowbell from Stuart little, but a louder one. The sound of the bell will alarm the prey and borrow them time to run away; when there is no prey, what would your cat hunt and bring to you?
Most importantly, never get angry or show your anger towards your cat by yelling when she/he brings you gifts. Try to stay calm and don’t show disgust towards the “gift” she/he got for you as cats can read your body language. This wouldn’t just hurt her/him, but she/he will also think that the gift she brought wasn’t enough, and then you are most likely to receive more of them.
What to Do With the “Gift” That Your Cat Buried in Your Bed?
Cats often bring their toys or dead animals and bury them in their owner’s bed or couch. What’s done is done, and now you have to clean it.
Ensure you keep the cat out of the room while you clean; you don’t want her to play with that dead animal again. If the cat was kind enough to put the dead animal on the floor or some hard surface, it would be easier to clean. Wear gloves and put the dead thing in a plastic bag, and seal it tightly.
For wooden or non-carpeted surfaces, use disinfectant to clean. However, you will have to steam and clean it with soap or shampoo for the fabric surfaces. If it’s your bedding that got the honor of receiving the gift, wash it with laundry detergent and hot water.
Cats cannot change their instincts; neither can we do anything to stop them entirely. However, we can take preventive measures against it. The key is to stay calm and not make a disgusted face after encountering the “gift.” And make sure you either clean it without your cat knowing about it or you manage to make your cat take it back outside.
Remember, cats practice such behaviors out of their love towards you and to show off their skills to their owners. So, getting angry about it would only make them feel bad.