Cats are known to bring ‘gifts’ to their owners. These gifts may be dead rats, birds, or a leaf. Many pet owners can’t help but wonder: why does my cat bring me things? The answer to this is quite fascinating. Animal behaviorists say that it’s due to the natural urge of felines to hunt. Aside from their prey drive, cats bring things to their owners to make them feel good. Others will do it to receive attention.
Below, I have listed the most common explanations for this behavior. And if your kitty keeps bringing dead rats or birds, I have also discussed what you could do to stop it.
Why does my cat bring me things?
As a cat owner, I can tell you that felines are mysterious beings. My cat Watson is an affectionate furbaby, and he loves giving us ‘gifts’. For the reason why, his vet told me the following possibilities:
1. Cats have hunting instincts
In the wild, felines hunt for food. So even if your cat has enough food supply, its hunting instincts will still kick in. Some domesticated cats will eat their catch while others will be happy just to satisfy their prey drive.
Cats are born hunters, so it’s normal for them to bring home various things from the outside. It could be a dead rat, bird, and other things that they deem edible. Your kitty will take the catch to its den (a.k.a. your house), so other predators won’t steal it.
Aside from that, your cat may give it to you or play with it first.
2. Your cat doesn’t want you to starve
In the wild, the mother cat hunts for food then takes its catch back to the litter. This might be the reason why your cat keeps on bringing you dead animals.
Some experts believe that cats see us as poor hunters. With that, they feel obliged to provide our sustenance. So when your pet brings you dead animals, it’s their way of ensuring that you’ll not starve.
Also, this behavior is more prominent in female cats. Your kitty sees you as one of its children and ensures that you get your part of the catch.
3. Your cat is expressing its love
Many pet owners believe that cats give us things to express their love. Giving us their catch is the highest compliment in the feline world. Since your kitty worked hard to catch it, giving it to you is surely an act of kindness.
One time, I got very sick when Watson started bringing me leaves and sticks from our yard. I don’t usually stay at home during those days, so the sudden change probably made Watson realize that something is wrong with me.
I’ve talked to other pet owners, and they have the same experience with their cats. By giving you their catch, your cat thinks that you’ll feel better.
4. Your cat is teaching you to hunt
One of the most important tasks of mother cats is teaching their kittens survival skills. This includes eating solid food, covering their fecal matter, and hunting. Mama cats do this by demonstrating it to the kittens.
As I mentioned earlier, cats see humans as unskilled hunters. With this, mother cats deem it necessary to show us how to hunt. This starts by showing us their catch.
This behavior is commonly observed on spayed female cats with no young ones to pass their hunting wisdom on.
5. Your cat is thanking you
Another explanation here is that your cat is thanking you for being its caretaker. While this is yet to be proven by science, many pet owners attest to this sweet gesture of cats.
My friend had a rescue cat who kept giving him gifts during the first weeks after the adoption. He thinks it’s the cat’s way of saying thank you for its new home.
6. Your cat wants attention
Lastly, bringing you things might be an attention-seeking behavior. Many cats will bring toys to their owners to initiate playtime. This becomes a recurring habit if you give in to what your cat wants.
I suggest that you come up with a bonding schedule with your cat to prevent this from happening. A 10-minute petting and playtime session several times a day should keep your pet happy. This will also teach your cat that attention is given at a specific period.
How to stop your cat from bringing dead animals?
Receiving dead animals from your cat may not be the gift you’re expecting. You can do the following tips to prevent this from happening.
- Block your cat’s access. Your cat can’t give you dead animals if there’s nothing for them to kill. I suggest purging your house of rodent pests. When it comes to birds, you should put a bell on your cat’s collar. The sound will warn the birds once your kitty pounces. In this way, you can keep birds away from eating cat food as well.
- Keep your cat busy. Bored cats will spend their time sleeping or hunting. I suggest giving your pet more playtime and attention if you don’t want to receive an animal carcass as a present from its latest hunting stint.
- Put up a window box. Cats love looking outdoors. But if you don’t want yours going out and bringing dead things, a window box will help. This will let your kitty enjoy the outdoor view indoors.
- Leash your kitty. If you’re taking your cat for a walk, I suggest supervising and leashing it all the time. This will prevent the cat from running and coming back with a present for you.
Why does my cat bring me toys when I’m sleeping?
When you’re asleep, your cat has nothing to do or play with. In an effort to wake you up, it will bring toys to your bed and meow loudly.
If you want to rest, I suggest giving your cat an interactive toy. Stuffed mouse toys with catnip are one of the best choices here. It will keep your cat entertained for hours.
You can also tie a feather toy to a string and let it dangle. The swaying and moving are good enough to keep a playful kitty busy.
One thing I do whenever I have to take naps at home is giving Watson a tiring playtime. By the time I sleep, my cat is also dozing off.
Another great way of having uninterrupted sleep is by putting your cat to sleep. But for this, you must learn how to get a kitten to sleep.
Why does my cat bring me things? These ‘presents’ are your cat’s way of showing its love for you. As hunters, felines are known to bring home food for their litter. They also care for their family members by passing on their hunting wisdom. Appreciating these little gifts from your pet won’t hurt. But if the kitty is bringing dead animals, you can follow the above-mentioned steps to stop it.
Thank you for reading!
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco’s love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.