Cat Gifting

icon May 13, 2024

Cats, with their mysterious and independent nature, often leave us in awe with their peculiar behaviors. One such behavior is the act of gifting items to their human companions. Whether it's a dead rodent or a small toy, these offerings can seem strange to us, but they carry significant meanings in the feline world. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the fascinating world of cat gifting, unraveling the reasons behind this behavior and understanding its deeper implications.

Why Do Cats Bring You Dead Animals?

Cats are natural hunters, and in the wild, they bring back prey to their families as a means of providing food and showing their hunting prowess. Domestic cats, despite their comfortable lives indoors, retain this instinctual behavior. When your cat presents you with a "gift," whether it's a toy, a dead animal, or even a random object, it's an expression of their hunting instinct and a display of their affection towards you.

Types of Cat Gifts:

Cat gifts can vary widely, ranging from small toys to creatures from the backyard. Understanding the types of gifts your cat brings can provide insight into their behavior and emotional state.

1. Toys:
Cats often bring their favorite toys to their owners as a sign of affection. These toys may include plush mice, feather wands, or even crumpled balls of paper. By offering their toys, cats are inviting you to engage in play and bonding activities.

2. Dead Animals:
While it may be unsettling for humans, presenting dead animals, such as birds, mice, or insects, is a common behavior among cats. In the wild, this behavior serves to teach their young how to hunt and provides food for the family. When your cat brings you a dead animal, they are essentially sharing their success and providing for you as they would for their family in the wild.

3. Live Animals:
When a cat brings a live animal to its owner, it's often a result of instinctual hunting behavior. Cats may see their owners as part of their family group and bring live prey as a gift or to share their hunting experience. However, this behavior can also stem from a lack of hunting experience or an attempt to teach their human companions how to hunt.

4. Random Objects:
Cats are known for their curious nature, and they often bring back random objects they find intriguing. From socks to bottle caps, these items may not hold much value to us, but they are significant to your cat. Offering these objects can be a way for your cat to seek your attention or simply share their discoveries with you.

The Meaning Behind Cat Gifts:

While cat gifting may seem bizarre to us, it's essential to recognize the underlying meanings behind this behavior.

1. Affection:
Above all, cat gifting is a display of affection. By bringing you gifts, your cat is showing their love and appreciation for you as their caretaker and companion.

2. Sharing Resources:
In the wild, cats share their catch with their family members to ensure everyone is fed. Similarly, when your cat brings you a gift, they are sharing their resources with you, symbolizing their bond and trust in you.

3. Seeking Approval:
Cats are intuitive creatures, and they often seek validation from their owners. By presenting you with a gift, your cat may be seeking your approval and recognition of their hunting skills.

Responding to Cat Gifts:

When your cat presents you with a gift, it's essential to respond appropriately to reinforce positive behavior and strengthen your bond.

1. Express Gratitude: Even if the gift is not something you particularly appreciate, always express gratitude towards your cat. Praise them and offer affectionate words to acknowledge their gesture.

2. Engage in Play: If your cat brings you a toy, take the opportunity to engage in interactive play sessions. This not only reinforces positive behavior but also strengthens the bond between you and your cat.

3. Safely Dispose of Prey: If your cat presents you with a dead animal, handle it with care and dispose of it discreetly. Avoid scolding your cat, as this may confuse them and discourage future gifting behavior.

How to Stop Cats from Bringing in Live Animals(Dead Animals)?

To discourage your cat from bringing in live or dead animals, try the following:

♦ 1. Provide ample play and mental stimulation indoors to satisfy their hunting instincts.

♦ 2. Use deterrents like bells on collars to reduce successful hunting attempts.

♦ 3. Safely restrict outdoor access to minimize hunting opportunities.

♦ 4. Offer alternative toys or activities that mimic hunting behaviors.

♦ 5. Reinforce positive behavior with treats and praise when they engage in appropriate activities.

6. If your cat insists on bringing gifts, gently discourage the behavior without scolding, as it may confuse them. Redirect their attention to toys or activities they enjoy. Consistency and patience are key in modifying their behavior. If the issue persists, consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for further guidance.

What to Do When Cat Brings Live Mouse Home?

When your cat brings a live mouse home, it's essential to handle the situation calmly and safely:

1. Keep your distance to prevent the mouse from escaping or causing harm to you or your cat.

2. Confine your cat to a separate room to prevent further hunting attempts.

3. Carefully capture the mouse using gloves and a container.

4. Release the mouse outside away from your home, ensuring it has a chance to escape safely.

5. Clean any areas where the mouse may have been to remove scent markers that could attract more prey.

6. Consider implementing measures to deter your cat from hunting, such as providing indoor enrichment and using deterrents.

7. Monitor your cat's behavior and continue to reinforce positive alternatives to hunting.

By handling the situation calmly and responsibly, you can ensure the safety of both your cat and the mouse while minimizing future incidents.


Cat gifting is a fascinating behavior that offers insight into the complex relationship between humans and their feline companions. By understanding the meanings behind these gifts and responding appropriately, we can foster a deeper connection with our cats and appreciate their unique personalities. So the next time your cat brings you a present, remember to express gratitude and cherish the special bond you share.

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