August 30, 2013

Strange Pet Behaviors: Why Does My Cat Bring Me Dead Things?

Author: Gail Brasie

Dead Things = Love?

cat is huntingIt’s a question that many cat-owners have asked before: Why on Earth does my cat bring me dead and near-dead creatures and what am I supposed to do with them?  The answers may surprise you, especially since this behavior is, gross as it may be, actually a positive act.
Cats, being predators and carnivores, hunt.  They are made to hunt, it’s in their nature, and it would be rather hard to get them to stop.  So when they bring you dead mice, birds and other things and leave them for you on your bed, the middle of the floor, or on your body while you’re sleeping, it can mean several things.  These include:
  • They love you and are showing affection,
  • They want to provide things for you,
  • They’re trying to teach you how to hunt, since clearly you’re not bringing any dead mice or birds home.
So how do you respond to this perhaps gruesome behavior?  Pamela Merritt, author of The Way Of Cats, says that you:
“…should always make a fuss of some kind, because it is difficult to discourage cats from doing what they were born to do.”
Technically, these are gifts from your cat, even if you don’t want them.  So praise your cat anyway, because your pet is a hunter, whether what they hunt are toys or live creatures.  
If your cat is purely an indoor one, the issue of dead creatures brought to you by your pet may be nonexistent, save for the odd house mouse here and there.  If your indoor cat instead rips up toys and brings their fluffy guts to you take the opportunity to praise their hunting skills, as they’re trying to manifest in one way or another.  
At the end of the day, the whole bringing dead or half-dead animals to you or your home is just a cat thing; it’s part of cat behavior that you’ll probably just have to accept.  If it really bothers you, consider keeping your cat indoors all the time so they cannot go and get birds, or reinforce appropriate places to drop their “gifts,” such as the porch, rather than the living room floor.  

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