Why Cats Bring Gifts to Their Owners

Wondering why cats bring gifts to their owners? Last summer I found dead mice, ground squirrels, and shrews on the patio, and I knew they were meant for me. One year the yard was littered with the bodies of all sorts of unfortunate creatures including a small rabbit. My cat was a serial killer!

My other kitty doesn’t go outside, but he also delivers goodies. He carried my kitchen sponge from one end of the house to the next. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to find it at the end of my bed! I didn’t mind finding the old dried up scrubby. Although it seemed like a hint to wash dishes, it was actually a kind gesture.

Cats can’t go shopping, and at least he brought me something that wasn’t dead or dying. I didn’t like seeing those poor mangled creatures!

Why do cats bring dead things home anyway?

Why Cats Bring Dead Animals Home

I used to wonder why cats bring gifts of dead mice. It’s not like my cat ever saw me eating a mouse, and I certainly don’t look like I’m starving. Kitty has the innate instinct and desire to hunt and provide for the pride. You’re one of the pride members, and if your cat is bringing dead animals to the porch or patio he or she wants to care for you. The cat sees you as a valuable pride member, and since hunting doesn’t always result in food, he or she wants to make sure you stay well-nourished.

Why Cats Bring Gifts to Their Owners

What does it mean if a cat gives you something else such as a toy, a feather, or even a dried out kitchen sponge? Kitty knows you won’t be eating those items, but he still enjoyed the hunt. He wants to show you what was accomplished, and it’s the thought that counts. Whether the gift is edible or not, cats still have the natural desire to capture and deliver, even if the prey is nothing more than an inanimate object. What we see as play is actually hunting practice, especially when cats can’t go outside. It’s a sponge to you, but it’s more than that to kitty!

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How You Can Help Your Cat Satisfy the Desire to Hunt

Now that you know why cats bring gifts to their owners, what can you do about the dead ones? Gifts of sponges and small toys aren’t bad, but it isn’t pleasant to find dead critters. You may not be able to stop an outdoor cat from killing small animals unless of course, you don’t let kitty out.

Either way, you can satisfy some of the natural desire to hunt with wand teaser toys. You’ll help kitty release pent-up energy while providing much-needed exercise. Even if kitty still brings gifts in fur or feathered coats, at least you tried to put an end to the killing.

A sponge would be a welcomed gift after finding a mutilated shrew!


Kimberly Dalessandro (a.k.a. Crystal Ray) began her online writing career in 2005 with PageWise Incorporated and went on to become a top writer for both Associated Content and Yahoo Voices under the pen name Crystal Ray. In early 2017 she launched Blue Crystal Sky ~ Everything Under the Sun. She is continually coming up with new ideas to share with the world.

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