Why do cats bring "gifts" like mice or birds?

Saturday, 20/01/2024 | 02:36 UTC-5

Why do cats bring gifts like mice or birds

Cats bringing "gifts" like mice or birds to their owners is a behavior deeply rooted in their hunting instincts. There are several reasons why cats exhibit this behavior:

  1. Instinctive Hunting Behavior:

    • Cats are natural hunters, and in the wild, they catch and bring prey back to their den or nest. This behavior is an instinctive expression of their hunting skills and a way to provide for their family.
  2. Teaching Kittens:

    • Mother cats often bring prey to their kittens as a way of teaching them how to hunt and eat solid food. When domestic cats bring "gifts" to their owners, it may be an extension of this maternal behavior, as they consider their human family members part of their social group.
  3. Showing Affection and Bonding:

    • Cats may bring prey as a form of bonding and to express affection towards their owners. They see it as a shared resource and may expect positive reinforcement or approval from their human when presenting the "gift."
    • Related: What are the biggest wild cats alive today?
  4. Offering Provision:

    • In the wild, dominant cats may bring back prey to share with other members of their group as a form of social bonding. In a domestic setting, your cat might be offering you the prey as a way of sharing resources and strengthening the bond between you.
  5. Attention-Seeking Behavior:

    • Bringing a "gift" can also be a way for cats to seek attention. They might be presenting their catch to get your acknowledgment, praise, or to engage in interactive play.
  6. Excess Energy and Playfulness:

    • Some cats bring prey as a way of releasing excess energy or simply as a playful behavior. It can be seen as a form of play hunting, even if they are well-fed and not in need of additional food.
  7. Territorial Marking:

    • By bringing prey to a specific location, a cat may be marking its territory. This behavior communicates to other cats that this area is claimed, and it's a way of establishing their presence in a shared environment.

While this behavior may be a sign of affection and a natural expression of a cat's instincts, owners may find it challenging to deal with the "gifts." It's important to understand that cats are not doing this with malicious intent. If you find this behavior bothersome, there are strategies to minimize it, such as providing alternative toys, using collars with bells to reduce hunting success, or keeping your cat indoors during peak hunting times.

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