Owning cats inevitably leads to finding dead animals, especially mice, lying on your doorstep or other areas of your home. How many times have you asked yourself, “Why does my cat bring me dead animals?”
Since I am totally terrified of mice and bugs and other critters that cats like to hunt, it’s a good thing I don’t have a cat. I suppose it would cause major chaos in my house. I can picture it now: I scream out in terror, and my husband runs inside to see what the problem is. Upon seeing the mouse (dead) on the floor, or what’s left of the mouse — and me standing on top of the kitchen table — his words would be, “Ahh! A little mouse is not going to hurt you!” He just wouldn’t be able to understand that the little rat could make me hurt myself.
Why Does My Cat Bring Me Dead Animals?
Hunting comes naturally to cats. Sure, nowadays lots of cats are house pets (600 million and counting), and don’t have to deal with actually hunting down their food anymore — but that wild animal instinct remains intact.
Domestic cats may think of us humans as unprofessional hunters, and so it may just be that they want to teach their owners how to chase and kill for their own survival. Many farmers use cats to clean out the unwanted rodents in their barns and grain bins. This setup works well for both parties.
Or it could be that your feline friend is presenting the mouse as a gift — your kitty probably thinks she is doing a great deed for you. So don’t scold your cat (and try not to let your horror show) when she presents you with such a gift. Think of how you like to be treated when you give someone a present. Plaster on a fake smile, scoop up the dead mouse, discreetly throw it in the trash (or bury it), and go about your day.
The ‘Gift Theory’
The book Understanding Your Cat, by the well-known veterinarian and animal behavior expert Michael W. Fox, disagrees with the “gift theory,” arguing that “it is less a tribute or token offering to you than an instinct.” Dr. Fox says that bringing dead mice to you is simply a natural behavior in cats.
For example, mother cats bring food to their babies. When the kittens get a little older, Mama may bring them injured prey, or even live prey, so the kittens can learn that by killing this prey they will have food. Without this valuable lesson of using their survival instincts, the kittens would not survive in the wild.
So, why does your cat bring you dead animals? Well, whatever the reason, try to look on the bright side — your cat is quickly eliminating a mouse problem in your house.