It can be a bit of a shock to come home to a lifeless mouse or lizard on your doorstep, but there’s actually a method to this madness. Today we’ll explore the reasons why cats bring you dead animals and what it all really means.
Why Do Cats Bring You Dead Animals?
The Natural Hunting Instinct
Although our kitties have been domesticated for over 10,000 years, their hunting instincts are still strong. Cats are natural-born predators, wired to hunt and kill to satisfy their obligate carnivore tastebuds. Domestic kitties still have a natural urge to hunt, and when they do they bring their spoils back to the safety of their territory to share with their “pride”.
Unfortunately for their hooman families, this territory is also your home, front doorstep or even bed! So, the number one reason for “why do cats bring you dead animals?” is because it’s part of their innate behaviour.
They’re Showing Off
Why do cats bring you dead animals you ask? They might be trying to show off and get your attention. Cats are independent creatures, they don’t always crave attention but when they do they can go to great lengths to get it. Bringing you a dead animal is just one way for them to show off to get some extra cat cuddles or delicious cat treats.
There’s no better way to show you that your cat loves you than by getting you a “gift”. Unfortunately, our idea of a gift is slightly different to a cat's, but in the cat world, there’s no better way to say I love you than the gift of a dead animal. If your kitty is a female cat, often they may think of you as a surrogate child. In the wild, mother cats would bring home their catch to their kittens to share the spoils of their hunting prowess. Your cat may be thinking of you as her kitten or at least part of her “pride” and wanting to share her love in the only way she knows.
How To Stop Your Cat From Bringing You Dead Animals
Even though the reasons to “why do cats bring you dead animals?” are mainly ones out of love, finding dead animals around the home doesn’t exactly do wonders for the homely aesthetic.
It’s also not great for the environment and our native fauna, as domesticated British cats kill around 27 million birds each year over Spring and Summer alone. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to stop your kitty from bringing you gifts from time to time, but we’ve come up with a few ways to redirect their hunting instincts and protect native wildlife.
1. Put a Collar and Bell on Your Cat
Dressing your cat up in a cute collar and bell isn’t just a fashion statement. The sound of the bell will alert native wildlife such as birds before your cat is too close, allowing them to make their escape. If your cat already has a collar, simply pick up a small bell to attach to it.
Cats are also most active and eager to hunt at dusk and dawn due to these being their instinctual hunting periods. If your cat is an outdoor adventurer, try to keep them inside during these times to reduce the risk of a bird hunt. If you own a bird feeder, you should also place this up high and out of reach of your climbing kitty to keep the peace in your backyard.
2. Redirect Their Hunting Instincts
As we know, one of the main reasons to “why do cats bring you dead animals?” is because they’re exercising their natural hunting instincts. However, this doesn’t have to be done on the neighbourhood wildlife. You can help your cat blow off enough steam by simply playing with them. Make sure to enrich their lives with play and toys daily, setting aside at least 15-30 minutes per day for playtime. Feather wands, laser pointers, ping pong balls, and toy mice are great ways for your kitty to let loose and practice their hunting skills.
3. Feed Them a Nutritious High Protein Cat Food
Cats are obligate carnivores and require a diet high in purrfect animal protein. Ensuring that you feed them a nutritionally dense high protein cat food is a great way to reduce their hunting desire. Check the ingredients list on your cat food label, if the first ingredient listed says something like “animal or meat derivatives” it may not be providing your cat with the high-quality protein that it needs to thrive, causing their tummies to grumble and desire to hunt grow even stronger.
Ensure that your cat food has a named easily-digestible animal protein like “chicken” as its top ingredient, to satisfy the carnivore within. Our Chicken Dry Cat Food, has a whopping 75% fresh dehydrated chicken as well as added gut-friendly probiotics to keep your kitty-cat purring or try our Chicken Shredded Cat Food in broth.
Now you know that your kitty may be bringing you home dead animals for a variety of reasons. Whether it's just down to their natural instinct, as a way of showing off, or even as a sign of affection. While you might prefer the gift of a necklace or a framed picture of the two of you, it's important to understand your cat's behaviour and respond appropriately with love and cuddles. Remember to redirect their energy with play and feed them well to spare the local wildlife.