I am pretty sure nearly any cat owner has experienced this. Especially those that live in more rural locations. Your in the house minding your own business when suddenly your cat comes in with a bird or mouse in its mouth. Sometimes they are still alive and others they are already dead.
Other times you may find the animal that your cat has brought in. This is one that we have faced so many times with our cats. They would bring in a dead animal and leave it at the end of our bed!
Another time that is stuck in my mind is when our cat Coco brought in a live frog. It just casually strolled in through the cat flap and let it loose. Boy did we have fun trying to catch the flippin thing!
Why do cats bring us animals into our homes?
I spent a long time researching this when our cats started doing this. I was curious as to why our cats were bringing us animals into our home. They were not eating the animals, instead just leaving them there for us. It was quite obvious that they we’re bringing them in for us and not themselves!
From all the reading I did it turns out that they were bringing us home a gift. They hunted and killed this little animal for us to show their appreciation.
You see there are several reasons why a cat brings home a dead animal as a gift:
Cats bring home dead animals as a way of showing appreciation. After all we look after them by feeding, comforting and offering a warm and dry place to live. The animal is a gift to you to say thanks, how sweet…..
Cats in the wild were pack animals. This means that in the pack they would have done that hunted and some that cared for the young. In days gone by the hunters would have killed pray and brought it back for the others.
This makes perfect sense as to why they do it. Even though being domesticated means that they have regular meals from ourselves they still have that natural animal instinct. It is usually the males that will do it for this reason.
Natural motherly instinct.
This reason is mainly why our female cats bring us animals. Before cats were domesticated mothers would bring dead animals to their kittens. They did this so that the kittens could obviously eat but also to teach them what food looked like.
Once the kittens were getting older they would bring back live animals such as birds and mice. They then released the animal near the kittens and the kittens would try to capture it. Giving them the training and tools that they will need in later life.
So when your female cat is bringing home dead or live animals this is the reason why. They are trying to train you into catching your own food.
And you thought they were just cold hearted killers…. 🙂
How can you stop cats bringing you dead animals?
If you want the short answer, you cannot stop a cat from bringing you dead animals. It is built into their natural instinct and this is something so strong it cannot be stopped.
However there are things that you can do that may reduce the number of incidents taking place. We need to do these things to try and reduce it because cats killing our wild birds can have huge effects. It has become such a problem that our wild birds are actually on the decline due to cat hunting. Because of this cats in some areas have been classed as an invasive species!
Ways to curb your cats killing instinct.
There are a few different ways that we can help to curb our cats animal killing. I use a few myself and I can tell that it works. So much so that our cats have not brought us a gift for quite some time now.
Below are some of the ways that you can help to stop your cat bringing in unwanted dead animals.
Place a bell.
This one is really simple and yet very, very effective. If your cat wears a collar you can buy a bell to attach to it. Although these bells can get quite annoying if you have a very active cat in the house, they are great.
When your cat is searching for prey outside it’s bell will be jingling away. This often creates enough noise to warn any prey of its impending doom and enough time to escape.
I really do recommend this as the first step for any cat that has a serious killing habit. It is simple and effective.
Cats are pretty lazy animals in general, they can sleep for hours and hours. But when they are awake and active they are full of energy. This is the tone when their instincts kick in and they have the urge to bring gifts.
By introducing regular play time we can offer them enough stimulation that this urge decreases.
Have you noticed sometimes that your cat will just dive onto an object and start biting it? Ours usually does this to my wife’s handbag! This is a sign of that urge, random attack’s on objects.
Toys to stop the urge.
I have found that our cats live playing with toys that move. They chase and pounce on them as if they were real targets!
We have mice on ropes which you can pull and drag around simulating a real situation for the cat. It will often go into hunt mode and really go for the kill. Another one that cats live are laser pointers, cats go absolutely wild trying to chase around the little red dot on the floor!
Also get little stuffed toys such as mice and birds that your cat can pounce on when you are not around.
At the end of the day you cannot stop your cat from bringing animals into your home. It is natural to them and is just part and parcel of owning a feline friend.
As mentioned though there are steps you can take to curb its killer instinct. I have found that by doing these things our cats do not bring any animals home now. Have a try and let me know in the comments section if it has worked for you and your cat!
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.