Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why do your cats bring you presents you might not exactly think are cute?


You open the door to let kitty in for dinner and what do they bring? An unusual present. Why would kitty need to bring in unwanted presents when they have their own food to eat?

Here are a few facts about what drives this behaviour.

Cats are natural born hunters. Though they were domesticated nearly 10 000 years ago. Cats retained their keen hunting instincts of their wilder ancestors. Female cats are the most likely to bring presents to their owners because in the wild, mothers teach their young how to hunt and eat their own food. By leaving a present on your doorstep, your kitty is acting out its natural role as hunter and teacher.



Consider what this behaviour means. Your cats habits are based on survival instinct. Cats evolved to become brilliant and efficient predators. They have sharp teeth, retractable claws, cushioned paws to silently creep up on their prey, night vision and they are fast and agile. Cats learn through experience which involves teaching the kitten to look after themselves. Given that female cats are most likely to bring back presents, the most likely explanation for this behaviour is that they are trying to teach you (their human) how to hunt. 

Next time kitty brings you a present, remember that they love you and are just trying to bring out your inner predator.

Many cats become expert hunters, be it a feather on a string, a moth or even a mouse. Cat hunting skills doesn't depend on hunger, even well fed kitties indulge in this behaviour. Cats wouldn't bother bringing presents to you if they don't have a loving relationship with you. Cats are different from dogs in that they can't have their hunting behaviours trained out of them.

Cats behave in this way is to appear as a gesture of giving. Your cat may also be trying to show off their ability to hunt. Maybe your kitty believes that you are their people and it's their job to take care of you. You don't want to hurt their feelings by running in horror but you certainly aren't going to eat what kitty brings you unless you enjoy eating mice and lizards. Act happy, make a fuss and praise your kitty and then dispose of the “present” when kitty isn't looking. No amount of training methods will make your cat stop hunting. The thing to remember is to not act negatively if your kitty brings in a present. Your cat is not being bad.

Kittens are programmed from birth to chase through play, they develop the coordination and timing needed to successfully capture a target. Play gives the kitten a chance to learn to make judgments by experience.



Why do cats appear to torture or play with their catch? One answer may be that kitty is wary of their catch fighting back or biting back. When they do finally catch their “present”, they prolong the great event as much as possible. Remember that kitty is showing they want to feed us, showing off their hunting skills and they expect a fuss.



Showing praise in a positive way through play with toys, mice and feathers will encourage kitty to show off their gifts in a way that will suit us better. It's a recognition of how much kitty values us and how good kitty is at taking care of their friends. We shouldn't punish kitty or ignore their gift or try other ways to get the kitty to stop doing it. It's just what they are born to do.


Mandy Cooper