Weekly Wag: Another (Dead) Gift From my Cat!

My adult cat, Cleo, has brought me dead mice lately. We rescued her about two years ago and she  recently started bringing dead mice to my backyard, thank goodness she is not bringing them in the house! The mice are brought to me whole and dropped at my back door.  I heard this is a sign your kitty is bringing you gifts, so I looked it up.

Cleo is actually impressive catching these mice, she has a bell around her neck and no front claws. She loves to go outside and jumps my high wooden fence and off she goes. I like to let her keep some of her natural instincts, like hunting. (I did not have her declawed, she came that way). Cleo gets fed kitty food regularly, too.

Before you gasp in horror at your kitty bringing dead gifts, understand why he/she is doing this. Hunting is a natural behavior in felines. Domesticated cats have no need to hunt for food as it is supplied by us. When a mother cat is teaching her kittens to hunt she will bring home dead prey for the kittens to eat.

One though is that our cats think of their owners as somewhat incompetent hunters, and our cat is attempting to teach us how to hunt, as a female cat would teach her kittens.

Another theory is that they’re offering dead animals to us as a gift. To most humans this is a horror and not a gift in our sense of the word. We shouldn’t punish the cat, ignore their gift, or try in other ways to get the cat to stop doing that. They can’t stop doing that, unless you keep them inside 24/7. If you have a totally indoor cat find ways to enrich their life!

Dead gifts can mean the cat sees us as their kittens. It can mean the cat wants to return the feeding favors. It can mean the cat wants to show off in their area of expertise. It can mean all these things; we are many things to our cats.

But it is always a loving gesture, and we should treat it as such!

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