The Purrfect present or catastrophic killings?
Most cat lovers have been there. Your beloved soft and gentle kitty turns cold-blooded killer, and leaves dead birds and mice around the house. It’s not nice to find them and even worse having to clean them up. So, why does your cat do this? Are they leaving you presents or do they just have an evil streak?
Natural born killers
Although our feline friends were first domesticated around 4,000 years ago their natural instinct as predators has not gone away. Now that they are waited on hand and foot by their loving owners, cats may not need to rely on their ability to hunt anymore, but those strong instincts that kept them alive before domestication, still influence many of their behaviours today.
It may be that the little offerings they leave on the doorstep are trophies to demonstrate their hunting prowess. They are proud of what they’ve achieved and want to show off a bit. If only they could find another way to say ‘look at me’!
It’s a gift
It’s commonly thought that those trophies are not only to prove what proficient hunters they are, but to show how much they think of you. As we all know, nothing says I love you like a dead mouse!
The fact that spayed female cats are the most likely to bring home these little gifts, points towards another theory too. In the wild, mummy cats will bring dead animals to their kittens to teach them how to eat and hunt. As they grow older and the youngsters develop their hunting skills, this evolves to injured and live prey. Without kittens of their own, it could be that your kitty is acting out her natural impulse on you, to mother and teach her young.
Preventing the presents
There’s a couple of things you can do to prevent a greeting from a dead mouse first thing in the morning. Firstly, you must remember that cats have the instinct and urge to hunt, so if you do want to try and prevent this, you need to replace the hunt with something else. Let your cat play with some challenging toys or something that mimics the movement of a mouse, but let them ‘win’ from time-to-time. This reduces the pent-up stress your cat feels from not having a successful hunt, and satisfies the desire for a successful kill. Another idea is to attach a bell to your cats’ collar to warn prey when it’s approaching, reducing their kill rate and the number of gory gifts you receive.
We’d love to see some pictures of your gorgeous pussy-cats, though preferably without any of their loving offerings! You can share them with us at http://www.facebook.com/hilifecat or on Twitter @HiLifeCat.