Why Do Cats Bring You Gifts?

Cats are captivating creatures that have taken over the hearts and homes of millions worldwide.

Their playful demeanor, independent nature, and peculiar habit of bringing gifts to their owners have been a subject of fascination for ages. But what motivates cats to bring us these “gifts”?

At first glance, receiving a dead mouse or bird from our feline friend may seem bizarre or even unsettling. However, scientific research has revealed that these gifts are not just random acts but rather an expression of love and affection from our furry companions.

These behaviors are deeply ingrained in their instincts, honed over centuries of evolution. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intriguing reasons behind a cat’s inclination to bring gifts to their humans.

We’ll explore the cultural and historical significance of these behaviors and examine the different types of presents cats typically offer up. From live prey to inanimate objects like socks and toys – each gift holds its own unique meaning.

Cats View Owners as Part of their Social Group

Cats are fascinating creatures that have an extraordinary way of showing their affection towards their human companions.

One such behavior is their tendency to bring gifts in the form of small animals they have caught. While this might come across as strange and unsettling to some, it’s actually a sign of trust and love between cats and their owners.

The theory that cats view their owners as part of their social group is a popular explanation for this behavior. In the wild, cats share food and resources with other cats in their group, and domesticated cats seem to exhibit similar behavior towards humans.

This theory highlights the complex social structures of felines and demonstrates their ability to form meaningful relationships with humans. Cats are known for being independent, but they also have a strong social structure within their colony.

They form close bonds with other cats and rely on each other for survival. When a cat brings a gift to its owner, it may be trying to show trust and affection by sharing resources with them.

Moreover, cats may see their owners as parental figures. In the wild, young cats bring prey to their mothers as a way of showing gratitude and seeking approval.

Domesticated cats may view their human caregivers in a similar light and bring gifts as a form of appreciation. It’s important to understand that not all cats engage in this behavior, and it’s not necessarily a sign of affection or love.

Some cats might bring gifts out of boredom or a desire for attention. Nevertheless, the act of gift-giving is rooted in their natural instincts as hunters and social creatures.

Showcasing Hunting Skills to Gain Praise and Recognition

While this act may seem bizarre, there is a scientific explanation behind it.

This Theory suggests that cats bring gifts to their owners to showcase their hunting skills and gain praise and recognition. As natural predators, cats have an innate instinct to hunt and bringing prey back to their den or territory is a common behavior observed in the wild.

Even domestic cats possess this instinct, despite being well-fed by their owners. When a cat brings their owner a gift, it’s not just a random act.

They are seeking approval and attention from us. By presenting us with their catch, they are communicating their skills and seeking recognition for their prowess as hunters.

In some cases, cats may even be trying to teach us how to hunt, just as they would with their young in the wild. It’s important to note that not all cats exhibit this behavior, and those that do may not bring back actual prey.

Sometimes, they will bring back toys or other objects as a substitute for prey. This behavior can also vary depending on the cat’s personality and breed, with some breeds being more likely to exhibit hunting behaviors than others.

Understanding this behavior allows us to appreciate our feline companions even more. By bringing us gifts, they are communicating with us in their own unique way and showcasing their personalities.

Not All Cats Engage in This Behavior

There are several reasons why some cats never bring their owners gifts.

For starters, not all cats have access to outdoor areas where they can hunt. Indoor cats lack the opportunity to bring back prey as a gift.

Moreover, some cats may not have a natural inclination to hunt or bring back gifts. Just like humans, every cat has its unique personality and tendencies.

It’s also worth noting that cats may bring back gifts for different reasons. For instance, if your cat brings back a mouse or bird, it could be demonstrating its hunting prowess.

However, if it brings back a toy or non-prey item, it could be a sign of boredom or a desire for attention from its owner. Additionally, the frequency of this behavior varies greatly among individual cats.

While some cats may bring back gifts on a daily basis, others may never do so at all. It ultimately depends on the cat’s natural tendencies and personality.

Every cat is unique and has its own way of communicating with its owner.

Potential Dangers of Cat Gifts

However, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers that can come with these gifts.

Cats are natural hunters, and while they may have the best intentions, some presents can pose a risk to both humans and other pets. One of the most common dangers of cat gifts is the possibility of receiving a live animal.

While your cat may think they’re doing you a favor by bringing in a mouse or bird, live animals can carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to both you and your pets. Not to mention, if the animal is sick or injured, it may require medical attention.

It’s essential to supervise your cat when they’re outside and regularly check their gifts for any potential risks. Another potential danger of cat gifts is the possibility of receiving a dead animal.

While this may seem less concerning than receiving a live animal, it’s important to remember that dead animals can also carry diseases and parasites. In some cases, cats may even bring in toxic animals such as poison dart frogs or venomous snakes.

It’s vital to dispose of any dead animals safely and sanitize the area where they were found. Cats may also bring in items that are not animals but can still pose a risk.

For instance, your cat may bring in toxic plants or household items such as string or rubber bands that can be harmful if ingested. Moreover, if your cat brings in a foreign object like a piece of glass or metal, it can pose a risk of injury if stepped on or touched.

To ensure the safety of your family and furry friend, it’s crucial to be aware of these dangers and take necessary precautions. Supervise your cat when they’re outside and regularly check their gifts for any potential risks.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet or family members, consult with your veterinarian for advice on how to keep everyone safe. In conclusion, while cat gifts may seem like an adorable gesture, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers that can come with them.

Understanding the Behavior

Although this behavior may seem unusual to humans, it’s essential to understand the underlying reasons behind it.

Cats are natural hunters with a strong desire to catch prey. Bringing back their kill to their owners is a way of showing love and affection.

Interestingly, this behavior is more commonly observed in male cats who may bring back prey as a way of impressing their owners. Another theory suggests that cats view their owners as part of their family or pride.

By bringing back prey, they are contributing to the survival of the group, which could be seen as a sign of respect and admiration for their owner. Experts also believe that cats bring back gifts as a way of teaching their owners how to hunt.

In the wild, kittens learn how to hunt by observing their mothers bringing back prey. Therefore, by bringing back prey to their owners, cats may be trying to teach them how to hunt and survive in the wild.

Lastly, despite being known for their independence, cats crave attention and affection from their owners. Bringing back prey is a way for them to get noticed and receive praise from their owners.

Whether it’s a sign of love and affection, a means of providing for their family or a way of seeking attention, this behavior is just one more fascinating aspect of our feline friends.


To sum it up, the act of cats bringing gifts to their owners is a captivating behavior that has been observed for centuries.

While some may find it odd or unsettling, scientific research has uncovered that this behavior is an innate instinct and a way for cats to express love and affection. Cats are natural hunters with an insatiable desire to catch prey, and bringing back their hunt to their human companions is a way of showcasing their hunting prowess and seeking approval.

It also highlights the intricate social structures of felines and their ability to form meaningful relationships with humans. Nevertheless, as much as we cherish our furry friends’ offerings, it’s crucial to be vigilant about potential hazards that come with them.

Understanding this behavior allows us to appreciate our cats even more and take necessary precautions for the safety of both pets and humans.