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Why does my cat bring me live animals?

Cats are undeniably one of the most popular pets in the world. Their playful and loving nature has won over the hearts of people for centuries. But, as a cat owner, have you ever experienced that unnerving moment when your feline friend brings you a live animal as a gift? At first, it may seem like an endearing gesture, but soon enough, it becomes a question of “Why does my cat do this?”

Cats are known for their predatory instincts. However, when they bring home live animals such as birds, mice or even insects, it can be alarming and cause for concern. In some cases, it leads to the heartbreaking sight of a dead animal on your doorstep. But don’t worry; this behavior is not unusual at all. It’s completely natural for cats to hunt and bring prey to their caretakers – after all, it’s ingrained in their DNA.

So why exactly do cats bring their owners live animals? Is it an act of love or something more sinister? In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior and provide helpful tips on how to manage it. So sit tight and get ready to uncover the mystery behind why your cat brings you live animals.

The Natural Instincts of Cats

Cats have long been known as skilled hunters and predators, and their instincts for hunting and capturing prey are deeply ingrained in their DNA. Even though domesticated cats no longer need to hunt for food, they still have a strong desire to stalk and chase after toys or even insects within the home. This is because it’s a natural behavior that has been passed down through generations.

One of the most common behaviors, which can be unsettling for cat owners, is when their feline friend brings back live animals such as mice or birds. However, it’s important to understand that this is not an act of aggression or an attempt to show off their hunting skills. Rather, it’s a way for them to express their love and affection towards their family members.

In the wild, cats would bring their prey to their young or other members of their group as a way of sharing resources. Domesticated cats may see their owners as part of their family and feel the need to provide for them in the same way. This behavior is not meant to harm anyone, but rather to show love and affection.

Additionally, cats are territorial animals and view their owners as part of their territory. Bringing back prey is a way for them to mark and defend their space from potential intruders or threats. In some cases, cats may even see their owners as inexperienced hunters who need to be taught how to hunt, which is why they may bring back live animals as a way of teaching them this skill.

If you find this behavior unsettling, there are ways to discourage it. Providing your cat with plenty of toys and playtime can help satisfy their hunting urges. Another option is spaying or neutering your cat since this can reduce their desire to hunt and bring back prey.

Cats Bring Prey as a Show of Hunting Prowess

As a cat expert, I’ve delved into the research and discovered some fascinating insights.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that cats are natural-born hunters. Even though they no longer need to hunt for food, their instincts are deeply ingrained in their DNA. This is why your cat might spend hours stalking and chasing toys or insects around the house. When cats bring live prey to their owners, it’s essentially a proud cat strut, saying “look what I can do.”

This behavior can be traced back to their wild ancestors who were solitary hunters. In the wild, bringing prey back to their dens was a way of teaching their young how to hunt. Domesticated cats don’t have this same motivation to teach their owners how to hunt. Instead, bringing live animals to their owners is a way for them to show off their skills and get praise for their efforts.

But there may be more to it than just showing off. Some experts believe that cats may also bring live prey as a way of sharing with their owners. In the wild, cats would share food with other members of their pack or family group. Bringing live prey to their owners could be seen as a way of sharing their bounty.

While receiving a live animal as a gift from your cat may be unsettling for some, it’s important to remember that this behavior is completely natural and healthy for cats. It’s not a sign that they are unhappy or unfulfilled in any way. In fact, it’s a sign that they are happy and healthy and feel comfortable enough with their owner to share their hunting successes.

Cats See Bringing Prey as Play or a Gift

While some may find it gross or even alarming, it’s important to recognize that for cats, this behavior is seen as either play or a gift.

Why does my cat bring me live animals-2

Cats are natural hunters – a trait that they have inherited from their wild ancestors who relied on hunting to survive. So when your domesticated cat brings you a live animal, it’s not an attempt to harm you or the prey; it’s because they perceive you as another hunter and want to share their success with you.

Moreover, cats are social creatures and crave affection and attention from their human companions. Bringing prey to their owner might be their way of bonding and expressing gratitude. Therefore, if your furry friend presents you with a live mouse or bird, understand that they are trying to connect with you in their own unique way.

While this behavior may seem endearing, it can also be dangerous for both the cat and the prey involved. Cats can transmit diseases through bites or scratches, and the live animals they bring in may also carry diseases. For this reason, cat owners must handle any live animals brought in by their cats with caution and seek medical attention if necessary.

Territorial Behavior and Defending Their Space

This behavior is deeply ingrained in their DNA, and they will go to great lengths to protect their territory. In fact, if you find yourself with a live animal brought home by your cat, it could be a sign that your furry friend is marking its territory and making sure that you know it.

The wild plays a significant role in shaping a cat’s behavior. In the wild, cats hunt for food and defend their territory against other animals. When cats bring live animals into your home, they may be trying to replicate this natural instinct. Your home is perceived as their territory, and they want to make sure that it is safe from other animals.

Aside from defending their space, cats also have a strong prey drive. This means that they are instinctively driven to hunt and catch prey. When your cat brings you a live animal, it may be showing off its hunting skills or trying to teach you how to hunt. In some cases, cats may even bring live animals as gifts or tokens of affection.

However, while bringing live animals may seem like a sign of love or affection, it can also be dangerous for both the cat and the animal being brought in. It’s important to discourage this behavior and provide your cat with alternative forms of play and stimulation to satisfy their natural instincts without endangering other animals.

In addition to discouraging the behavior of bringing live animals indoors, there are other ways to keep your cat entertained and engaged. Providing your furry friend with interactive toys and playtime can help them satisfy their prey drive in a safe way. Outdoor enclosures are also an excellent way for indoor cats to experience the thrill of hunting without endangering other animals.

Cats May See Owners as Inexperienced Hunters

Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, but their innate hunting instincts remain strong. This is why it’s not uncommon for cats to bring live animals to their owners as a gift. However, some cat owners may feel uneasy or confused when their feline friend presents them with a live animal.

One reason why cats bring live animals to their owners is that they see us as inexperienced hunters. As natural predators, cats have an instinctual drive to hunt and kill prey. By bringing their catch to us, they may be trying to teach or share their hunting skills with us. In fact, cats may view us as part of their family group and want to provide for us just like they would for any other member.

Another possible reason why cats bring live animals to their owners is that they want to establish a closer bond with us. Sharing prey is a behavior commonly seen in social cat groups in the wild. By bringing us gifts, cats may be trying to build a social bond with us and show affection.

While some people may find it disturbing or concerning when their cat brings live animals into the house, it’s important to understand that this behavior is completely natural for cats. Punishing your cat for this behavior can cause confusion and stress. Instead, providing toys or activities that satisfy their hunting instincts can redirect this behavior without causing harm to other animals.

How to Discourage This Behavior in Your Cat

It can be a challenge to discourage this instinctive behavior, but there are several steps you can take to reduce the occurrence.

Keep Your Cat Entertained with Toys and Playtime

Cats have a natural urge to hunt and play, so providing them with plenty of toys and playtime can help redirect their instincts towards inanimate objects. Interactive toys such as wand toys or puzzle toys can keep them mentally stimulated while satisfying their need to hunt and play.

Limit Outdoor Access

Reducing your cat’s outdoor access, especially during peak prey activity times, can help decrease the opportunities for them to hunt and bring live animals inside. If you do permit them to go outside, creating a safe outdoor space with a cat fence or leash can minimize the chances of harming other animals.

Supervise Outdoor Activities

Cats are skilled hunters, so it’s essential to monitor their outdoor activities and intervene if necessary. You can distract them with toys or treats to divert their attention away from prey.

Train Your Cat

Training your cat not to bring live animals inside can be effective but requires patience and consistency. Rewarding good behavior with treats or praise, such as leaving live animals alone, reinforces positive habits.

Spay or Neuter Your Cat

Spaying or neutering your cat can reduce their hunting instincts and make them less likely to engage in this behavior in the future.

It’s crucial to handle any situation calmly and safely if your cat does bring a live animal inside. Use gloves or a towel to remove the animal from your cat’s grasp gently and release it back outside. Avoid scolding or punishing your cat, as this could cause fear and anxiety leading to other behavioral issues.

Providing Toys and Playtime

Not only does it keep them entertained and happy, but it also satisfies their innate instincts to hunt and catch prey. By providing your cat with toys and playtime, you can also reduce the likelihood of them bringing live animals into your home.

Toys that mimic prey, such as interactive wand toys or stuffed mice, can be highly beneficial in providing your cat with an outlet for their hunting instincts. Regular playtime sessions using these types of toys can keep your kitty mentally stimulated and physically active. Besides, it helps to prevent boredom and sedentary behavior that can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

Cats who do not have access to toys or playtime may become bored and resort to hunting small animals like birds or mice as a form of entertainment. While this behavior is natural for cats, it can be problematic for both the animals they hunt and their owners. Therefore, providing toys and playtime for your cat is not just fun but also essential for their well-being.

However, not all toys are safe for your furry friend. It’s crucial to choose toys that are free from small parts that could be swallowed or those made from toxic materials. Also, it’s vital to supervise your cat during playtime to ensure their safety.

Here are some fun toy options for your cat:

  • Interactive wand toys: These toys mimic the movement of prey and provide hours of entertainment for your cat.
  • Stuffed mice: These classic cat toys are perfect for satisfying your kitty’s hunting instincts.
  • Catnip toys: If your cat loves the scent of catnip, these toys can provide a fun and relaxing experience for them.
  • Puzzle feeders: These toys combine playtime with mealtime by challenging your cat to work for their food.

Spaying or Neutering Your Cat

Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider spaying or neutering your cat:

Reduces the Drive to Hunt and Bring Live Animals Indoors

Cats are natural hunters, and during mating season, hormonal changes can trigger their instinctual drive to hunt and bring you live animals as a gift. Not only is this behavior unpleasant for pet owners, but it can also put your cat in danger if they catch something poisonous or diseased. By spaying or neutering your cat, you can significantly reduce this behavior and keep your home free from unwanted prey.

Reduces the Risk of Certain Cancers and Behavioral Problems

Spaying or neutering your cat has several health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain cancers and behavioral problems. For instance, spayed or neutered cats are less likely to develop breast cancer and testicular cancer, respectively. Additionally, altered cats tend to be less aggressive, less prone to marking territory, and less likely to roam.

Recommended Before Sexual Maturity

It is crucial to spay or neuter your cat before they reach sexual maturity to prevent unwanted litters and ensure they don’t have a chance to breed before being altered. Moreover, younger cats tend to recover faster from the surgery and experience fewer complications than older ones.

May Not Completely Eliminate Hunting Behavior but Can Reduce It

While spaying or neutering can significantly reduce hunting behavior in cats, it may not entirely eliminate it. However, providing your cat with plenty of toys and interactive playtime can help redirect their hunting instincts and prevent them from bringing live animals indoors. Toys like interactive wand toys, stuffed mice, catnip toys, and puzzle feeders can keep your feline friend mentally stimulated and physically active while ensuring their safety.

Improves Overall Health and Behavior

Spaying or neutering your cat can significantly improve their overall health and behavior. Altered cats tend to live longer, healthier lives than unaltered ones, as they are less prone to certain medical conditions and injuries. Additionally, altered cats tend to be more affectionate, calm, and less likely to spray or mark their territory.


In conclusion, the act of cats bringing live animals to their owners is a fascinating behavior that can be traced back to their innate hunting instincts. Far from being an aggressive or show-offy move, it’s actually a way for cats to express love and affection towards their family members. In fact, domesticated cats often view humans as part of their family group and feel compelled to provide for them in the same way they would for other members.

Although this behavior may cause some cat owners to feel uneasy, there are ways to manage it effectively. Providing your cat with plenty of toys and playtime can help satisfy their hunting urges, while spaying or neutering your cat can reduce their desire to hunt and bring back prey. It’s also crucial to supervise outdoor activities and handle any live animals brought in by your cat with caution.

By understanding the natural instincts of cats and providing them with appropriate outlets for their hunting behaviors, you can ensure that both your furry friend and other animals remain safe. Remember that this behavior is not a sign of unhappiness or unfulfillment but rather a testament to your cat’s health and happiness in its home environment.