Why Did My Cat Bring Me A Mouse?

Author: Dr. Juon Abbass

DVM M.Phil

Why Did My Cat Bring Me A Mouse?

You are just like a family for your cat, so it brings you gifts

Cats are pretty and lovable creatures. There are various instinctive behaviors found in cats that they inherit from their ancestors. Have you ever noticed your cat bringing the dead mice or other prey to your home? Many cat owners ask why did my cat bring me a mouse again, as this behavior can become disturbing or irritating for them.

In this blog, we are going to discuss “Why cats bring home mice and other prey” And the related things under the light of scientific literature and general field experience.

Why Do Cats Bring Home Mice And Other Prey?

Cats are not “Cold-blooded killers”. They have an instinct to prey on various animals, rodents, birds, and other living creatures. According to scientific literature, cats were first brought into domestication 10000 years ago. Even your indoor, domestic cat has the instinct of hunting from the wild ancestors.

From the anatomical aspect (morphology), the cats have a specialized structure to quickly hunt and kill their prey. They carry retractable claws to catch their prey, sharp cutting teeth to pierce and tear apart the meat, and incredible senses to detect their prey. Hence, it is clear that cats will show this inherited hunting behavior even if their feeding bowl is full.

What is prey-retrieval instinct?

Coming to the point, in the wild environment, the mother cats teach their young ones to hunt the prey and bring them back to a secure place to eat. This instinct is called the prey-retrieval behavior. This behavior is also essential for cats to nick food from the other predators and eat it comfortably. However, in the case of indoor cats, they don’t have access to a variety of prey, so they hunt mice or other small birds and leave them in your kitchen, TV lounge, doorstep, etc.

How can you deal with this behavior of your cat?

As mentioned earlier, this is an instinct of a cat to bring its prey back. Don’t make attempts to suppress this natural behavior of your cat. However, there are different ways that can help you to divert/rectify this behavior in your cat.

You can use various substitutes to satisfy this instinct of your beloved furry friend. For instance, if your cat likes to stalk birds or mice then you can use artificial remote control mice/birds to satisfy your cat. These speedy toys will satisfy the stalking, hunting, effectively catching instinct of your cat. And also will keep your cat busy in play and strengthen the bond between you and your cat.

Note: The engagement in play will not only decrease the behavioral problem i-e bring mice or lizards (either dead or partially dead) to your home/doorstep but also help your cat to stay active and reduce the weight.

Why spayed cats are more prone to bring home the mice and the other prey?

Spayed cats have a higher tendency to bring the dead/half-dead prey at home because they don’t have offspring and they are unable to pass this knowledge to their young ones. This is why they are more likely to bring a dead mouse or the prey for you as a gift.

Why you should not punish your cat for bringing a gift for you?

Frankly speaking, the dead mice or other prey can become an unpleasant experience for you. But experts suggest not yelling or punishing the cat for this act. Because cats think they are doing a remarkable deed by bringing you a gift. So, be nice to your cat and don’t show her what you are feeling right now. Don’t even get mad at your beloved furry friend. Getting upset will stress the cat and also affect the bond between the two of you. Keep calm and act wisely to redirect this behavior in your furry friend.

How this behavior can threaten nature?

According to a survey report, cats kill billions of rodents, birds, and other animals per anum. This natural hunting instinct threatens the welfare of wildlife and has considerable impacts on the environment. So, let your cat spend her mental and physical energy in positive activities such as playing with moving toys, feather wands, and stuffed mice, etc. For further guidelines, talk to your vet and get guidelines in this regard.

So Why Did My Cat Bring Me A Mouse?

Cats are carnivores, and due to their instinct, they tend to hunt their prey. Mostly cats bring dead or near dead, but sometimes also live prey as a gift for you. When the cat brings a live mouse home, it does so with the intention for its offspring to practice hunting.

Being a responsible owner, try to understand this behavior of your cat and adopt various strategies to redirect this behavior in your cat. You can provide your cat with different playing objects and a higher quantity of meat in her diet to reduce the likelihood of this behavior. Last but not least, don’t be strict and mad at your cat. Be patient and act wisely to help your cat with this.

 

REFERENCES

Crowley, S.L., Cecchetti, M. and McDonald, R.A., 2019. Hunting behaviour in domestic cats: An exploratory study of risk and responsibility among cat owners. People and Nature1(1), pp.18-30.

Cecchetti, M., Crowley, S.L., Goodwin, C.E. and McDonald, R.A., 2021. Provision of High Meat Content Food and Object Play Reduce Predation of Wild Animals by Domestic Cats Felis catus. Current Biology31(5), pp.1107-1111.

Kitts-Morgan, S.E., Caires, K.C., Bohannon, L.A., Parsons, E.I. and Hilburn, K.A., 2015. Free-ranging farm cats: home range size and predation on a livestock unit in Northwest Georgia. PloS one10(4), p.e0120513.

Odendaal, J.S.J., 1997. A diagnostic classification of problem behavior in dogs and cats. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice27(3), pp.427-443.

Dybowska, J.U.S.T.Y.N.A., Górecka, J.O.A.N.N.A., Grzegrzółka, B.E.A.T.A., Wieczorek, M.A.T.E.U.S.Z. and ZŁAMAL, A., 2008. Analysis of the influence of environmental enrichment on the behaviour of wild cats kept in captivity. Annals of Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Animal Science45, pp.3-17.

Delgado, M. and Hecht, J., 2019. A review of the development and functions of cat play, with future research considerations. Applied Animal Behaviour Science214, pp.1-17.

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