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When the Cat Brings Gifts Dealing with Prey

When the Cat Brings Gifts Dealing with Prey

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If you live with a domestic cat that spends time outdoors, you will occasionally receive a small “gift” from them. Whether it’s a bird, a rodent, or another animal, some cats, just like dogs, enjoy hunting and sharing their prey with their owner. What is the appropriate behavior in such cases? After all, the cat doesn’t mean any harm but is simply following its predator instinct.

“Look, I caught it myself!” The young cat is proud of its prey

The behavior of many domestic cats and dogs can be distressing for their owners, especially when the beloved pet regularly brings prey home. The victim, still alive, may be used by the cat as a toy. The question quickly arises as to how to wean the domestic cat from this behavior: why does the feline bring its prey into the house? There are different theories on the subject. One theory is that a cat realizes that humans are not very good at hunting, and being caring, it brings a “gift” to its loved one so they can practice at home. In this way, a mother cat also teaches her kitten how to hunt mice. Another possible explanation is that your cat feels safe in the house and brings its prey there so it can turn to it in peace. This does not explain why furry noses proudly present their hunting successes to humans and rarely consume their prey as a meal. Another reason why this behavior is not always desired could be that the cat simply wants to play, and home is sometimes the most fun place to do so. But perhaps it’s a combination of all three theories.

What are your cat’s favorite prey?

In general, cats’ “gifts” consist of mice, which they appreciate the most. Other prey includes frogs, rabbits, rats, and bats. Bats and other prey often die from the stress that their sensitive minds cannot tolerate when being chased by cats. However, it is quite rare for these felines to hunt birds and other animals as they escape too quickly. Your cat can avoid this frustration by focusing on wingless prey.

Tips for a harmonious relationship between humans and cats

Of course, cats… If your cat brings animals home, do not scold them, even if you feel sorry for the small animal your cat has brought to you. The cat is only following its hunting instinct and would not understand why you don’t like their behavior. Instead, thank them for the “gift,” praise them, pet them, and wait for a moment when they lose interest in their prey. You can then discreetly get rid of the present.

What to do if the cat’s prey is alive?

You can only get rid of the prey if the small animal is no longer alive. If the mouse or other animals are still alive but severely injured, for example, you should not take it away from your cat. The rodent would likely die in agony if you put it outside now. Instead, wait for your cat to completely kill the prey. However, if your cat releases the animal before it is severely injured, you can try to bring the “victim” back to the garden, if possible, without your cat noticing. After all, you don’t want your cat to catch the prey and bring it back right away. Not sure if the injured prey can survive? In case of minor injuries, veterinarians or shelters specialized in wildlife can provide assistance. As a precaution, wear sturdy gloves before carefully handling the injured animal and taking it to a specialist.

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”