An Unwanted Gift from My Cat and Why Your Cat May Bring You One, Too [CONTENT WARNING]
I know, I know. How can this small, seven pound, sweet-looking feline that I have been calling "my cat" for 10 years, be a cold-blooded serial killer? She goes by the name of Monkey, is declawed, only has two fangs left in her mouth and spends her daytime hours laying in any sunbeam she can find, but at night, she turns into a killing machine!
Sure signs of nicer weather for my family include springtime blooms, new leaves on the trees, green grass and dead animals (or even just PIECES of animals) on my deck! Or as the case may be - brought into my house at 4:15 this morning! I should have known better to let her stay outside all night, only to open my door this morning to have her saunter into a somewhat dark dining room, and lay her "kill" at my feet on my kitchen floor.
But why does my cat think she needs to bring me dead animals? According to Gayle Hickman with Petful.com, there are two good reasons why my cat (and probably even YOUR cat) decides to "help us out with these gifts."
- Cats may be teaching their human how to hunt. Hickman reminds cat owners that felines are natural hunters. Even cats that remain indoors keep the instinct to hunt for prey. But if you have a cat that lives both indoors and outdoors, there is a pretty good chance that your cat will think it needs to "teach" their human how to hunt for food. Veterinarian and animal behavior expert Michael W. Fox says that when kittens begin to mature, a mother cat will bring injured animals to their young to teach them that by killing prey, they will have food. Because your feline may consider you to be an unprofessional hunter, bringing you a dead animal is simply a natural behavior to help you out and teach you how to hunt.
- Your cat may be bringing you a gift! Veterinarians and animal behaviorists will tend to lean more toward the number one reason above, but Hickman says that your feline friend may be thinking it is doing you a favor. Hickman says that if you are treated to a grisley gift, as difficult as it may be, try not to "freak out" (too late for me on this one!) Instead of scolding your cat, simply pick up the "gift" and dispose of it and go about your day. (Easier said than done for many of us, right?)
After waking my husband to have him take care of the gift given to me by my sweet, little Monkey just after 4:00AM, I almost feel guilty. I'm all about receiving a nice gift, and I can appreciate Monkey trying to love and take care of me and my family by providing for us and trying to teach us how to hunt, but my inner predator is more apt to make a shopping list and make a quick stop at HyVee on my way home from work. But thanks anyway, Monkey!