Cat with mouse in its mouth.

Why Do Cats Bring You Gifts (Like Dead Mice) and What It Means

Why Do Cats Bring You Gifts?

Cats bring gifts to you to show affection and build a bond with their owner. As a cat owner, you may have experienced the surprise of your furry friend bringing you a "gift" in the form of a dead mouse or bird. While this behavior may seem strange or unsettling to some, it's a natural instinct for cats. This article will explore why cats bring gifts, what it means, and how you should react to this behavior.

Firstly, it's essential to understand that cats are natural hunters. They have evolved over thousands of years to be skilled hunters and are born with an innate desire to hunt and capture prey. When a cat brings you a gift, it displays an instinctual behavior that would occur in the wild. In the wild, a mother cat would get prey back to her young to teach them how to hunt and kill. Similarly, when a cat brings a gift to its owner, it shows that it sees its owner as a part of its "family" and is attempting to provide for them.

Another reason cats bring gifts is that they may see their owner as an inferior hunter who needs assistance. Cats have a strong sense of hierarchy and may view their owner as a subordinate who needs help catching prey. By bringing a gift, the cat is trying to help its owner by providing them with food.

What Does It Mean When Your Cat Brings You a Gift?

When your cat brings you a gift, it signifies affection and trust. Cats are social animals and form strong bonds with their owners. Your cat shows that it loves and trusts you by bringing you a gift. It's also a sign that your cat sees you as part of its family and wants to provide for you, just as it would for its young in the wild.

It's important to note that bringing a gift is not a behavior all cats display. Some cats may not be as inclined to hunt or may not feel the need to carry their prey to their owner. Additionally, some cats may bring gifts more frequently than others, while others only do it occasionally.

How Should You React to Your Cat's Gift?

While the sight of a dead mouse or bird may be unsettling to some, it's important to remember that your cat is showing affection and trust by bringing you a gift. You should never punish your cat for this behavior, as it's a natural instinct and a sign of love. Instead, you should thank your cat and praise them for its gift. This will reinforce the bond between you and your cat and show them that you appreciate their efforts.

If you don't want your cat to bring you gifts, you can try to discourage this behavior by providing them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged. You can also keep your cat indoors, as outdoor cats are more likely to engage in hunting behavior.


While it may be unsettling to receive a gift of a dead mouse from your cat, it is crucial to understand that this behavior is rooted in their natural instincts and desire to provide for their owners. By bringing gifts to their owners, cats are exhibiting their affection and showing their appreciation for the care that they receive. As cat owners, it is essential to acknowledge this behavior and accept these gifts with gratitude, even if they are not necessarily what we consider traditional gifts.

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