Why do cats bring dead prey into the house?

Cats will often take dead animals that they have caught - mice, rats, birds, etc., and bring them into your house. They will leave them in random places - on your bed, near the door, near their food, wherever. Your cat is not trying to send you a Godfather-type message. Cats just don't understand why you wouldn't be pleased with something as interesting and useful as a dead mouse. To them, they are bringing you food. The basic theory is that they are giving you a "present" - you give them food, water, and affection, and they are returning the favor with something they caught. Cats often do this in the wild for others in their family groups.


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The easiest thing to do is just to throw it away and move on. It's kind of gross, but your cat is not trying to do anything wrong and it is trying to show affection. It is best just to pet the cat and let it be - it wants affection, and punishment for a friendly gesture will only confuse it. You can do a couple of things, though. First, making your cats live indoors will solve the problem and keep your cat healthier. Second, you probably can't stop your cat from hunting, but you can keep it from succeeding. Get a collar with a bell on it to alert potential prey. Cats usually hunt by sneaking up on smaller animals. If they can't get within range, you won't be getting any more "presents." You can get the collars online for about $5 - just look online here.


If you want more options you can look at our page on cat bells.

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