Almost all cat owners have opened their door to let their cat in and been greeted by a dead mouse.
Or worse, entered a room in their home to see their kitty acting suspiciously and on closer inspection found they have a caught and brought a mouse in.
But, why do cats bring you dead mice?
Here are some of the reasons to explains your cat’s behavior:
Cats Are Hunters
Cats are natural born hunters. If they see a small rodent or bird they can’t help themselves, they need to chase it down and catch it.
Hence why a lot of cat play toys are designed to look like rodents or birds. It triggers their inherent need to catch the prey.
They are good at it too. It’s estimated that cats are responsible for killing billions of small animals in the US alone each year.
No matter how many years or generations cats have been domesticated for, they retain their natural need to hunt and kills smaller prey.
Cats Like to Bring You Gifts
In the wild, mother cats teach their young how to hunt and eat prey by bringing it back to them, usually while still alive if possible.
You should consider it an honor if your cat is bringing home their catches to share with you. It’s another instinctual behavior and shows that they include you in their family circle.
If you have a female cat and she is bringing home dead rodents while your male cats are not this might explain the difference in their behaviors.
Cats Like to Play with Live ‘Toys’
While I’m sure you have hours of fun playing with your cat and dangling various toys in front of them to chase and jump on, there is nothing quite like the real thing.
Mice present an interesting and fun challenge for cats to catch. They are small, nimble, fast, and pretty clever when it comes to escaping cats.
It’s often just a need to satisfy their own need for some fun and excitement catching a mouse, I’ve seen my cat spend hours stalking a hole where mice live in my garden.
This is why you will see your kitty playing with their catch sometimes. There is often no cruel intentions but razor sharp claws and a fragile little rodent doesn’t end up well.
What to Do If Your Cat Brings in a Mouse
If your cat brings a mouse into your home the first thing to do is stay calm. Try and remember that your cat is bringing you a gift, if you freak out they will be offended.
Take a look and see if the mouse is still alive. If it’s alive it’s important you try and get that little guy out as soon and as safely as possible.
Distract your cat by offering them some of their favorite treats, using a toy, or just scooping them up and removing them.
When letting the mouse free do so when your cat isn’t looking and give the mouse a good head start by keeping kitty indoors for a while.
If the mouse is dead, dispose of it in a bin that has a tight lid. If you bury it your garden your cat or another predator will probably just dig it up.
How to Stop Your Cat Bringing Home Dead Mice
You can’t stop a cat’s natural predatory instincts, no matter how much pampering and how domesticated you think they are.
You only really have two options;
Keep them indoors – An indoors cat obviously can’t catch wildlife. It’s hard to make this switch if your cat is already used to going outdoors however and not recommended.
Collar and bell – Cat collars come with bells because the noise scares off animals and stops cats creeping up on them silently. It’s also nice to know where kitty is when calling them in at night.
Don’t even punish your cat for bringing in ‘gifts’. Give them some praise, a little head fussing, dispose of the mouse, bird, or whatever they’ve brought in, and take it for what it is – a quirk of being a cat owner!