The Adorable Reason Your Cat Brings You Dead Animals As Gifts

It's more thoughtful than you think.

cat with a toy Helena Jankovicova Kovacova / Pexels 

Cat owners know how to keep their feline friend happy: By making sure their food bowl is always full, their water fresh, and their litter box clean.

In exchange, your cat will let you know just how much they love you, snuggling up with you at night and letting you boop their little noses. 

Cats might act aloof, but they love their humans, and sometimes, they show their affection in a unique way — by bringing you something they’ve caught in nature.


There’s an adorable reason your cat brings you dead animals as a gift.

Cats were domesticated 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, yet they kept their killer instinct. Much like lions or tigers, cats are hunters at heart. 

The Adorable Reason Your Cat Brings You Dead Animals As GiftsPhoto: GizmoPhoto / Canva Pro

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If your cat goes outside, they might roam the neighborhood, hunting for birds, mice, and other little critters. After the chase is over and they’ve captured their prey, cats often bring the dead animal home and then proudly give you their special gift. 

When your cat gives you a dead animal, it means they see you as part of their family.



Female cats teach their young how to hunt in order to eat. Even without kittens, a cat’s instinct to share their delicious meal remains strong. So, when they come back inside, holding a mouse in their mouth, it’s really because they love you and want to take care of you as a member of their family.


The reason your cat brings you trash, toys, and tiny animals is rooted in their instinct to care for their family. 

For my big, orange cat named Turkey, an adventure in nature meant prowling through the fenced-in yard, chasing bugs and beams of sunlight, catching lizards, and then leaving their tails by the door as a gross yet meaningful offering. 

The Adorable Reason Your Cat Brings You Dead Animals As Gifts Photo: Mathis Reding / Pexels 

An indoor cat’s prey is limited, but they still love the thrill of the chase. They’ll proudly bring you the prey they’ve caught, even if it’s only a plush animal. 


The sentiment remains the same: Your cat loves you like you’re their one and only pet parent.



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Turkey hunted pom-poms, batting them between his paws, dropping them into the bathtub, sink, or a shoe, then fishing them back out. 


He would sit beside me on the couch with his prized pom-pom in his mouth and push his head into my hand so I would pet him. Then, he’d offer me the highest expression of love he could think of, which was giving me the pom-pom he worked so hard to catch. 



The pom-pom would often be soaking wet. It was gross, but it was his way of letting me know that he loved me, even if he spent the other half of his day trying to catch my bare feet as I walked through the house.

The Adorable Reason Your Cat Brings You Dead Animals As Gifts Photo: cottonbro studio / Pexels 


If you’re tired of your cat bringing you special gifts, you can redirect their attention by giving them toys to entertain them. Toys that replicate chasing and hunting an animal are especially appreciated. It’s important to keep your feline friend mentally stimulated, which you can do with laser pointers, puzzles that move, string toys, or feathered wands.

By setting aside dedicated time to play with your cat, you’re letting them get some energy out and engaging them in their favorite activity. 

So, the next time your cat leaves a dead animal at your doorstep, thank them before you throw it in the trash, and remember, your cat loves you so much.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.