As every cat loving owner knows our little kitties are mysterious creatures, more so than those other furry family members. If you are a proud parent of an outdoor cat we have all experienced the joy and surprise of a gift in the form of a small rodent, lizard, or bird which could be dead but sometimes still alive. It is interesting to know that there is no evidence that cats have changed much over the past few thousand years. Cats are far more similar to their wild ancestors and have adapted to living alongside us.
I grew up watching wildlife documentaries by David Attenborough where you saw big cats hunting in the savannas of Africa. Cats are born to hunt and they cannot resist the urge to chase, play and catch prey. Whilst my little garden is no match for the beauty and splendour of the African landscape I am still mesmerised by the way in which my cat stalks its prey, looking as majestic as his big cat brothers and sisters. It would seem that he cannot resist the urge and often looks like he is enjoying the hunt and chase. Cats are very similar to their wild ancestors and belong to a group of mammals known as carnivore who dined primarily on meat. Our kitties know that they do not need to catch their own food to survive, however, they cannot resist the urge and often enjoy the hunt and chase.
Waking up in the morning to a dead mouse might not be the best start to one’s morning but it helps to know and understand that the gesture is our cat’s way of telling us in their own way that we are their favourite human. So it is best to try and remember not to get upset and scold them but to praise them for the grand trophy they just brought in. By heaping praise cats will see it as a reward for their hunting prowess, and that might motivate them to bring you a bigger catch next time! So whilst their natural prey drive cannot be suppressed, it can be redirected to playing rather than hunting.
So it is worth investing in toys that requires your cat to chase or catch an object, any toy that helps with mental stimulation. These toys could include feather wands, laser pointers, moving toys, and other items that your cat simply cannot resist trying to catch. Whether your feline friend is allowed to go outside or not, most of them enjoy the company of humans and they like to play.
I take comfort in the knowledge that it is part of their instinct to hunt prey and feed their loved ones so there is thought behind the ‘Gift’ and your cat sees you as their family as much as you see them as family. There is no better way for your kitty to say “I love you” than for them to bring their kills to you!