Why Your Cat Brings You Presents

Everybody loves presents.

It doesn’t matter if they’re for birthdays, Christmas or anniversaries, they’re always appreciated. Well, not always. There are the little gifts our cats bring us that, while the intentions are good, the cleanup is a mess.

Wild Thing

According to Livescience.com, cats were first domesticated some 10,000 years ago; a process we’re still working on today. Right around the time humans adopted an agricultural lifestyle, cats became pets to act as mouse hunters and protect grain-storage areas. The fact that they haven’t let this job title go after 10,000 years shows how stubborn these tabbies really are. Of course we all know how stubborn they can be just trying to get them to come in at night or stay off the kitchen counter. So now, 10,000 years later, my cat is just acting on her ancestral impulses when she knocks every plant in the house down while chasing that one tiny mouse.

You’re Her Surrogate Kid

Mama cats tend to train their young about hunting prey by bringing their young ones injured or killed prey as if to say, “Here you go, this is how it’s done.” Dropping a dead bird at their kitten’s feet is a pretty blunt message of “Dinner’s served.” She is just projecting this innate need to teach onto you. She is showing her love to you and that you’re a part of her family, disregarding the wounds she applied yesterday when you thought she was happy to be petted.

Low Opinions

Another way to look at it’s she thinks you’re a pretty pathetic hunter. Sure you feed her delicious cat food from The Honest Kitchen, but in her eyes that’s not enough. She feels, and rightfully so, that you have no chance of catching a bird, a mouse, a rabbit nor a snake on your own. Again, this is a teaching moment: for you, not her. Do you really think you’re so good as to undo 10,000 years of behavior? Heck, only the best of us can catch a mouse with nothing but bare hands.

Everybody Gets a Trophy

Your cat is a proud and vain beast. She is a huntress above all and no prey is safe in her domain. At least that’s what she would like you to think, and you would if you hadn’t watched her go completely bonkers over a paper bag you just threw down. When she drops a bug, a bird, a snake or whatever at your feet, she is basically telling you two things: yes, I am a cat to be reckoned with, and yes, I love you too.

Even the Odds

I put a bell on our cat’s collar, not so I can find her, just to give the birds a fighting chance. Our yard has become an official “No Fly Zone” and her motto seems to be “If it flies, it dies.” Some so-called experts have suggested keeping your cat well-fed to discourage hunting; I don’t think these experts really own a cat. These presents to you are her trophies, so don’t yell at her and don’t get mad. She’s just bringing home the bacon, in the form of a mouse, that is.

Meet the Author: Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is a full-time musician along with a humor, travel and outdoor recreation columnist. He's also an avid skier and golfer and has traveled extensively around the U.S, the Caribbean and Europe. His musical career takes him all over the U.S. and his wife drags him everywhere else. His weekly columns “The Life of Ryan” ran in the Transcript and Sentinel newspaper chain for several years and have been featured in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Mile High Magazine. He is the co-founder, editor and humor columnist for ColoradoLocalLegends.com and currently resides in Morrison, Colorado.

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