Last Updated on August 12, 2021 by Pets Feed
The situation when a cat brings home a dead or even a half-dead mouse is quite common. The reaction of the owners to such a “gift” can be contradictory: someone will complain about the mischievousness of their pet, while in someone it will cause real panic. But not all owners understand why the animal does this. But there is quite a logical justification for this.
Why do cats bring prey (mice) to their owner?
To date, there is no consensus as to why cats bring killed prey home. But most of the existing versions have a right to exist and, most likely, pets are really guided by some of the following motives.
Implementation of the hunting instinct
Cats are carnivores and their diet is based on raw meat. To survive in the wild, the ancestors of modern cats needed to hunt small rodents and birds.
The modern domestic cat is in a much more comfortable environment. Hunting as a tool for obtaining food has long lost its importance for our pets, but the corresponding instinct has not gone anywhere. Therefore, the animal catches mice, obeying exclusively its natural habits. And she brings them home not for the owner, but for herself, in order to eat the prey at the most suitable moment in a safe environment.
Some of the pets even stock up on dead animals. In this regard, some scientists believe that cats are the only predatory animals that hunt small rodents and birds, not only for food, but also for their own pleasure. It is difficult to say how much this is true, but this theory fully explains why even well-fed pets start hunting.
Some cats show no interest in mice. Apparently, not all of them have a highly developed hunting instinct.
Help for the owner
The domestic cat perceives the owner as a member of its pride, but in the understanding of the animal, he is not always its head. At the level of instinct, cats have the need to take care of the members of their flock. Actually, this is the reason that the cat brings its prey to the owner, thus trying to help him feed.
Master’s training in hunting
If you observe cats that have offspring, you will notice that they often bring half-dead mice to their kittens so that they perceive them as prey and learn to handle them.
If the animal does not have kittens, then it can start teaching its owner to hunt and proper nutrition. Sometimes a cat brings mice to bed or even on pillows, which causes an extremely negative reaction from the owner.
It is difficult to say whether a cat can feel some semblance of gratitude, since animals are not inherent in morality, and their behavior is completely subordinated to instincts. However, when a pet brings its prey (especially a half of a mouse or bird) to the owner in order to share with him, the word “gratitude” describes the animal’s action in full measure. Although, of course, in this case, the cat is only trying to show its usefulness for the pride.
Cats can bring prey home in order to demonstrate their hunting qualities to others. Thus, they try to dominate other animals and people. Also, prey can serve as a kind of mark that the cat leaves on its territory, claiming its primacy on it.
How to properly respond to the owner of the “gift”
As it becomes clear from the above, a cat brings mice home, guided by instincts, for, in general, quite good goals. However, it is not worth encouraging such behavior, since it can pose a certain threat both to the animal itself and to humans. And this is primarily a disease.
Mice, like other rodents, are carriers of various viruses and pathogenic bacteria. Some of them are zooanthroponoses, that is, they are transmitted from animal to person. The most dangerous disease that a cat can contract from a rodent, and, in turn, infect the owner, is rabies. Mortality from this disease without timely vaccination is 100%.
Also, rodents pose a danger of infecting cats:
- tularemia – an acute bacterial infection that affects the lungs, liver, lymph nodes;
- toxoplasmosis – an infection that affects almost all organs and systems of the animal;
- helminths (worms).
In addition, the mouse could already be poisoned with pesticides, which can lead to serious intoxication of the pet and even its death.
Most people, especially women, have a hypertrophied, irrational fear of mice. And a completely natural reaction to such a “gift” from a pet is a cry, indignation or even an attempt to punish the cat. But the cat only follows its instincts, which it cannot change or control. Therefore, it is impossible to scold the animal in any case. On the contrary, you should praise the pet, pet him and give him some kind of treat. And only when the cat is not around, it will be possible to remove and throw out the mouse (otherwise, the pet will lose confidence in you, one might say, it will be offended).
Do not touch the mouse with bare hands. Be sure to wear gloves.
To exclude the repetition of this the next time (if you have not brought a pet specifically for the extermination of rodents), you can use the following methods:
- Purchase of artificial “mice”. In the pet store, you can find a good rodent dummy, which is also impregnated with a composition with the smell of catnip, attractive to the pet. Such a toy will help the animal to realize its instincts, and the owner – to avoid the consequences of a real cat hunt.
- Collar with a bell. Suitable for self-walking pets. The cat will continue to hunt, but with every sudden movement it will give itself out, so it will not be able to catch anyone.
If the cat brought home a mouse, then you should not be scared, screaming, punishing her. It’s just that the pet is trying to take care of the owner. If this is an isolated case, then no measures should be taken, however, if the cat brings prey all the time, then this should be prevented by purchasing an appropriate toy or a collar with a bell for her.