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Why do cats bring us dead “gifts”?

Owners of cats who go in and out of the house on a regular basis have often experienced the unpleasant surprise of opening the door to let the cat in and discovering that they’ve left a “gift” in the doorway in the form of a dead rodent or bird. Why do they do that?

Cats are natural predators, and their way of feeding themselves in the wild is by hunting small prey, usually rodents or birds. This behavior was a factor in the early domestication of cats, since humans benefited from the cats’ pest control in the places they inhabited, including where they kept food.

It’s very important for cats to teach their offspring to hunt so that kittens have the ability to get food for themselves when they are older. Therefore, the act of bringing home prey is considered an attempt to teach the owner to hunt as if they were the cat’s own litter.

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