Click here to learn more.
Exactly when felines first became domesticated remains undetermined, but the why seems pretty clear: Pest control was a priority for early civilizations that needed to protect surplus crops from rodents — and cats proved to be natural-born mice killers.
It’s not surprising that modern house cats have retained the skills to hunt small critters, but why do today’s kitties often lay the prey at the feet of their human housemates?
Dr. E'Lise Christensen Bell, DVM, DACVB, of Veterinary Behavior Consultations of NYC, says that all cats can exhibit this behavior, but some are more likely to gift their owners with dead mice than others.
“Mother cats are the most likely to engage in this behavior as a natural part of parenting,” she says. “They bring dead prey back to the home area to start educating kittens about prey.”
If your cat isn’t raising kittens, Dr. Christensen Bell points to other potential reasons. For example, your kitty may be too full to eat, and she wants to save it for later — or snacking on prey just isn’t her cup of tea.
According to Dr. Christensen Bell, cats can be choosier about what they will eat than what they'll catch. “Some [findings] suggest that cats don’t like jumping mice," she explains. "These mice have been brought home, but were not found in the gastrointestinal tracts of the cats.”
In some cases, owners unwittingly encourage the behavior — a cat who gets extra attention when she delivers a furry corpse will likely do it again.
Another theory offered by Dr. Christensen Bell: Perhaps your feline is feeling generous, and she wants to share the grub with other cats in the household.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
We’ve compiled a list of resources for victims in need of assistance and others who simply want to help or…
During a TV interview, someone spotted Barbara Garcia's pup, and she was able to pull him out of the rubble.
Groups are jumping in to care for and return home pets who were lost during the massive tornado in Moore, Okla.
Up until 1957, homing pigeons performed remarkable feats, like flying over open water, to send vital messages to…
From being approached too quickly by a stranger to guarding food, any number of situations could cause a dog to…
These ocean-themed placemats give you the perk of being surrounded by sea life, without any chance of seasickness.
You can almost hear them: "You go first." "No, you go first!" And the whole thing is set to…
With a coat that comes in more than 300 colors and patterns, the Oriental is an eye-catching feline.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.