Your cat is bringing you toys because she may want to play with you, may want to teach you how to hunt or may simply want your attention. It may also be that she’s responding to a prey-retrieval instinct and a mother cat instinct of teaching her young how to hunt. Whatever her intention may be, it’s most often rooted in the instincts that she inherited from her wild cat ancestors.
Why does my cat bring me toys?
Cats are affectionate pets but sometimes they have some peculiar behavior that we find puzzling like bringing toys. Sometimes, it may even extend to other things like socks, pieces of clothing and dead rodents that they’ve hunted around the house.
There are various explanations why your cat is doing this and here are the most known reasons why she’s bringing you toys or other things for that matter:
Your cat wants to play
If your cat brings you a toy or places a ball on your feet and looks at you with those adorable eyes then lucky you! Cats have a finicky nature and they carefully choose who they want to play with and not just because you’re their pet parent. What to do? Never say no! So, even if you come home dead-tired from work but your cat brings you toys as an invitation to play then, by all means, play with her willingly or suffer the consequence of being ambushed if you ignore her.
She sees the toy as a trophy for a game
It’s an instinct for cats to chase, stalk, and hunt for prey in the wild but since your pet cat is a domesticated and indoor cat then this ability to hunt for prey is substituted by the toys that you provide her. Furry balls and fishing cat toys for instance take the place of prey and when your cat wins the chase, as she always will, she may look at it as a form of a trophy. She may then bring this particular toy to you as her way of showing you her hunting skills and as her way of contributing to the family’s “hunt”. This action may also mean that she’s asking for your praise and respect for her hunting abilities.
She’s expecting a reward from you
Take special notice if your cat suddenly approaches you with a toy, places it on your feet, looks at you, and deliberately licks her lips. This is a surefire sign that she’s expecting praises and a reward from you, most probably some tuna slices or kibbles! The American Association of Feline Practitioners aptly stated that positive reinforcement like a reward is an effective way for cats to learn. However, a reward doesn’t always mean food because it may also be through verbal praises, cuddles, or by petting them.
She’s expressing her affection to you by sharing her toy
Just as it is when a cat head bunts you or rubs against your feet, her gesture of bringing a toy to you is her special way of expressing her affection. This may signify that she respects, accepts, and loves you by sharing her precious possession with you. In response, you should acknowledge her gesture and then proceed to play with the toy as it will please your pet cat and she will get the message that you appreciate the toy or “gift”.
She wants you to look after the toy
Your cat may bring you her toy because she wants you to be the guardian and safe keeper. That’s how much she trusts you and you should be glad for that because gaining a cat’s trust is not an easy feat. A cat will typically bring her toy and place it under your bed, inside your shoe, or even bury it among your clothes because she doesn’t want other family members to get hold of it. As your response, be sure to keep her toy in a place that’s exclusively accessible to your cat only. Make sure it’s somewhere that she can easily find should she ever want to play with the toy again and be sure that she’s watching while you place her toy in a basket. Being great imitators, your cat will eventually tidy and keep the toys away just like what you did while she was watching you.
She’s alerting you that the toy needs to be repaired
Cats are inquisitive and perceptive so they’ll instantly know if something is amiss or different with their toys. If your pet cat brings her favorite to you then it may mean she wants you to check and fix it. If her toy is stuffed with catnip, its smell may have withered and it smells different or a toy that usually gives a sound remains silent which may have piqued your cat’s curiosity. You have the choice of fixing her toy or you may also give her a new toy to play with and observe closely how she will react to the new toy.
Your cat is teaching you how to hunt
Since your cat trusts you and shows affection to you, it also follows that she will see you as part of her clan or a fellow feline. Female cats in particular have an instinct to “teach” her young the hunting skills and wisdom. In the same manner, she may be “teaching you how to hunt” by bringing you her toys a.k.a. prey. Through it, you’re supposed to practice your “hunting skills”. As your response, thank and appreciate your cat by playing with the toy to reassure her of your hunting capacities. Most of all, be very glad because if a cat teaches you how to hunt it’s a sign of affection, acceptance, and deep bond.
What type of toys should you give to your cat?
Cat toys play a great role in every indoor cat’s life because it allows them to be mentally alert and active. It also acts as a substitute for their predatory instinct to hunt in the wild. You can provide your cat with the appropriate toys according to your cat’s tendencies. For instance, if your pet cat always seeks your attention in exchange for food treats then you may consider giving her the Kong Cat Playground interactive cat toy which allows her to have her treats and eat it, too. However, if your cat tends to bring toys as her way of teaching you how to hunt then you may consider giving her the PetSafe Pounce cat toy for her to hone her hunting skills with the use of her senses.
What to do if your cat brings you “inappropriate gifts” dead rats and bugs?
Cats especially those that have easy access to the outdoors aren’t known to only bring toys as “gifts” or trophies. They can bring you the real thing, which means they’ll bring in their haul for the day, their prey! This usually consists of dead or mangled rats, other small rodents, lizards, and even bugs. These inappropriate gifts can be too much for some people especially if it’s accompanied by a substantial amount of gory blood.
Here’s what your ideal response should be if your cat brings you inappropriate gifts:
- make it a point to praise your cat lavishly for the gift she gave you
- don’t show your disgust and refrain from yelling or other negative reactions
- show your cat that you’re pleased and happy but once your cat is in a safe distance dispose of the dead rat or bug promptly
- feed your cat before allowing her to go outdoor but this isn’t a guarantee that she won’t hunt for prey anymore
- place a bell on your cat’s collar to alert rodents and creatures on your cat’s way and hopefully will minimize chances of your cat bringing in live prey
- you may also completely put an end to inappropriate gifts by keeping your cat indoors and keeping her safe from the perils of the outdoors
If your pet cat brings you toys or even inappropriate gifts like dead rodents then you have all the right in the world to be proud of yourself as it means that your cat trusts you completely. She may also bring you toys to seek your attention and approval, to show off her “hunt” and “trophies” and to “teach” you her hunting skills.