How many times have I heard friends with cats tell me the cat has brought them home a gift? Not flowers either; usually it is a baby bird, a small mouse or even a rat. Guess what? Your cat really thinks he is bringing you a gift. It may sound crazy, but it is true. If you have ever seen a nature show that features tigers, cheetahs or lions, you will see that the mother "cat" will bring back part of the kill to her cubs so they have nourishment.
Why Our Cats Hunt
Our domestic cats, like their giant relatives, hunt for the same reasons. As kittens they are taught how to hunt through playing. Barn cats have kittens, and even if the mother cat is fed regularly, she will hunt to supplement her kittens' food. This is the feline's instinct calling. When a cat doesn't have kittens, you become a member of their family, and therefore they want to bring something home for you.
Although you won't eat the gift, it goes back to the instinct of taking care of their own, so they hunt for you because you don't. What your cat brings home can vary widely, depending on where you live. If you live in an apartment, the cat may catch the flies or bugs he sees inside the apartment. If you live in a house in a city, the cat might bring you a grasshopper or a spider from the yard. If you are in the country like my assistant Ruthie, you can see many varied things. Her cats bring home an assortment of bugs, rodents and even snakes.
The most important thing to remember is why your pet is doing this. He has accepted you as a member of his family and is treating you as such. The cat is trying to prove that he is a great hunter, and he loves you so much that he wants to share what he has caught with you. For your cat, this is the ultimate devotion they can show a fellow creature. The very last thing you want to do, is scream and yell at them, although that may be what your instinct is. Trust me, you're cat won't understand why you are so upset.
How to Handle the Situation
The proper way to handle the situation is to try and remain calm. Try not to make a horrified face because cats can read body language too. Thank your feline friend for the gift, and if he will let you, dispose of it. If the cat won't let you dispose of his gift, try to get him to take it outside. I will tell you now that if the cat doesn't want to give it up, there is very little you can do to persuade him otherwise.
One method that many of my friends have found successful is to offer the cat an alternative. Try to offer him a special toy, catnip or a treat. If there is another person around, you can try to distract the cat with the alternative gift, and have the other person remove Kitty's hunting prize while the cat is not looking. When disposing of the mouse, or whatever he has brought you, don't bury it, because your cat will just dig it up again. Try to dispose of it in an outside garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
The only way to keep your cat from bringing home gifts is to keep him inside all the time. However, don't kid yourself, cats can find mice inside a house too; they can also make you crazy if they want to go outside and you won't let them. So, try not to stifle the natural instinct, and when your cat brings you a gift, try to accept it graciously. Praise him, and tell him what a "good kitty" he is.
If you are unlucky enough to find his gift after he has deposited it on something that can become blood stained, I have also written down some of my own proven tips on how to get the blood out.
How To Get The Blood Out
Here are the steps for getting blood out of anything:
- Pre-soak the item in cold water.
- Make a paste of baking soda and cold water. Then put it on the stain, scrub and then wash as normal.
- If the blood is fresh try this: Make a paste of talcum powder, corn starch or corn meal. #Add cold water, apply to stain and let sit for three hours. After three hours, scrub with cold water and wash as normal.
- Let the item soak for a while (even overnight) in cold water. Then put some stain remover on it and let it sit for a while more. Then wash the article in cold water and detergent. If the article is white, you could always bleach it.
- If the stain is an old stain, try soaking in cool salt water for a long time (several hours) and rinse thoroughly. Soak again in water with some ammonia. Launder as above, using cold water. Since blood is organic, you can try soaking in an enzyme solution for half an hour to an hour. As a last resort, use bleach if the item is white or if item is colored, use a color safe bleach.
"Remember the animals in your life are not just your pets they're your friends" WNR