Cat Q&A

How do I get my cat to stop bringing me “presents” (dead animals)?

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Bringing Me Dead Animal “Presents”?

Cats have long been known for the occasional dead animal “gift” they bestow upon their owners, usually in the form of a rat, bird, or other small creature. Though it might be tempting to give your feline friend a pat on the head or even a treat for the gesture, this behavior needs to be managed in order to keep both your cat, and the environment, safe. Here are a few tips to help you get your cat to stop bringing you dead animal “presents”:

1. Make Sure Outdoor Areas Are Safe & Secure

The best way to ensure that your cat doesn’t bring you dead animal “presents” is to ensure that you provide a secure, enclosed space for your cat when they are outdoors. Make sure they can’t access any areas where they may be exposed to other animals – such as garage, porches, and gardens. Additionally, it’s important to spay or neuter your pet, as this will reduce their urge to hunt and will keep them from roaming unattended.

2. Provide Plenty of Stimulation for Your Cat

Providing stimulation for your cat – both mental and physical – can be a great way to keep them from bringing you dead animal “themes”. Make sure there are plenty of interactive toys available so that your cat can release their pent-up energy without having to head outside for a hunt. Additionally, provide them with plenty of scratching posts and perches to help give them a sense of security.

3. Robust Deterrents

Using deterrents such as:

  • Ultrasonic devices
  • Spray bottles
  • Citronella-based repellents
  • Motion-activated sprinklers

can help to keep your cats away from areas (and creatures) they should not be in contact with. Additionally, scent-marking your property with vinegar or creosote can help to keep other animals away.

4. Positive Reinforcement & Rewards

If your cat does bring you a dead animal “present”, be sure to discourage the behavior in a positive and reinforcing way. The best way to do this is to offer rewards, such as treats or pats on the head, when your cat refrains from engaging in hunting behavior. Additionally, stay away from punishment-based techniques, as this will likely just reinforce the behavior.

By following these tips, you can stop your cat from bringing you dead animal “presents” and keep both your cat and their environment safe. With patience and attentive supervision, you can get your cat back on track and turn the occasional dead animal “gift” into a thing of the past.

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