Hunting behaviour in cats
February 20, 2019
Your cute and adorable kitten was born to be a formidable hunter.
Stalking and catching prey is a big part of your kitten's natural behaviour, and kittens start to perfect these skills early on when playing with their littermates.
In the wild, mothers bring their kittens dead prey to eat. As their kittens start to get a bit older, mum starts bringing home live prey instead. This helps the kittens learn how to hunt and kill, setting them up with the survival skills they'll need when they're on their own.
Why is my cat leaving 'presents' on the door step?
While your kitten can rely on you for their next meal, their instincts run deep.
If your kitten has access to the outside world, there’s a good chance that your feline friend will sometimes bring prey items home. You might find these on the door step and be tempted to think you're being offered little 'presents'.
However, the main reason your kitten brings prey back home is actually to finish off the hunt. When a cat first catches their prey, they grab it anywhere on its body they can. However, to kill it, they need to bite its neck. Your kitten can’t let go of their prey to do this, because there's no pack to stand guard.
So rather than adjusting their grip in the place where they caught their prey, your kitten carries it back home instead. That way, if the prey should happen to escape, your kitten has a home ground advantage, and will be much more confident about catching it again.
If your kitten turns up on the doorstep carrying something they've caught, remember that your little hunter is simply following their natural instincts. They're finishing off their hunt in a place where they feel safe, and won’t be disturbed by other predators.