If you’ve had a cat for some time, then you’re probably familiar with her weird habits. From staring at the ceiling to meowing when you sneeze, you cannot help but wonder why she does the things she does. And this time you’re thinking, “Why does my cat bring me toys?”
I remember the first time my cat brought me her toy. I was so confused. I remember thinking, “Why did she give me Mr. Penautbutter (aka. her stuffed toy)? Is…is she imitating our neighbor’s dog? It couldn’t be…She hates him!”
She used to bring me her toys all the time. And she would even sneak a piece of garbage or two. And one time, she gifted me with the biggest dead grasshopper I have ever seen in my entire life.
To be completely honest, she still does. I didn’t find some magical trick that helped me stop her from bringing me toys. Now I’m just not paying that much attention to it. Or rather, I don’t worry about it because I have accepted it as another one of her quirky behaviors.
But, it took several unsuccessful toy landings on my lap and even more late-night analyzing sessions for me to figure out what my fluffball wanted from me. And now that I’ve gained the perspective, I’m ready to help a fellow cat parent in need.
So without further ado, let’s go on a quest to find the much-needed answers, so you can stop wondering what’s going on.
Why does my cat bring me toys?
Most cat parents want what’s best for their feline companions. They want them to have the safest and comfiest environment, with lots of yummy treats and exciting toys. They want them to live their best furry lives.
But what most of them usually forget is that cats, apart from wishing to be spoiled by our love, want to (and have to) fulfill their basic natural urges. Every cat is a story of her own, but in one aspect they are essentially the same – they need to hunt!
So, if your cat brings you a toy or any kind of “gift” in general (whether it be a sock, a dead bug, or a chocolate wrapper), keep in mind that it’s not an unwanted or concerning behavior. You shouldn’t worry about it, and it is definitely not an indicator that something is wrong with her.
She’s just being silly and playful. And a vicious predator, of course.
However, it’s purrfectly normal to still wonder about the meaning of your kitty’s gift. Maybe she brings you her toys and leaves. Maybe she accompanies it with an adorable “Meow”. Whatever it may be, you end up puzzled, for sure.
Below, I have listed 7 possible reasons why your cat might be bringing you her toys. Take a look and see what’s the one that makes you go, “Ah! This sounds like my kitty, for sure!”
1. Your cat wants you to play with her
“Why does my cat bring me toys? Does she want me to play with her?”
If this is your first guess, but you think it’s not pawssible since it’s too obvious, don’t discard it right away! Most of the time, this is the main reason behind a sudden appearance of a toy on your lap.
When cats play, their play style is usually a recreation of a hunting scene. If you ever saw a cat playing (which I’m sure you did), then you know exactly what I’m talking about. She gets into her position with her pupils dilated, and her butt starts to wiggle right before she’s about to pounce.
And then she attacks her desired prey!
But it’s no fun when your prey isn’t really participating, right? It’s not a real hunt if the stuffed animal is just lying on the ground. Your cat does need a tad bit of provocation.
That’s when you step up to the plate! Your cat might be playing for a while all by herself, but sooner or later she’ll kindly ask you to participate by bringing you the toy. And then, it’s your job to throw the toy or to tease her with a feather teasing stick. Anything that will emulate a hunter-prey feeling in your kitty.
2. You need to fix her toy ASAP!
Your cat might be bringing you her toy because she noticed something is wrong with it. Maybe the toy has some loose strings or the stuffing fell out. Maybe you’ve recently washed it, and it lost its delicious catnip smell. Or maybe some other pet get his paws on it and violated it with its scent.
Our cats are very smart, and they notice when things are different than they used to be. So, it’s to be expected that they will be the first to spot that the toy needs to be fixed.
If your cat’s toy does have some loose strings, yarn, buttons, or anything on it that can be swallowed, make sure to fix it as soon as possible. If you aren’t in a position to fix it, then throw it away immediately.
Some toys actually cannot be fixed with a simple needle-and-thread action. They can be broken from the inside (like the thing that makes them squeak wears out), so there’s not much to do than to replace them since they no longer serve their purpose.
It’s important to make the damaged toy out of your fluffball’s reach since the odds of her swallowing a piece of it are very high. And if she does, she might develop Pica syndrome or some other, more serious gastrointestinal diseases which can severely impact her little fluffy life.
If, however, your toy has lost its signature catnip smell, you can consider getting a catnip spray and spraying the toy with it. Believe me when I tell you – your kitty’s gonna love that purrfume!
Or, you can simply rub the toy against your cat or something else that has her scent, so she can grow to trust it again.
And if you have more than one pet in your household, and your cat doesn’t prefer the smell of “the other one”, you can try doing the same: washing – spraying catnip spray – rubbing against your kitty.
3. Your cat needs you to look after her toy
The next reason lies in the fact that your cat trusts you!
Yup! You’ve heard that right! You might be skeptical when it comes to your feline buddy’s trust (since she doesn’t really give off that, “I trust you!” vibe), but it’s true. In Catspeak, leaving a toy with an owner is a sign of utmost respect and reliance.
Since, as we said, playing with a toy is your cat’s way to emulate a hunt, bringing the toy to you is like her way of telling you, “Hey, keep an eye on this for me, would you?” You should be honored she decided to trust you with her precious prey.
Your cat might be bringing you toys for this reason especially if she’s not the only child. If she has brothers or sisters, those that like to steal either food or toys, she’s going to need a trusty ally. If she’s not able to hide them with her own body, then she’ll need your help.
For this reason, her toys may not just be brought to you, but left under your pillow, in your shoes, on your laundry pile…anywhere you will find them.
Many pregnant cats will also do this. But instead of toys, they will entrust you with her kittens. That’s why many cat parents witness a new kitten litter under or even on their bed, in their wardrobes, and so on.
It’s amazing to have a bond like that with your cat. Many cat parents would surely envy you for it. So, don’t forget to appreciate it, and don’t get mad when you step on a toy while putting on your shoe. She means you no harm.
4. Your cat is trying to teach you how to hunt
You might be puzzled by your kitty’s peculiar behavior and ask yourself questions like, “Why does my cat bring me toys?” But be sure your cat is perplexed by many things you do (or don’t do). Whenever you fail to amuse her, maybe she’s asking herself things like, “How come this loser doesn’t know how to hunt yet?”
Believe it or not, your cat perceives you as her role model. You give her food, clean her litter box, buy her toys and cat trees, and play and cuddle with her. Every day she learns so much from you, even though you might not even notice it.
For example, let’s say you always play with your cat with your bare hands and overly provoke her to the point of your hands bleeding. If you find that behavior to be amusing, your cat will conclude that the tough love is fine and will continue to bite and scratch you.
The same thing goes if you let her make a total mess of your home – if there are no precautions, she’ll think it’s okay to shred toilet paper or scratch the sofa to the point of total destruction.
For your kitty, you’re the prime source of knowledge when it comes to many things.
But what if the situation is reversed? What if you forget to play with your kitty and her instincts tell her that her need to hunt is not satisfied? Every kitty needs to practice hunting to become the greatest, but if you don’t participate, then she’ll be confused.
Therefore, she might be the one to teach you something! By bringing you her toy she could be letting you know that what she did is called hunting and that you should do it, too.
Think about it as her way of telling you, “Listen, Karen, we gotta talk! It’s easy to go to Walmart and get groceries. But have you ever tried hunting to provide for your family?”
This is also a part of their motherly instinct. Maybe your cat has reached a point in her life when she’s ready to be a mom but since there’s no way for her to have kittens, she has to mother you.
Appreciate this feeling in your cat and do participate in her little teaching game. Your cat will be a proud teacher when she sees you tossing the toy around.
5. Or, she is simply showing off
Most domesticated cats today are lucky enough not to be in need to hunt out of hunger. Their bellies are full of delicious food, and most of the time, they eat more than they should, really. So, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why does my cat bring me toys? Why does she need to hunt if she’s not hungry?”
If there’s only one thing you should remember about cats, it is that they are eternally motivated by their desire to hunt. And everything they do, from munching on your toes in the middle of the night to biting your ears, is because their hunting needs are not met.
Hunting is something they inherited from their wild relatives, and no matter how spoiled they are by their owner’s love and affection, they will still have tendencies to stalk their prey. And their prey can be…well, basically anything.
So, your cat doesn’t have to be hungry to act upon her hunting needs. That’s just part of her nature! And once she catches the desired prey, she’ll usually just play with it, tossing it with her little paws here and there, and later bring it to you like a trophy.
We usually associate this behavior with dogs. At least that’s what my experience taught me. I remember one time when I was about 7 or 8 years old, our family dog caught my grandma’s rooster and brought it to the living room, right in front of the TV set.
He carried him in his mouth, put him on the floor, and landed his big paw on top of him. And he was looking at us with his head up in the sky, so proud and happy with himself. My grandma, however, wasn’t pleased at all.
Because of situations like these, it’s hard to imagine our cats will be doing it too. They seem as if they don’t really crave the validation of others. But, they are also extremely proud when it comes to their hunting skills. That’s something I was most surprised by, to be honest.
So, when your cat brings you her precious “hunt”, it’s like when you come home to your special someone with exciting news about your promotion at work. You would also be extremely proud, wouldn’t you?
6. Your cat wants to be rewarded for the “hunt”
“Why does my cat bring me toys? Should I give her treats each time she does it?”
Like any kid who brings home an A+ from a math test and expects new shoes or PlayStation, so does your cat. She expects a reward after she presents you with her hard-earned catch, possibly in the form of a delicious treat.
Yes, yes, your cat might the vainest of them all, and she might not be needing your validation, but she still enjoys a form of praise here and there.
If your kitty brings you her toy and remains next to you, staring and occasionally meowing, she is probably expecting you to either pet her or give her a treat. And you cannot blame her! She deserves her reward! After all, she has earned it with her hunting skills.
Every cat needs positive reinforcement, in any shape or form. And yours is no exception. Even a nice and soft compliment will sometimes suffice. Make sure to reward your cat whenever she does something praiseworthy.
7. Bringing you toys is your cat’s way to show affection
And last but not least, your cat might be bringing you her toys because she actually loves you!
We often joke about how cats don’t love us. We say how they don’t even like us, but simply tolerate us for their own personal gain. But it’s actually funny how wrong we are!
Cats are more than able to form strong emotional connections with people. It’s just that their means are hard to get used to. Even when they’re playing it tough, like when they’re biting us, that’s still a sign of their weird little furry love.
And as we have said countless times, since playing with toys is their way to re-enact the hunt, when they bring their “prey” to us, it’s like they are accepting us as one of their own with whom they’re ready to share everything. (“Oh, God! The letters are getting blurry. I’m not crying, you’re crying!”)
What if I can’t appreciate her gift at the moment?
When your fluffer brings you her toys in the middle of your Zoom meeting or while you are sound asleep, it can be very frustrating. Not only are you unable to do your work or get a good night’s sleep, but you also fail to use the given opportunity to bond with your feline friend.
But don’t worry! There’s a solution to this one, too.
You can consider getting your cat some automatic toys she could play with while you are busy. These toys help your cat be engaged when you are unable to answer her needs, and they also help her use up her energy.
To prevent her from bothering you when you sleep, you can consider playing with her and feeding her right before bedtime. This way, you can make sure her night zoomies are under control (at least to some extent).
And, the last thing you can consider doing is getting your kitty feline company. Another cat will do wonders for your cat and will be your worthy replacement (if not even better). Your cat can benefit from the company of another kitty in so many ways. Especially at the kitten stage.
She will be more sociable, her energy will be regularly spent, her playful need will be met, and much more.
What to do when my cat brings inappropriate gifts?
If your cat has access to the great outdoors, then she has probably gifted you with several pieces of trash from the outside in the past. Or it could have been something stolen from your neighbor. But, the thing every cat parent probably hates is the gift in a form of a carcass.
My cats used to do this to me all the time! They would bring me a different kind of gift each time they go on the balcony. Sometimes it’s a bee, other times it’s a big green grasshopper. But before I was presented with a dead bird, I made sure to cat-proof my balcony.
Now, my kitties can freely roam without me dreading their fall or a potential carcass in the house.
Even though your furry feline’s inappropriate “prey” is a sign of immense affection, it’s still understandable if you don’t like it. However, try not to show her your disgust, and don’t punish her. Scolding your cat for being a cat can cause problems of its own and only make her confused.
Hunting is their necessity, I know. But, I also know what diseases dead animals can cause in humans. Bringing you your neighbor’s shoes is one thing, but entirely different is when she brings you a dead mouse.
So, it’s safest to make sure your indoor kitty has a healthy alternative (aka. her toys) she can hunt all day long. And, a good hunting partner (a.k.a. you), as well. Also, make sure she eats healthy and nutritious food and that she never craves anything you don’t wish to clean afterward.