Why is my serial killer cat leaving dead animals at my doorstep?

Last year my inside cat became an outside cat. The last few months, she has gone on a killing spree. 4 different kinds of animals so far (mice, birds, a frog, and today a rat).

She always leaves them at either the front or back door. And she never eats them. In fact sometimes it’s hard to believe they are dead at all. They look like taxidermy animals. I can’t tell how she killed them.

And they are getting BIG. Some of the birds are half her size, and that was almost a full size rat out their tonite. If she gets much better I am going to have to give her a list of people I don’t like.

I can’t remember where I read this or how it was determined, but supposedly they are offerings of love for you. My previous cat, Rosebud Fluffhead Fuzzybutt, used to leave a shrew now and then. My mother had a cat that made frequent offerings and would almost beam when they were discovered. I have seen this explained in more than one source, but neither was a science book.

Either that or it’s a threat. She’s showing you just what she’s capable of.

No, it’s an aknowledgement you’re Alpha cat, in a way it’s gesture of love and respect. Praise her and thank her otherwise she’ll get confused.

Have you tried a bell?

And of course, here on the SDMB, the whole “inside vs outside cat” is a very hot debate topic. I am firmly in the “inside only cat” camp myself. But let’s not start that debate, OK, dudes?

:confused: Cats arent pack animals are they?

Lions are. Some other cats are slightly pack-like.

You do make a good point. But the domestic cat isn’t really a wild cat. You keep your cat in a state of slight kittenhood by petting, feeding, sleeping with her, and so forth. And, feral cats can and do form “colonies”. Sometimes you keep several cats in a house which is much smaller than a wild cat would want to be territory wise. Thus, the domestic cat does accept an “Alpha cat”. Just nowhere nearly as strongly as dogs or wolves, of course.

If you have 4 or 5 cats (usually at least 3) you’ll notice a definate pecking order.

Of course, since you provide the food, and i hope you’re the biggest, generally the cats will assume you’re some sort of super-Alpha cat, in a way. That’s why the “tribute.”

Note for dudes with small dogs- it is just as important for you to make sure to maintain that YOU are Alpha dog as with bigger dogs. I have seen far too many small dogs ruined by owners thinking their little dogs “harmless” displays of agression are “cute”.

I read somewhere (I forget where, so no cite) that she’s trying to teach you to hunt, like she would a kitten. (“See, dear, this is a mouse.”) The advanced course is when she brings back live prey so you can kill them. :eek:

One of my dogs is always leaving dead critters on the deck. She’s going through all the vertibrates; so far, she’s got amphibians, mammals, and birds. And just the other week, she amazed me by leaving a headless rabbit. All this in a fenced-in yard only 35 feet by 60 feet.

We had a cat who once bought us back a slice of roast beef. Where the heck she got it from I don’t know. I hope it was from a trash can and not off someone’s plate !

She snaps their necks, in all likehood.

I read The Secret World of Cats several years ago. IIRC, the author said if the offering was dead, the cat was “feeding” you, like a kitten. ( in other words, she thinks you’re incompetent :smiley: ) If the offering is alive, she’s teaching you to hunt.

DrDeth, pack animals?! Mine become boneless if I put a collar on any of them. :smiley:

That’s what I’ve heard, too. I’d imagine cats think we’re pretty incompetent when it comes to hunting. Well, actually, I imagine that cats think we’re pretty incompetent at everything.

My aunt was so concerned that her cat’s feelings would be hurt if she rejected its rodent offerings that she would actually pretend to eat the mouse and wait until the cat wasn’t looking to dispose of it.

I also agree that the cat is just showing you that you are the boss around town and she is paying you your dues. Cats aren’t precisely pack animals, but they can be social and do develop a hierarchy if left to their own devices. You should just be thankful that your cat thinks you’re at the top. :smiley:

According to Desmond Morris in Catwatching, they do this because they consider their owners such hopeless hunters. Personally I view this feline opinion as unfair, because I go hunting at Tesco at least twice a week.

Anyway, I think this confirms the incompetence theory. Normally they look upon humans as pseudo-parents but on these occasions they view them as their family i.e their kittens.

These gifts are most commonly given by neutered females who obvioulsy cannot perform this service for their own litters. The correct response is to praise the cat for its maternal generosity, take the prey from it with compliments and stroking and then quietly dispose of it.

Pretending to eat the prey seems like a good idea, unless the cat watches you like a hawk until you’ve digested it. Many people have tried frogs legs, but an entire frog would challenge the taste buds of most diners.

Especially if it is eaten raw.

It’s the cat’s contribution to the household, an appreciation of you, the home and the food you bring to her/him. – It’s tricky, because if you don’t like the contribution, and show it, the cat will be offended and confused. So if you have a cat with this habit, you just have to live with it.

A friend of mine has six cats, first he got two and gave them the snip, then his G/F got a small female who had four kittens which he kept (one died).

They certainly act as a pack, although they all have different personalities, they are very coordinated.

On the main subject, I’ve noticed that cats bring in animals for one of two reasons
a) to play with while alive
one of ours was a real psychopath, he would bring in very live mice and stick them under a floor rug - hours of fun.
Another would bring in large worms and frogs - very much alive

b) what can only be a form of tribute or showing off
quite amazing when you get a hulking great rat on the back doorstep … on Chrismas morning - epecially when that cat was a bit dozy and never normally brought back hunting trophies

Concerning packs: Cats pack together if there happen to be a lot of them in the same place. That’s natural behaviour for them. I’ve seen this myself when being in Greece, for instance, on an Island with a village and lots of cats. Also, having four cats myself, I have a little pack right here, with obvious group, or pack dynamics.

She’s just giving you your piece of the action, Don Feces of Death.

Now, that is positively touching. She was never much good at hunting, but she wanted to be sure to give you a really good Christmas present, so she gave it her all, and put in her best hunting performance of her life, just to make you happy. It’s gifts like that, that come from the heart, that mean the most.

Mine too! Mick’s an indoor cat. When my son was visiting, he insisted Mick was being deprived of all that outdoor goodness, so we got him a harness and took him outdoors. Mick was fine until he felt a tug, whereupon he became 18 pounds of pudding.

I don’t know about cats wanting to share their kill though. Our late Lucy brought a mouse home once. She dropped it on the stairs, and when I went to pick it up, she swallowed it whole.