One of the more disgusting feline habits is that of bringing home dead or nearly dead animals. For a species that's otherwise so prim, this behavior is as baffling as it is horrifying. Why do cats do this?
Cats were first domesticated almost 10,000 years ago, but they still retain the hunting instincts of their much more intimidating ancestors. Cats, being true carnivores, need meat to survive, and their deep-seated hunting instincts reflect this need. Those instincts are one reason your cat might bring you "presents."
Interestingly, spayed female cats are the most likely to bring dead animals to their owners. Cat mothers in the wild teach their young how to eat by bringing home dead or injured prey, according to Livescience. Domestic cats retain this instinct, but because they are probably spayed, they have no young to teach. So the cat might act out those instincts on her human family. By bringing you a dead or injured animal, your cat is lovingly trying to teach you how to eat your prey. Aw!
But what should you do if you don't appreciate these presents, however loving the intention behind them?
To start off, don't panic. These instincts are natural and do not mean that your cat is a bad person. On the contrary, they mean your cat has your needs in mind, however wrong their perception of your needs might be.
After not panicking, look into purchasing some puzzle toys. These toys keep cats from getting bored and help them act out their hunting instincts in a way that isn't distasteful to humans.
Another option, of course, is to keep your cat indoors. But if your cat won't tolerate the restriction on their indoor/ outdoor lifestyle, get her a collar with a bell on it, so she can't sneak up on prey. Just make sure it's a breakaway collar, so it will release if your cat becomes caught on anything while exploring the great outdoors.
And above all, remember: just because your cat is pretending you're her kitten doesn't mean you have to eat the dead birds she brings you.