A few times every week, I have noticed that one of my cats would bring me her stuffed mouse-shaped toy with catnip inside it.

The living room with all the toys is downstairs, in contrast to where I am working on my computer - upstairs. I always have the door to my room open, so whenever this happens, my cat meows, which naturally is rare of her to do in other occasions, and when I turn around, she would stand there with one of the two mouse toys, that contain some catnip, in her mouth.

She doesn't do that with any other toys, even though some of these other toys are also filled with catnip. Therefore, I'm coming to a conclusion that catnip is not the reason, but it is the shape of the toy instead. I have had these two cats since they were small, therefore I am almost certain that they have not seen a mouse in our house or anything of the sort.

I became curious, as I have already heard a few stories from my friends about their cats bringing their dead prey (such as moths or real mice) to their owners.

So the question is, what could be one of the reasons my cat brings me the toy as if it was her dead prey?

  • 1
    My female cat brings me her stuffed animals every night. She has about 10 of them and will inform me with a high pitch meow. She puts them in bed with me just about every night. If not in bed then on the floor. Sometimes she will line them up by my pillow. She usually sleeps in bed with my husband and I. She is 16 years old.
    – user7462
    Jun 25 '16 at 0:38

I saw a documentary that says cats will bring 'prey' (this included dead plant particulate as well as animals in the show) to their owners, because they believed they were bringing sustenance to the pack when they might not be able to obtain it themselves. So your cat probably thinks you're a bad hunter and she's trying to keep you alive. The things she has to do for you. :))

My cat does a similar behavior with his little ball toys with the bells in them. He'll pick them up by biting through the slots and then he'll walk around the house yowling. He doesn't do it often, but in his case, he's asking someone to take it and throw it for him to chase. He likes to hide around a corner and have someone roll it in from the other room so that he can pounce and swat it. He'll knock it around for a while, then bring it back to your general vicinity and drop it for you to throw again. It could be that your cat wants you to play with her.

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    Oh yeah. I forgot to mention, when I thought she wanted me to throw the mouse toy (that was during the first few times she's done it) I did it and it resulted with her looking at me with confusion. I'm just curious why out of all these toys that she and her sister cat has, it's always the only two mouse toys. But yes, overall just like you, my cat likes me to throw other toys up in the air for her to catch.
    – D. Tunus
    Feb 2 '16 at 14:53
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    Maybe just throwing it isn't enough excitement for her. Try knocking it around a few times or toss it from hand to hand to get her worked up. Typically prey doesn't just shoot quickly from one place to another. There is twitching involved. Sometimes I have to get mine worked up a little or, like yours, he'll just sit there and stare at me like I threw it wrong. An additional thing to try is to see if you can get a little kids fishing pole from a pawn shop. They're about 2' long. Tie the mouse to the string and cast it out, bouncing and popping it as you real it in.
    – Dalton
    Feb 2 '16 at 15:01
  • At least it's a sign that the cat cares for you. And yes, some cats do like to play 'fetch'. I've had more than one in the house. Feb 2 '16 at 19:50
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    Just be glad it's just a toy and not squirrel entrails. I speak from experience. Feb 2 '16 at 22:42
  • My last cat used to bring me real dead (or nearly dead) mice, in the middle of the night, while I was asleep. I gather she was doing me a favour. So be glad it's just toys.
    – RedSonja
    Feb 3 '16 at 14:22

Aww - it's a love offering!

Much like the other person answered that it's an offering of food, it has a deeper meaning. It's out of favored affection, not so much concern you are going to starve.

I learned of this years ago from some pet doctor. And please note that only few people get these special offerings, so you should feel very special and I think this is adorable. When cats bring their prized possessions and/or dead prey (if they're able) to you, it's a deep sign of love. So you might not want to toss them away in future.

Now you get why she gave you that confused look; sorry to say she probably felt a tinge of rejection. So when she does that again, you'll know how to better respond.

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    This is the correct answer. Cats sometimes share their prized catch with their owners. This is the greatest expression of love in the cat world. The cat instinct in the wild is to eat their prey and hide what they don't eat for later, since they don't know when they will get another meal. This is why you will find cat toys in the food or water bowl. If you take care of an outside cat who leaves a half eaten bird or rabbit at your front door, your job is to say...Thank you. What a good kitty!.... lots of praise and pets. Then, when the cat is not around, through out the dead animal. Feb 7 '16 at 17:15

It can also be "here, watch this for me" or "I like you so I'm sharing my toy with you" or "this place is mine so I'm comfortable parking my toy here" -- or even just "I was playing with the toy, but lost interest in it when I saw you; I'd rather play with you."

I think I've seen all of these.


One of our cats does this with one particular toy about twice a day, once for me and once for my wife. It's usually after he's had a meal or some treats, so we believe it's a gesture of thanks to us for providing.

Years ago, we had another cat who used to carry around toys while meowing, but they weren't "deliveries" for us. She just carried them around. Vet said it was maternal instinct, as though she was carrying one kitten and calling to the rest to follow.


My three-legged cat, Maple, has started this ritual about a year ago.

She has three feather-like toys that she has come to favor out of her dozens of toys. One has a stick attached! She will drag those toys up two flights of stairs (and note that she has only three legs!) and bring them up onto my bed. When I don't wake up from her mewling and excitement, I wake up covered in her toys. She's so excited when I wake up and pet her, purring like a motor boat.

I definitely think it's a sign of affection, or perhaps a way of her telling me she wants attention and I should wake up and give it to her now, which is hilarious.


My cats to do this to remind me to feed them. It is basically the equivalent of them saying "I've brought you food, now it's your turn to give me food!"

One of my mother's cats used to do this with large chunks of canned cat food. She'd pick it up out of the bowl with her mouth, bring it to one of us and make that special yowling sound that she also made if she'd caught a mouse or a bird and wanted into the house. It's definitely a sharing gesture.

It doesn't matter if your cat has never seen a mouse before. It's hard-wired into them that particular shapes and certain movements are exciting. To my knowledge, my cats have never seen a real mouse, only their toy mice that they occasionally bring me. They do love watching birds through the window and occasionally "hunt" them through the glass!

  • Haha. I can seriously relate to that, my birds do often chatter at the birds through the windows. But alright, thanks for helping. I'm hoping to be able to look more into finding out why in particular they treat mouse toys as prey.
    – D. Tunus
    Feb 5 '16 at 11:03
  • @D.Tanya I think you mean your cats, not your birds!
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 5 '16 at 11:05

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