Social Question

El_Cadejo's avatar

How can I discourage my cat from bringing me LIVE gifts?

Asked by El_Cadejo (34455points) November 14th, 2012

So yeaaaaa…. got no problem with him showing his love for me by bringing me a mouse/vole/chipmunk/whatever, it is a problem however when he comes inside and drops a live mouse/vole/chipmunk/whatever at my feet. I could always just keep him inside but I think its best that he has time to get out and explore outside. Any way to discourage this sort of behavior?

The current tally is 5 mice, 1 chipmunk, 2 voles. Getting a bit tired of having to catch these critters running around in my house lol

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46 Answers

josie's avatar

No. That is their nature. Any attempt to force a critter to behave contrary to their nature will have a bad outcome. That includes humans, but that is another discussion.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Your cat loves you and wants to give you presents. That is a lot better than hating you and trying to take your face off when you sleep at night. My uncle had a cat that was like that, they couldn’t leave their bedroom doors open if they didn’t want to wake up with a paw full of pointy ends raking their faces.

gailcalled's avatar

Interesting. I find the bodies all over, but they are always dead. (with just a little piece missing). One summer Milo brought me over 50 corpses. Maybe they succumbed to heart failure.

But, sorry. I have no creative suggestions. In fact, I have no suggestions of any kind.

marinelife's avatar

Sorry, it’s instinct. We had a hilarious (in hindsight) time when our cat let go a live bird in the living room.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@all Ahh figured as much, was just wondering if anyone else went through this and found a good solution.

@gailcalled I think Itzamna is a bit more sadistic than Milo lol. He likes to play with his prey for a while before dealing the coup de grâce. He usually just brings them inside in an injured state so he can chase them around my room easily lol.

@WestRiverrat This is true, though sometimes he loves me a bit too much, like when I’m sleeping and he decides to lay down on my face lol

Sunny2's avatar

We had a system for handling a live rat when the cat brought one in. He always took it into the dining room, where he’d let it go. The rat ran behind the upright piano in there. The cat would stand guard. Whoever came upon the situation would yell, “RAT!” My son would get the broom. My daughter would shut the two doors to the room and fold the drapes up off the floor. We would get two empty wastebaskets and a large piece of cardboard. We placed a wastebasket at each end of the piano. My husband would swish the broom behind the piano until the rat ran into one of the waste baskets which was held in place by a child. We would slide the cardboard over the opening of the wastebasket and tip the wastebasket up. Now we had a live rat in a waste basket. For a while we just let it go over the neighbor’s fence, but that didn’t seem a satisfactory solution. We got poison from the fire department (which was to kill any Norwegian, and common rat in the area) and put the poison in a terrarium. My husband would take the rat to the terrarium and, while one of us closed the cover slowly, he dumped the rat in. The cover was quickly closed completely. Next day, the rat would be dead and hero, Dad, would put it in the trash. End of problem for that day. We got pretty good as a team handling that emergency

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Sunny2 lol thats hilarious, I can picture the whole thing

WestRiverrat's avatar

There you go, if you have an entryway that you can isolate from the rest of the house, only let the cat in through that door and have all the other doors closed until you have checked for live presents.

It won’t eliminate the problem, but it should minimize the carnage to the rest of the house.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@WestRiverrat yeaaa, the entry way is through my room lol.

ragingloli's avatar

You can cut your food bill. Make sure to cook it thoroughly.

Mariah's avatar

There’s something I’ve heard of recently called a cat bib. Google it, supposedly it works.

Adagio's avatar

@Sunny2 “any Norwegian…” , that’s a bit radical isn’t it?

Buttonstc's avatar

Are you familiar with the old term “belling the cat” ?

If you just attach a small jingle bell to your cat’s collar, he will not likely be as successful at catching the critters but will still have the fun of the hunt.

(Just make sure that it’s a “breakaway” type of collar to prevent him getting snagged on branches.)

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Buttonstc We did that with our momma cat, she would pick the pea out of the bell so it didn’t make any noise. The tom didn’t care about the bell at all, he let it jingle yet he could catch nearly as many critters as the momma cat.

She got so she could pick the pea out almost as fast as it took my mom to put the new collar on her.

Unbroken's avatar

I have this problem with my cat, she loved playing with the critters, especially the birds. Birds if you didn’t know were much more entertaining then voles don’t you know.. Just wait until your cat brings home a rabbit : P.

So from observance this only happens when I don’t have a roommate with pets. A bird was the funnest for her. I hate the mess birds make so I haven’t tried it. But I thought a gerbil or a hamster might not be too bad if it had a see through self contained unit and I could bring it out and supervise when there and hopefully instill playmate.

Unbroken's avatar

Now I always just check her at the door.

glacial's avatar

Keep him inside, or put a bell on him. Cats kill a lot more often than you may realize.

gailcalled's avatar

I consider that we have two separate issues chez moi. One is the corpus undelecti that is lying on the floor waiting for me…mice, voles and an occasional bird, all very dead.

And the other is the chase that occurs usually in my family room in the basement. Milo does treat the mouse as a plaything…lots of batting around and stalking and sudden incursions followed by short rests.

@Uberbatman; our bedtime routine never varies. I lie in bed on my back, partly propped up on a pillow and read. Milo lies on my chest with his whiskers peeking around behind the book. When I put the book down, M reverses directions so I have his butt and tail waving under my nose. I make several adjustments to him and me, he gets cranky and whops me a few times and then we settle down. I roll onto my side and M. finds a warm and inconvenient place next to my flank. I fall asleep and invariably roll over onto him during the night.

Sunny2's avatar

@Adagio Norwegian rats are simply the variety of rat we find commonly in this area. I’m of Norwegian ancestry, but it never occurred to me it would be taken in the way you suggest. German measles is not a slur. Nor are Japanese beetles. etc.

cazzie's avatar

I live in Norway and we just call a rat ‘a rat’ here (or to be more precise, rotte). Isn’t that funny? Sort of like the Chinese probably just call it food.

As for cats and their murderous nature, I refer to my good friend on this website:

El_Cadejo's avatar

@cazzie glacial posted the same link 3 answers up :P

bookish1's avatar

Your cat thinks you are not capable of feeding yourself. It is up to you to prove otherwise.

jazmina88's avatar

My cat and my old dog used to catch me stuff. mice, moles, bunnies, squirrels. I used to lock the cat in the bathroom and scream for a few minutes.

But they dont stop when they see good prey

gailcalled's avatar

@jazmina88: You were clearly provided the final act of the drama…the metaphorical equivalent to the fat lady singing. Your animals by then were eating popcorn and applauding.

Seek's avatar

I always felt honoured when MamaCat brought me gifts, even more so when she brought me something alive.

“Here, this is for you! And look, you can even kill it yourself! They’re best when they’re wriggling!”

Aww.. thanks, MamaCat.

deni's avatar

Like everyone else said I don’t think you can let him outside (which you should) and prevent him from getting you gifts. Seriously, just be happy about it and deal with the little critters running around. Cause here’s the other side of the story. My fat, toothless, clawless, indoor cat, is so apathetic about everything I couldn’t even get him to pay attention to a mouse we had in the cupboard once. Spiders, doesn’t give a fuck. He’d rather sleep. And instead of cleaning up a mouse inside every once in a while, I clean up his vomit on a semi-daily basis, since he has a sensitive stomach. In fact I was woken out of a dead sleep last night to him vomiting, three times. So, just be happy with what you have. lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

Itzamna decided to bring a mouse into my bed this morning. What a wonderful way to wake up – _ – lol

I just need to train my cat to be a more effiecient killer lol

gailcalled's avatar

@uberbatman: Alive, dead, half-dead or undead?

Unbroken's avatar

Just wait until you wake up to find animals disemboweled on your pillow.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@gailcalled somewhere in the nether world between life and death. At first it looked dead then it got up and ran lol

It was fun waking up from a dead sleep to try and catch a mouse while my fiancé screamed at it lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

@cazzie and @glacial I love/hate you guys for posting that comic here. I’ve done nothing for the last hour and a half but go through that site. I got papers to write and such but none of that really seems to matter right now :P

El_Cadejo's avatar

I just came across this one and couldn’t help but think of you @gailcalled

glacial's avatar

@uberbatman Then whatever you do, don’t go here.

gailcalled's avatar

@uberbatman: And I can say the same about you. I love/hate you for posting that comic here. I’ve done nothing for the last hour and a half but go through that site.

I just bookmarked “The Oatmeal.”

rojo's avatar

Tie a string around his testicles and step on it every time he tries to leave yot. He will tire of this game soon enough and possibly stop coming home altogether.

Buttonstc's avatar

You mentioned teaching him how to be a more efficient killer. I really don’t think that’s the problem here.

He’s perfectly capable of killing a mouse with one quick bite to the neck anytime he wants to.

The problem is he doesn’t think that you are. If you’ve ever watched adult cats with a litter of kittens (either in a documentary or real life) at a certain age, you’ll see them doing the exact same thing. Most times it’s the Mama cat but Toms have been known to help out also.

They stun the mouse and then bring it back to the kittens as an object lesson. Obviously the first few times the kittens just see it as a toy and the mouse starts to run away. But sometimes the mouse is recaptured by the parent cat and dispatched with that efficient neck bite and eventually the kittens put two and two together as hey discover the practical use for their hardwired instinctual play moves.

If you’ve watched kittens playing together you’ll see them doing the neck bite thing (obviously not with killing force)

But, it’s as much a part of their instinctual moves as the stalking hiding and pouncing (and even the little butt wiggle immediately prior to the pounce :)

So, I guess your cat regards you as kind of a “slow learner” in the killing dept. So he keeps bringing you more object lessons :D

There was a really great documentary film a few years go where they also used night vision lenses to capture cats hunting their prey at night.

They also showed several groups of barnyard cats and their litters of kittens at various ages and followed their lives.

It was really fascinating as it showed most of what I’ve described above; I wish I could remember it’s name.

Anyhow, perhaps if you learn that neck bite thing and kill a few of the critters he brings you, he might be able to relax a little and realize that you can fend for yourself so he no longer needs to “provide for you.”

So, get to work practicing that neck bite thingie.


Seek's avatar

@glacial I LOVE her! I’m so sad she hasn’t written in forever!

glacial's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I know! I hope she is doing ok.

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo here; Speaking of being a slow learner, Gail (finally) caught her own mouse this morning in the Havahart. Now I can relax and return to my novel, which is almost finished.

She was, of course, setting the trap wrong, no matter how often I explained.

What’s a good reward for her…delicious, not too expensive and re-enforcing?

kitszu's avatar

Would you prefer live ones?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@kitszu did you mean, would I prefer dead ones? In which case the answer would be a big ol YES. Dead ones are easily discarded, live ones I have to chase lol.

gailcalled's avatar

@uberbatman: Thought of you this morning. In prep for a dump run, I had left a large empty bag that had contained cat food in the back seat of my car. There must have been a few dried crumbs left. Clear and annoying evidence of mice attacks.

So, either I lock Milo in the car overnight (probably not a good idea), or I reset and install Havaharts.

glacial's avatar

@gailcalled I laughed at the idea of putting Milo in your car overnight – but maybe that’s not such a bad idea… it would thoroughly infuse the car with “cat odour”, at least to a mouse’s nose. Might work as a deterrent for some time. And maybe he would appreciate a new place to explore for a night?

gailcalled's avatar

@glacial: All that delicious, unscratched upholstery…who wouldn’t love that?

My Subaru service guys suggested that I leave a few cotton balls saturated in concentrated peppermint oil around, but I was almost asphixiated after having deposit ed one in the glove compartment and one in the back seat cup holder.

I have a friend with three springer spaniels who go everywhere in hs car and have left it so filled with hair, slobber, and shredded upholstery that I will no longer drive in it. We always take my car…but the mice never get into his.

kitszu's avatar

@uberbatman Yes, I meant “dead” but I think it was a freudian slip. Between the two, I honestly prefer the live gifts, lol. It’s less messy that way.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@gailcalled I’d just throw some of milo’s toys om your car to try and get the cat scent in there to scare the mice away, at least thats what I’d attempt.

@kitszu You say that, but try having a live chipmunk dropped at your feet in your room. Tell me its less of a mess after you get down catching the damn critter again. I’d much rather deal with cleaning up a little blood even though there really isn’t ever any, even with the dead gifts. Usually what it boils down to is this, “hmmm well, the cat has all his rabies shots, but I don’t have mine, so this is really going to suck bug time if this critter ends up scratching/biting me.”

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