Cats are fascinating creatures. While we know and love them as pets who mostly lie around the house being goofy, deep down they still have the instincts of a predator.
As many cat owners can attest, these traits show up in the form of a rather gross habit: gifting dead animals.
They’re just following their natural instinct to hunt and provide food for their family—in their mind, you’re just not very good at this, so they hope that dead mouse will help you get the hint.
But our cats’ well-intentioned hunting lessons don’t go over well: nobody wants dead birds all over their house.
It’s a problem a cat lover named Ben is very familiar with. An owner of several cats, he runs an Instagram page aptly titled @mostlyjustpicturesofmycats.
But one cat in particular holds a special place in his heart: Baloo, a tortie who he adopted from infancy.
“She’s a very loving cat,” he told Love Meow. “She will comfort me when I’m feeling down and will sit on my chest purring like mad and nuzzling my face with her nose.”
Ben knew Baloo cared about him—even though she had an inconvenient way of showing it.
“I’d wake up to her on my chest with something in her mouth which she would then drop on my face or chest, and then meow,” Ben told The Dodo.
“I don’t know if she expected me to think it was breakfast or that it was simply a gift.”
Sometimes the animal would still be alive, making Ben jump out of bed to shoo it out of the house.
It was clearly not the reaction Baloo was hoping for with her generous offering—and Ben couldn’t help feel a bit guilty.
“She always looked so confused and sad, which made me feel pretty bad.”
So one day, the kitty took the hint: no dead mice, no dead birds.
But she still wanted to get Ben a gift—but what could it be?
She went out into her usual hunting space (the backyard) and came back with a gift that she deemed perfect:
She used to bring me small birds and mice every morning. After a while it started getting a bit annoying having half dead animals dropped on your chest every morning. So I would moan at her and then throw her present out the window. She got the hint eventually and instead she would bring me the biggest leaf she could find each morning. She’d hop through the window and drop it on my chest every morning. Such a good kitty. #baloo #goodkitty #goodcat #cat #cats #catsofinstagram #tortie #toriecat #catoftheday #instacat #calico
For Ben, it was a pleasant surprise—he was touched by the cat’s thoughtfulness.
“They were always big, nice looking leaves,” Ben said. “It was such a relief from the live mice every morning.”
He made sure to show Baloo that this gift was definitely better-suited for him, lest she go back to animals.
“I would show my gratitude by taking the leaf and playing with it while she sat on my chest.”
And it worked: every day, Baloo would bring him a leaf (or sometimes switch it up with a twig or stick).
“Sometimes it was a small branch, sometimes it was a giant leaf,” he told Love Meow. “The image of opening my eyes to see my little kitty staring at me with a giant leaf in her mouth is so cute.”
He was also amused by the idea of his cat going out and deciding on just the right gift for him every morning:
“Just picturing her wandering around ‘oh that’s a nice leaf, he’ll love this one!’ ‘no this one’s far too similar to the one he’s already got.’
“It’s just too cute.”