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Gift-Bearing Cats

Does your cat bring you unique and exciting "gifts?"

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Tabby Cat on Trellis

Bubba, Bearer of Gifts

Franny Syufy

Cats bearing gifts are not uncommon. Some experts say that bringing a cat to a human companion is a form of nurturing, much as a mother cat will bring food to her kittens. Even male birds will feed their fledglings in their nests, running relays with the mother bird. While that explanation makes sense in many cases, I think the motivations of some cats go even deeper than that.

Bubba:

Of all the cats I've known and loved, I only recall two who have frequently brought me unique and exciting gifts. Bubba, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 18, regularly brought little presents into the house. They were always destined for me, for some reason or another. While these gifts could have been construed as food offerings, somehow I suspect there was another motive involved. You see, Bubba was very territorial when it came to his human, Asa. He was willing to tolerate me as long as I didn't overstep my bounds, such as trying to sleep between Asa and Bubba at night. Bubba's gifts were a mixed message, and included green baby snakes (both dead and alive), deposited next to my favorite stool at the kitchen counter. One morning at 3 a.m., when exiting the bed for a potty break, I stepped on a large, very stinkily dead catfish, dredged up from the riverbank which is our back yard. While snakes and catfish could qualify as meals from a generous provider, in Bubba's case, I suspect an ulterior motive: a Godfather-style warning to back off where his human was concerned.

One Thanksgiving, Bubba's gift to the family was more traditional. We were still seated at the table: the Syufys, including our adult children, my widowed Mom, and Asa's Mom and Step-Dad. Bubba appeared at the glass sliding door, dragging "something" between his front legs. It was a massive clump of water hyacinths, about nine inches in diameter and 18 inches long. It immediately put me in mind of The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and the squeals coming from the other women at the table verified that. He dropped the wet, smelly mess next to my chair at the foot of the table, as much as to say, "Dessert is served, milady." (Bubba was a hard act to follow.)

Lonely Girl, Jenny

My Jennifur (Jenny) is a lively, active young calico girl, who craves a playmate, preferably me. She apparently figured out that if she could offer me my choice of toys, I might be persuaded to spend all day playing with her. Unfortunately, at the current time, I must work in my upstairs office most of the day. Upstairs is "off-limits" to Jenny, not that she isn't allowed upstairs, but because it is the domain of her nemesis, Jaspurr, also Joey and Billy.

One day I heard a plaintive caterwauling coming from downstairs. I looked down from the balcony, and Jenny was standing next to one of my fuzzy slippers she had dragged out from the bedroom we share. Three other slippers have followed in its wake, along with an odd assortment of rolled-up socks, and stuffed toys. Note: none of the toys were those I had purchased as cat toys, but small Beanie Babies TM and other mementos and souvenirs. I have concluded that Jenny only needs my presence downstairs, as she is just as apt to play contentedly by herself, as long as she knows I am nearby.

Does your cat bring you gifts? What kind of message do you think s/he is giving you? Is your cat hungry for attention, or sending you a subliminal message that "you are not the boss of me, and don't forget it?" What kind of gifts does your cat bring you, and what is your usual reaction? Tell the world about your gift-bearing cat with your own page on this site.

Reader Stories: About Your Gift-Bearing Cats

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