Cats are full of mysterious and confusing behavior. Sometimes, it seems impossible to know what’s going through their heads. And if your cat is constantly dropping a toy at your feet, you might struggle to figure out why. But cats don’t have to be a closed book—in fact, if you can get into their point of view their behaviors will make sense.
The problem is that sometimes the same outward behaviors have different roots, and without language to clarify you’ll have to look to other sources. Figuring out why exactly your cat is bringing you toys might require some trial and error, but knowing the major reasons cats do this can help you get an insight into their brains.
The 6 Reasons Why Your Cat Brings You Toys
1. They Are Asking to Play
One of the most common reasons your cat might bring you a toy is because they want to play! Cats may have a reputation for being loners, but they still need social time, and they love shared playtime. If your cat is lonely or wants some time with you one on one, it’s normal for them to “suggest” a toy to play with. You can often tell from your cat’s body language when they are excited for playtime.
2. The Toy Is Broken
It’s also possible that your cat is bringing you a favorite toy because there’s something wrong with it. If your cat brings you a toy that is damaged or broken, it’s possible they think you can fix it. Whether that means replacing batteries, spraying it with catnip, or replacing a torn toy with a new one, your “fix it” skills are sure to impress your cat! You can tell if your cat is disappointed about a broken toy if their body language suggests they are downcast, not proud or excited.
3. To Show Off Hunting Skills
On the other hand, sometimes cats take you toys—broken or not—to show off. To cats, chasing and playing with toys is a proxy for hunting. Your cat’s careful stalking of a catnip mouse paid off—in fact, the mouse didn’t even know what was coming for it! If your cat’s playtime ended in a successful “kill” of a toy, they might come to you to show it off.
Even though it seems silly to us to get so excited about a pretend toy, to your cat the hunt was a perfect display of all their best skills and instincts. And they deserve congratulations—especially since there were no living animals harmed in their hunt.
4. As A Sign of Trust
Cats can also share toys to show you how much they trust and love you. Cats sometimes get attached to specific toys, carrying them around like a kid with a teddy bear and snuggling up to them. These toys become your cat’s prized possessions, and they wouldn’t leave that toy just anywhere. A gift of a treasured toy might be a way for your cat to show that it trusts you to take care of it.
5. As a Gift to Show Love
Some cats also give regular gifts that seem to be purely symbols of affection. They might notice that you’re happy to receive a specific gift, or they might give something that they value instead. These gifts can come in the form of toys, fallen food, or other bits and pieces that your cat thinks you’ll appreciate. Some cats are even known to give gifts like fallen flowers to their owners because they notice that their owner has a positive reaction to it!
6. They’re Sharing Their “Catch”
A final reason why your cat might give you a toy is that they are driven to share their “catch” for the day. In the wild, mother cats will share their prey with kittens, and sometimes adult cats share with one another as well. Your cat might be worried that you will never catch any catnip mice for yourself, or they might be reciprocating since you feed them every day. Either way, they’re taking on a provider role in their mind and showing you that you’re a part of their family.
Toy sharing is a normal cat behavior, and every cat is different. There’s not one reason that your cat is bringing you a toy, but each of the reasons your cat might share is built on a feeling of love, trust, and care. Whether your cat thinks you have the power to fix a torn open ball or wants to share its biggest accomplishments with you, it’s a big compliment to you!