A couple of weeks ago, we explored why cats bring their humans gifts. There are a lot of different theories, ranging from cats believing that humans are such poor hunters that they need help to thanking humans for providing a home and food for them. Please read Why Does Your Cat Bring You Gifts for more information. A lot of you shared your cats’ gift giving behavior in the comments, so today, I’d like to tell you about Allegra and her special toy.
Her special toy is not fancy. It’s an ancient olive green and tan suede mouse that was given to her by a friend when I first adopted her in 2010. The mouse lost its tail somewhere along the way.
She picks it up and carries it around the house, chirping and singing and sometimes yowling. It sounds a bit plaintive, a sad little cry, as if she had lost something. The first time I heard it, I thought she’d hurt herself! As soon as I look for her when she does this, she drops the toy and stops, which is why I haven’t been able to get a video of her with the toy.
Almost every morning, I find her special toy in the bedroom, even though it doesn’t “live” there during the day. Some mornings, I find it under the covers. I have never heard her bring it during the night. I’m a relatively light sleeper, but apparently not so light that her chirping, singing and yowling wakes me up – or perhaps, she is considerate enough to bring the toy quietly at night?
Interestingly, she’s only considered that suede mouse “special” for the last five or six years. Before then, she had a different “baby” – an ancient toy that actually belonged to Feebee, who passed away in 2000. She dug that out of the toy basket one day, and apparently decided that it was going to be her “baby.” It’s a soft, plush little stuffed mitten with a tail that has a pompon at the end. Then one day, she lost interest in that toy and the green suede mouse became her baby.
She never actually plays with these toys, but yet, they’re clearly very special to her.
Amber had her own version of a special toy: a green and tan fuzzy mouse that I got for her when she first came to live with me. For the entire ten years that she was with me, that mouse was her special “baby.” Like Allegra, she’d pick it up, carry it around the house, crying and yowling. Amber would often sleep with her “baby,” something I rarely see Allegra do.
What’s really interesting to me is that Ruby won’t ever touch Allegra’s “baby.” Ruby considers every other toy in our house hers – but yet, she hasn’t once played with Allegra’s suede mouse. This was also the case with Amber’s green and tan mouse. Even though Buckley was already a senior when she came to live with us, she still liked to play, but she never once touched Amber’s special toy. When Allegra joined Amber and me as a 7-month-old kitten who would go after anything that moved, she never once played with Amber’s special mouse.
I asked Allegra to tell you about her special toy, but she declined. She said some things aren’t meant to be explained to humans.