Monday, February 3, 2020


BY Mary Kennedy                                          

This is Calpurnia, looking rather somber at the question.  Does she look guilty, ashamed, or maybe just thoughtful?  She reminded me that the last time I asked about weird cat behavior I implied that the cat in question was clinically insane. (and yes, she found this suggestion offensive!) Her siblings are off somewhere sleeping and couldn't be bothered to join the discussion.

Since many of us have and love cats, I thought I'd reveal an odd behavior. When I buy my cats new catnip mice they invariably drown them in their water dish. Eww. Why, I wondered.


I've tried to come up with an explanation and have talked to some cat behaviorists. My own theory is that "nature is cruel," but here's what the experts say. 

1. It's instinct to hide prey. Since cats don't have a den or lair to drag their prey back to, they bring it back to somewhere they know is theirs--the water dish. They figure it will be safe there.

2.Another possibility is that it's gathering or collecting behavior. Just like mother cats collect their kittens and bring them back to the nest. 


3. Some experts believe that cats do this to remove the scent of their prey. They don't want their prey to be stolen by other predators. 


Whatever the reason, this is probably one of those cat behaviors we will never understand! After all, who can understand the mind of a cat? 


Tonette Joyce said...

Maybe she thinks that she's a raccoon? Purrhaps she's making a catnip nip? I quit trying to figure cats out long ago! I have had them all of my life, from geniuses to dense-as-they-come and all shades of gray matter in-between and not one of them always behaved as expected all of the time.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Very true,Tonette! Calpurnia is an unusual cat and it's taken her several years to really warm up to me. Rescued from the backyard with her mother and she was already at least 4 months old, past the window when it's easy to socialize them. She's a sweet cat, though. Thanks for stopping by!

catladymac said...

Cats tend to get their catnip toys wildly damp when they play - maybe this is just another way of bringing out the flavor - or squeezing one more cup out of the teabag.