why does my male cat meow with a toy in his mouth?
Behavioral Problems

Why Does My Cat Bring Me Toys and Meow?

Your cat brings over its favorite toy and meows loudly and continuously. When this happens late at night when you’re sleeping, it can start to become a problem. In dogs, this behavior has a clear explanation; it wants to play fetch. Since cats rarely fetch, this behavior can leave their owners feeling really confused.

If your cat brings you a toy and meows, it may be teaching you how to hunt. It expects you to finish off the prey and learn to better provide for yourself. Alternatively, the cat is trying to show off its own kill as a trophy you should appreciate. If your cat is bored, kept as a solo cat, or tightly bonded with you, it might be asking you to play with it. In some cases, cats bring their owners’ broken toys with the intention of getting them fixed or replaced.

You shouldn’t be concerned if your cat brings you its favored toys and starts meowing. It’s not a sign of pain, discomfort, or behavioral issues. In fact, the cat is likely to be more interested in getting your attention.

What Does It Mean When a Cat Brings Me a Toy and Meows?

It’s not uncommon for cats to spend several minutes each day playing with their favorite toys. They usually keep to themselves, batting around feathers or chasing bells. Because of that, it seems very unusual when the cat stops playing, picks up its toy, brings it to you, and expectantly meows.

In some cases, your cat will even follow you around the house, creating muffled calls through the toy in its mouth. Since adult cats don’t meow at other cats, you can be sure the noise is reserved just for you. It’s often used as a way to catch our attention. That’s odd, though, if your cat seems to be drawn in two directions:

  • Demanding your undivided attention
  • Playing by itself

What exactly does this mean? Here are some possible explanations:

Teaching You How to Hunt

If your cat presents you with its toys and is meowing, take it as a sign of endearment. It likely views you as a beloved, albeit inexperienced, kitten that does not yet know how to hunt.

Although fluffy and precious, cats are still natural hunters. Mother cats often present their young with injured or weakened prey to teach them how to hunt. The female will expect her offspring to deliver the finishing blow.

By doing so, the kittens will become more experienced in what prey smell like, look like, and how to finish them off. This will help the offspring become skilled hunters in their own right.

Of course, your cat’s toy isn’t edible, and the cat may understand that it’s not a perfect lesson. However, the toy still puts up a fight, making it a good, teachable moment for you. As far as the cat is concerned, it has brought you prey, meowed to get your attention, and expects you to fulfill your role as a student.

You don’t necessarily have to respond to this behavior in any way. However, you should avoid scolding your cat for doing this. After all, it’s better for it to bring you a toy rather than a dead mouse at two in the morning.

Wanting to Play

Your cat might bring you toys and meow because it wants to play. Cats are energetic creatures that require some amount of stimulation each day. While plenty of cats are satisfied to play with toys independently, they may occasionally get an urge to play with others.

This habit is seen more commonly in dogs, and not all cats will bring a toy and meow. In fact, most will opt for creating their own entertainment if you’re not eagerly engaging them. If cats do ask for playtime, they often use broad strokes. This may include sitting on your keyboard, so you have no other choice but to acknowledge them.

However, that’s not true for all cats. Those closely bonded with their owners kept as the sole cat in the house or extremely bored may pick up the habit. It’s a good sign. If your cat is willing to deliver its favorite toy and politely tells you it’s time for playing, then it’s well-behaved and trusting.

Owners shouldn’t avoid this gesture. Playing with your cat is a great way to build trust and deepen your bond with it. Since cats have short bursts of energy between leisurely naps, a couple of minutes should do it.

Expressing Affection

Cats sometimes bring their owners toys and meows because they want to express affection. Felines tend to be very possessive of their favorite toys. If they are presenting you with theirs, odds are, they trust you. This can make the behavior quite a flattering gesture.

If your cat comes up to you and meows with its favorite toy in tow, you should respond with your own affection. Try petting or scratching it on its favorite spot.

Showing off Their Trophy

Cats can be showboats, especially when it comes to their hunting prowess. Your cat may believe it has successfully hunted the toy and now wishes to show off its trophy to you.

Even in house cats, their innate prey-drive urges them to hunt any critters that dare to enter your home. If a bell-toy rolls a little too quickly, this will engage that instinct, and your cat will react accordingly. Afterward, your cat will feel proud of its achievement, even if it can’t eat the toy.

In fact, the act of hunting can be fulfilling for cats, even if their prey isn’t a living creature. You’ll find this is most common with new toys, as the cat may not recognize it as just another object it can play with. It’s a new intruder, and it just conquered it. You should praise your cat and offer head pats when it drops its trophy by your feet.

why does my cat carry toys and meow?

Presenting a Damaged Toy

In some cases, your cat may bring you a toy that has been damaged or is no longer fun to play with. For example, it may present you with a stuffed mouse that has been punctured or has lost most of its stuffing. Similarly, your pet may drop a catnip toy by your feet when it has run out of that enticing herb.

In this case, you should respond by repairing or replacing the toy. If it’s catnip, you should refill it with an appropriate amount.

Cat Carries Toys And Meows At Night

When night falls, you may find that your cat is even more willing to bug you with its toys and meowing. It’s difficult to figure out “why does my cat carry a toy and meow?” full stop. That’s even harder if you’re winding down for the evening.

In fact, your cat may awaken you at all hours with a toy and its incessant meowing. This is because cats are more active at night. As a result of having more energy and alertness, your cat will be extra eager to:

  • Show off its trophy
  • Teach you to hunt
  • Wear down a toy to the point where it needs replacement or repair

According to People and Nature, domesticated house cats enjoy hunting at night and will take any opportunity to do so. However, if the cat is confined indoors at night, they may satisfy their hunting urges by pretending their favorite toy is prey. As such, while the timing is more inconvenient, the reasons behind this behavior are the same.

Why Do Cats Bring Me Toys While I’m Sleeping?

Occasionally, it will seem like your cat waits until you’re asleep before offering up its toy. This is usually because:

  • The cat sees you aren’t busy, and it’s therefore easier to demand your full attention
  • The cat’s peak hunting hours coincide with your prime sleeping hours
  • The cat is lonely when you’re asleep and wants to show affection

If you’ve already been woken up, it’s easy to give in. Congratulating your cat on a good hunt with some petting, or refilling its catnip toy, may seem like a good idea. However, this practice will encourage the cat to do it again. Therefore, it is best to ignore your cat until morning.

Cat Is Obsessed With a Toy

According to Animals, the majority of domestic cats enjoy playing with toys. However, unlike dogs or birds, a cat’s play drive is connected to its hunting drive. Cats often treat their toys as prey they wish to capture and kill.

While some cats enjoy chasing or rolling a ball around, most prefer to play with toys that resemble prey. This may include mice, birds, or snakes. If your cat regularly brings these to you and meows, it can feel like an obsession.

The good news is, you don’t need to worry about such behavior. Some cats take a liking to a particular toy. Perhaps they find it to be more stimulating or challenging to play with than other ones. Alternatively, the toy may remind them of a critter they hunted in the past.

Toy obsessions do not last long. After all, cats are curious creatures that shift their attention to other activities once their interest has been satisfied. Unfortunately, this also means you will need to buy your cat new toys once it gets bored with its current ones.

Why Does My Cat Yowl And Bring Me Toys?

Some owners may notice their cats yowling and bringing them toys. Yowling is a special type of call that is distinct from ordinary meowing. Many describe this sound as long-drawn and melodic. Cats usually yowl when they are trying to get their owners’ attention. This includes when they are:

  • Hungry
  • Seeking affection
  • Experiencing pain

If your cat yowls while holding a toy in its mouth, it’s likely demanding your attention, not just asking for it. Ignoring the cat will make it more likely to yowl in the future. It may also be very impatient about how quickly its catnip toy is refilled, or it could be complaining that its toy isn’t edible.

why does my cat meow at night and bring me toys?

What if I Don’t Want to Play With My Cat?

If you believe your cat is bringing you toys because it’s eager to play, you can try getting automated cat toys that run on batteries. These devices keep your cat engaged without you needing to be around. You can find these in pet stores or online. Robotic ones that scurry around the floor are ideal.

Such toys are great for owners with busy lives who can’t find enough time to play with their cats. However, cats are very selective about which toys they enjoy playing with. You should think twice before spending lots of money on an automated cat toy, as it may get rejected.

What If My Cat Has Stopped Bringing Me Toys?

If your cat has been presenting you with its toys for many years, you may be concerned when it stops doing so. The truth is, a cat’s play drive wanes as it gets older.

After a certain age, it may no longer possess the urge to bring you trophies or teach you to hunt. That doesn’t mean your feline friend isn’t still looking for care and affection. You can find new ways of keeping your pet entertained.

There is no need to be concerned if your cat is bringing you toys and meowing. Cats do this because they want attention or affection from their owners. You can choose to respond to the behavior, but there’s no harm in ignoring the cat sometimes. This can be especially true if it’s coming to you when you are sleeping at night.