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Why does my cat bring toys to bed?

Felines are a fantastic species, no matter what breed. As human beings, no one cat is the same or has the same makeup. Cats are amazing to watch and study. While you can train a cat in various areas, it is a difficult task. You cannot teach a cat as efficiently or successfully as most dog breeds.

Cats come when you call their name if they want to come. Cats only do what they want to do. Cats are regimented and routine orientated. If a cat likes to bring toys to certain areas of the home, this is what they will continue to do, and there is no teaching them otherwise. If you stop and think about it, cats train their owner to accept what they want to do or go. 

Why Does My Cat Bring Toys to Bed? 

Typically speaking, cats sleep about 18 hours a day even though they are nocturnal animals, meaning it is normal for a cat to be up all night wandering the house and playing. I have six cats. Four of our cats sleep through the night, and two of our cats wander the house, get into toys, and keep themselves busy. By the time we get up in the morning, most are ready to nap until early afternoon.

It is rare if I ever see any of our cats carry toys from one place to another. They will chase toys from room to room. However, as I research why cats bring toys to bed, many cat owners have this problem and wonder why. I personally cannot relate. I can understand a dog acting in this manner, but not a cat. However, maybe this is why I find so many toys under our furniture. Toys do not get there on their own. 

If some of our cats have no interest in toys, they play with large cat toys such as nylon and feather cat bags that they can crawl into or scratching posts. One of our cats, Willow, enjoys putting her toys in her water dish. Her choice of toys is her catnip bags or Q-Tips. Before I find out what she has done, the drinking water is green from the catnip with a few (new) Q-Tips floating on the top. I cannot break her from doing this as it is one of her favorite pastimes. She loves to carry Q-Tips around the house, so I let her continue.

I was surprised to read about how many cat owners have cats that carry toys around or deposit their toys on their human’s bed during the night. We never experienced this action with any cat over the last 30 years.

Cats and humans are usually not on the same schedule. People are not ordinarily nocturnal like cats, and they want to sleep at least eight hours every night. It can become a problem when your cat takes toys into your bed during the night and you want to sleep. 

Cats are natural hunters inside and outside the home. If your cat brings you toys during the night and meows, the cat may think it is time to play or hunt. If you have only one cat, your cat can become bored and looks to you to fill the void. I always felt that you should have at least two if you want a cat. Hopefully, these two cats become good friends, play together, and keep each other busy. 

Cats are brilliant. For example, some cat owners find their cat bringing a broken toy to them during the night because it is their favorite toy, and you need to fix it. Nighttime is when your cat is most active, and your cat cannot understand why you are not up and about. Some cats believe that you will get up and play if they bring toys to you during the night. Most cat owners think that cats bring toys to bed strictly for attention and to draw you into play.  

This action is standard practice for a cat, and there is no reason to be concerned. It is not unusual for a cat to carry a favorite toy while following you around the house during the day. Your cat is trying to get your attention to play with them. Give your cat the attention they deserve even if it is not an ideal time for you; at least acknowledge your cat’s efforts. 

Our cats have two baskets full of toys, yet most show little interest in these toys. One basket is filled with catnip pillows. Before bed, I sprinkle catnip over the pillows and tip the basket on its side so our cats can get the pillows out quickly. This seems to keep some of them busy for a while. Cats become easily bored. At night, when it is time for you to sleep, your cat is wide awake, active, and energetic, ready for attention and play. 

If your cat’s favorite thing to do is watching, make sure they have a tall cat tree set in front of a window. Our cats enjoy watching activities outside. While your cat cannot see well outside at night, they do have a prime sitting spot to monitor what is going on in the house at night.

I see that the majority of cat owners believe their cat brings them toys at night while they are sleeping because,

  • Their cat wants to show off its trophy
  • Their cat is eager to share its ability to hunt and wants them to hunt with them and play. 
  • Their favorite toy is broken and needs fixing. 

If the cat cannot go outside to hunt, they want to chase and catch their favorite toys and bring them to you.

Why Does My Cat Leave Things On My Bed? 

Cat owners and researchers devoted to the care of cats and studying feline behavior can, at best, agree to disagree on why cats leave things on their owner’s bed. I believe that no one knows for sure, since our cats cannot talk, and we cannot read the minds of our cats, all we can do is assume that what we believe is true. If your cat responds positively to your response, you may have hit the nail on the head. The critical thing to remember is to never punish or become angry with your cat for activities that your cat feels are normal. 

Look at it this way. You may have a safe for your valuables. Your cat has your bed to place its valuables, to keep them safe and sound. You should feel honored that your cat trusts you this much. When your cat brings you toys and other things and leaves them on your bed, your cat is trying to convey to you that they like you and they trust you to take care of their favorite toys. 

Many cat owners believe that their cat does this for attention or shows them that they can hunt. Others believe that their cats want them to wake up and play. Nighttime for many cats is playtime, and the cat cannot relate to why their human is asleep.

If you share your bed with your spouse and your cat places their toys on your spouse’s side of the bed, it is believed that your cat likes that person better and thinks that this is the safest side of the bed to place their treasured possessions. 

What do Other Cat Parents Think When Their Cat Leaves Toys on Their Bed?

  • The cat is showing you that they are hunters.
  • The cat is trying to teach you how to hunt.
  • The cat wants to grace you with gifts, so they put their favorite toys on your bed.
  • Your cat puts their favorite toys where their favorite human lays.
  • Your cat contributes to the household by giving you gifts such as rodents, bugs, birds, and more and laying them on your bed, at the door, or on your porch.
  • Your cat is trying to earn its place in the household.
  • Your cat is showing off its talents.

No matter what you find on your bed, please do not punish your kitty because what they are doing is perfectly normal in their eyes. Your kitty is doing kitty things. After all, there are plenty of odd and weird things you probably do that your kitty cannot understand. Cats are excellent teachers, and sometimes they try to teach their owners valuable lessons. Praise your cats frequently for their efforts, even if you cannot understand the reasoning behind what they do. 

If your cat goes to all the trouble to deliver their favorite toys to your bed, trying to tell you how much they appreciate you, you need to praise their efforts. And, perhaps you need to spend more time during your waking hours playing with your cat. Playtime only takes a few minutes out of your busy day.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Bringing Toys to Bed?

As a suggestion, you could consider purchasing an automated toy that operates on batteries. Set the toy loose when you go to bed. We found a battery-operated raccoon cat toy. This toy turned and twisted all over the floor while our cats sat and watched it get stuck under the couch. I was forever doing a belly flop to shimmy under the sofa to get that darn raccoon while it continued to twist and turn, bumping into the sides of the couch. By the time I got this toy out, my cats were gone. They got bored and walked away, while Mr. Raccoon continued to spin out of control. This did not work for our cats well and, in my opinion, was a waste of money. Perhaps your cats will accept an automated toy to help keep them busy at night. It may be worth a try.

It is too bad that this action by your cat annoys you so much that you feel you need to do something to stop them. It is best to allow your cat to do what they do best. The cat is not hurting anything through this habit of bringing toys to your bed at night. Why not stop worrying about this and allow them to continue in their routine? Perhaps your cat eventually understands that this is your sleeping time and not playtime when you do not want to respond.