Why does a loyal cat bring “gifts” to the grave of his deceased human companion? This the story of a handsome three year old rescue cat, Toldo – a tabby and white – who has got into the habit of bringing leaves, twigs, sticks and bit of rubbish to the the grave of Lozzelli Renzo, who died last September, about four months ago. The place is the town of Montagnana, Italy.
Lozzelli rescued Toldo. There was obviously a very close bond. Lozzelli loved cats and all animals. This is very touching story, which Marc, a regular contributor, picked out for me. Marc also mentions that his cat, Red, brought him leaves.
I suppose the thing to do with this beautiful but sad story is not to simply restated it but to try and figure out why Toldo is doing this.
It is unfair and wrong to interpret this behavior through the eyes of a human. We have to interpret it on the basis of pure cat behavior. That is common sense but more scientific and less sentimental.
The only time that a cat brings objects back to the den – the place where mother gives birth to and raises her young until they are independent – is when she brings prey back to feed her offspring and to teach them about prey and killing etc.
As for domestic cats we know that if the cat is a hunter he sometimes brings prey in to the home. This can be a repeat of what his mother taught him when he was a kitten. Cats do learn well by copying parents and relatives.
As for Toldo, my theory is that he is bringing “gifts” in a cat sense. These are gifts of prey, the nearest he can get to prey. It appears that Toldo has yet to accept that his human companion is dead. Toldo looks calm and settled in his endeavours judging by the pictures, which I presume were taken while he brought gifts to the grave.
Toldo apparently followed the funeral procession to the cemetery. That’s how he knows the place where his human companion is.
For me the behavior is about repeating what he was taught as a kitten and Toldo probably sees Lozzelli as his mother or father and is playing out what he was taught to do. The emotional bond is not yet broken due to the passage of time.
It does show another side to the close bond that can be formed between cat and human. I’d be interested if anyone has a better explanation.