Surely once your cat, after an afternoon of free will, has appeared on the porch of the house with a mouse between its teeth. His first prey from him! But after showing it to you carefully, far from killing it, it has laid it on the ground and has stayed for a while playing with it between its paws. You may find it funny and strange at the same time. Why are you so cruel, missifú?
Your animal is not a sadist, it is just an animal. This recreational behavior with their prey is characteristic of domestic cats or well-fed stray cats. Even with this, you will be surprised to learn the variety of reasons why cats play with mice before eating them (or not).
If your cat is just your pet and her main job is to keep you company and not to fight pests that may be stalking your home, she's more likely to gloat over mice after she's caught them. When humans domesticated cats, they did so to hunt rodents, birds, or insects that sapped the crops of agricultural societies.
A part of today's house cats keep this ancient role, although they are essentially fed with feed or with the leftovers of our food. Not for this reason our pets can give up their instinct and, if you have accustomed them to playing with rubber mice, why wouldn't they do it with a real one? Carnivorous animals need to fill their leisure time like no other, so by having their food needs covered, playing with their prey can become, in a way, their favorite entertainment.
Cat genetics, from their fangs to their claws, are not trivial. Mothers continue to teach their young to hunt and to recognize their potential prey, and even if they do not grow up with a reference point, they will keep this instinct active, since it is located in a different region of the brain than hunger.
From the age of six months, the cats will begin to run and jump from here to there, bite everything that gets in their way and chase the balls and toys that you have at home. All these exercises are part of your natural learning to train your speed, agility and flexibility. Therefore, do not doubt that, if he has the opportunity to go out into the field, he will end up capturing a real mouse or bird, even if he is not hungry at all.
When your cat comes proudly before your feet so that you can see the mouse it has hunted, it is not by chance. First, he is identifying you as part of his pack. And second, he's figured out that you don't know how to get food yourself, so your kitty is somehow trying to teach you how to hunt.