Why Do Cats Take Things?

Yesterday I wrote about the klepto cat. Some of you might have been surprised to learn that there is such a cat. Some of you are quite aware because your tabby, calico, or tortie trots off with an earring while you’re getting ready for work, or bats your toothpaste lid off the counter and under a cabinet, or pulls socks out of your drawer and scurries off with them. What makes them do that?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

According to cat behaviorists and others experts, there are several possible reasons. Among them are:

  • The cat wants attention.
  • He’s bored.
  • He simply wants to play.
  • It’s his predatory nature.
  • He’s stressed.

In our household, it seems to be a mix of these things. As I write this morning, Lily is batting around the end of a plastic straw I snipped off. She’s playing, but keeps engaging me—wants my attention. Every few minutes, she pushes the object under a little table and then stares at me until I dig it out for her.

Max loves to push my pen off my desk—he seems to do it for spite. “You won’t pet me right now, so I’m going to do something to get your attention.”

I also see Lily’s predatory instincts working when she brings me her toy armadillo or her baby possum toy or one of her tiny stuffed bears. She has never had the opportunity to go hunting, but it appears the instinct is a strong part of her DNA. Her stuffed toys and even some of her wand toys are always under foot. I put them in her toy basket in order to vacuum and thirty minutes later, they’re strewn all over the house again.

marmaladeremodel-004Sophie likes paper—she’s a shredder. When she was quite young, she figured out that when the fax machine made certain noises, it would soon spit out a fresh piece of paper. She’d rush into my office and wait for it, then grab it and promptly shred it.

The klepto cats who get the most attention, however, are those who are allowed outside to roam the neighborhood and who come home night after night with other people’s belongings. What possesses them to walk into someone’s yard and pick up a flip-flop, a bathing suit, or a baseball cap and carry the awkward thing home? Predatory instincts? Boredom? I suppose the cat gets a lot of attention when his family gets up each morning and discovers his stash. Maybe the cat is simply a good networker and he’s trying to bring folks together. Some owners of cat burglars spend their weekends wandering the neighborhood trying to return the items taken. And as one man said after his cat came home with a package of Viagra and a tube of jock itch medicine, “You certainly get to know something about your neighbors when you have a klepto cat.”

If the klepto cat concept fascinates you, you might be interested in reading my Klepto Cat Mysteries. Rags, an ordinary cat with an extraordinary habit keeps things lively in the Ivey household. Learn more here: http://amzn.to/1kAI8I2

Love the Klepto Cat Mystery book covers? They’re originals from Bernadette Kazmarski. You can order note cards with three of the covers. Great for sending notes of appreciation and other greetings and they make lovely gifts. https://matilijapress.com/shop/product/klepto-cat-mystery-note-cards


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