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Why do cats steal things?

 by bora on 30 Oct 2020 |
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Cats love to steal small objects, but what causes this penchant for pilfering? Here are a few reasons cats run off with your things.  

Most cat owners have a story of their feline friend stealing household objects such as socks, hair ties or paper balls. Cats are curious by nature and love to get their paws on these everyday objects as a way to get attention, initiate playtime or meet some other need. Though your feline’s affinity for walking away with objects is not a cause for concern, there are certain cases where Kitty’s kleptomania can be a problem. Here are some reasons your cat may be stealing: 

1. He is bored. Cats are natural hunters and though keeping Kitty indoors prolongs his life and protects the wildlife outside, an indoor lifestyle can be less than stimulating for domesticated cats. With less stimulation than they would normally get in the wild, housecats are left to their own devices to create new ways to keep their clever brains active, which can lead to stealing household objects. Try giving your pet plenty of playtime when you are home to relieve some of his pent-up energy. You may even want to consider getting him a companion animal to keep him entertained while you are away from home.

2. He wants attention. Another common cause behind cat stealing objects is to get you to notice him. Particularly if you are away from home for long hours, your pet may be dragging your slippers across the house to initiate some interaction. Though this can be frustrating, remember that he considers you part of his family and this call for attention is ultimately an act of affectionate. Be sure you are giving your pet a daily dose of affection and interactive playtime to help curb this attention-seeking behavior.

3. He is letting you know his needs. Cats will dash around the house with stolen objects when they want something from you. A cat who is hungry, for example, will sometimes act out to let you know he has a need. In the wild, cats tend to feed throughout the day, so stealing your sock is a common way Kitty lets you know his is in search of a snack. If your cat tends to chew on his pilfered objects, you may want to give him a food puzzle to help curb his cravings in an engaging way.

4. He is being territorial. Though less common, cats will sometime steal small objects to assert their “ownership” over them. Mother cats who have been separated from their kittens are also known to carry objects in their mouths as as they would carry small kittens in. display of maternal instinct. Kitty kleptomania is typically a harmless habit, but there are some cases where this should cause concern. Eating objects such as rubber bands can block his digestive system and is a serious cause for alarm. Other cases where feline pilfering should raise red flags include a marked change from your pet’s normal habits, as any significant behavioral shift can indicate underlying pain or illness. If, however, Kitty’s stealing habit is simply playful, you can counteract it by giving him plenty of attention and a stimulating environment with plenty of perches, toys and hiding spots. Reward good behavior such as dropping the stolen object if you wish to discourage stealing, as scolding your cat will only encourage him to continue by providing him the attention he is seeking.


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