Filching Felines

Denis The Cat Burglar

Denis the cat burglar bringing back a sponge?

He’s Denis the Menace. He’s a cat burglar of the real kind. He’s a knicker nicker. He’s a penny pincher. He’s a black and white cat. And his name is Denis. In fact he is a very nice looking bicolor cat with an interesting pattern on his face. He looks as innocent as the day he was born. And the truth is, he is innocent. He is just doing what he has to do as one of the world’s top predator.

The problem is that he gets mixed up between prey and pants. I almost forgot Denis lives in England, UK. I don’t think it is important because there are filching felines everywhere and anywhere but they are quite rare.

And, of course, he doesn’t have to kill anything to exercise his natural drives to hunt. He just pops next door and lifts someone’s thong! That’s a blessing. Phew..

Denis’s behavior is a bit embarrassing for Denis’s human companion, Mrs Newman. In a way this nice, fun cat story raises some serious questions. Denis is a cat that wants to express his desire to hunt. That seems to be the reason why he steals items belonging to neighbours. Rather than attacking prey and bringing it home as a way of teaching his offspring to hunt he prefers to take an inanimate item of some sort and bring that home to his human companion. This is a bit odd because he goes outside and therefore should be able to express his desire to hunt in a more natural way. Also it is usually the female cat who brings prey back to the den as a way of beginning the process of teaching cubs to hunt. Denis is a bit mixed up.

It seems that the domestic cat is becoming more and more removed from nature. His whole word is centered around the human home. He only relates to prey in the human context and searches for prey from human objects.

I wonder if Denis the Menace is an example of the next stage in cat domestication. The stage where the cat loses his ability to catch real prey.

Cats that are classified as burglars are also called Klepto Cats or kleptomaniacs. Kleptomania is a compulsive desire to steal. These cats are obviously not kleptomaniacs. It is just putting a funny spin on what is really a distortion of real cat behavior.

We shouldn’t get serious about it but it does make me think if something is going wrong. Probably one way of preventing it is to play more with your cat but I sense that people don’t do this enough. I am guilty of that.

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Filching Felines — 4 Comments

  1. I saw a video of Dennis and he looked so serious about his task lol
    maybe it’s just something that some cats do, our Walter did the same when he was young.
    We have a cat sized gap in our back fence and he dragged all sorts through it, socks, tights, gloves, we were quite worried whereabouts he was going, to find them, but eventually found out that someone had dumped a black sack of clothes amongst the scrub behind our houses.
    One day after the bag of clothes had gone, he brought half a huge nest, then next day the other half, it was obviously too big to carry in his tiny mouth. Our other cats just looked at him with amazement lol
    That was it, he suddenly stopped and has never brought anything again, apart from mice of course.
    My theory is that because he came from a bad home with not much food and no love, he did as some people do, after being deprived and then having plenty they surround themselves with things as a sort of comfort and insurance against ever having nothing again. Once he realised he could always have as much food and love and attention as he wanted from us, he didn’t feel the need to gather stuff any more. Maybe I’m crazy lol but I can’t think of any other explanation, maybe there just isn’t one!

  2. My Red used to, when he was a kitten, run up trees and grab one specific leaf out of the thousands of leaves up there. Same on the ground, he would pick one and attack it and then walk around with it in his mouth. If a lone leaf was to blow past in the wind he would go for it like prey too. And as he got older he would sometimes arrive home with a leaf for me and leave it next to me for when I woke up for example. Once he even brough some peice of something strange, some kind of plastic fabric/material. Had he lived longer this might have developed. Somebody in my meighbourhood is missing a peice of tarpaulin or whatever it is. I think it’s a prey thing too. But he caught mice. So it wasn’t out of restriction that he was driven to inanimate objects or anything. He especially liked big crunchy leaves. I would bring him one if I say it. There’s nothing sweeter than a kitten bringing you the gift of a leaf. Call me wierd but I have kept the ones that were still around after he died and have a sort of altar on his favourite sleeping spot, a shelf, on which I have a pile of his little presents including the plastic thingy. I miss him terribly, it’s only been 3 months since he passed. His little shelf in the cupboard behind the front door, which I used to call his ‘apartement’ is at it was with his little blanket still on it and his gifts and collar and a few balls of his fluff that got everywhere.

    I think certainly kittens bring things as prey, Red’s mama brought Red mice to play with and he did, often still alive. Maybe a cat without nature would carry it on with objects as Michael said. I certainly think that can be true. I saw the video of Denis too. The only other thought to cross my mind of animals behaving as such, is nest building. But I doubt Denis brought the things to his sleeping spot and piled them up there. Red would leave his gifts in funny places if I was not home. I found leaves in the strangest places. It just made me love him that much more.

    • Nice point about nest/den building. I have not read that though. I think wild cats tend to take what they find and make that comfortable. Pumas cover prey with leaves. Maybe Red was Puma in a former life 🙂

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