Confessions: My Cat Is A Thief!

Readers, it is with shame in my heart that I have to expose my cats for what they really are. Thieves and hoarders! Yes, like squirrels and other little creatures who like to store food for the future, my cats do the same. Except they steal bottle caps, catnip filled toys, and milk rings. My grandson-cat Jasper is the worst, as he’s been the cause for blindness in my only child by stealing and hiding her glasses. Have you ever hunted for your glasses when you weren’t wearing them? Not so easy, is it?

Jasper with bottle cap

Jasper with bottle cap

On one occasion Jasper hid said glasses for more than two days before we found them. Then on his second offense, I caught him red-handed with the glasses planted firmly between his teeth. He came within seconds of taking them to parts unknown. Which at our house could be anywhere. After the first case of cat thievery Laura looked everywhere with no luck. Jasper had to have returned them on his own, because they showed up in a place we’d already searched.

Cat toys under sofa

My daughter recently moved the sofa and found one of the cats many “stashes.” A grand assortment of bottle caps, small balls and also the circle ring that comes off of a milk jug. We stared in amazement not only of their huge collection, but in the manner the items were lined up in a straight row according to size. Does this mean our cats suffer from obsessive/compulsive disorder?

Our cats also use this new-found ability to con us into purchasing new catnip toys. We recently discovered this latest deception while the cats were in the midst of a midnight catnip high, and all of a sudden stuffed mice and catnip filled squares materialized out of nowhere. We’re not sure where the cats had been hiding them, but it was done intentionally, in my opinion.

So I did a bit of research. After all, we can’t be the only family out there with thieves masquerading as cats. I learned a cat thinks of his toys as killed prey. Most cats want to present their catch to their favorite human servant. There’s nothing quite like waking up to a LIVE mouse wiggling in front of your face. Cats associate scent with family, and many times will leave a non-living gift inside a shoe. Hopefully most of these presents have never been alive and come from the local pet store.

Since reading that I’m disappointed in my cats. They never leave their balls inside of shoes or drawers. They hide them, and I’ve narrowed the reason down to two options. (1) The cats don’t want us to find their stash or (2) the cats believe they’re doing their part in keeping the house orderly. From what I’ve read their behavior will most likely continue. This is a form of entertainment for our indoor cats. I’m just unsure the entertainment comes from playing with the actual toy, or from watching us hunt for something that once belonged to one of us. Cats can be very convincing about possession being 9/10th’s of the law. Once they take something they consider it theirs.

Our cats look disappointed when we find their hiding places. It doesn’t upset them enough to turn from a life of crime and forego a life of hiding things we really can’t live without, but we can hope. I may have been an enabler in a few of their crime sprees. You see, those little jingle balls keep me awake at night. I can’t hear well on the phone, but I can hear a jingle ball from a mile away. I have a bad habit of snatching up any of these balls and placing them in the refrigerator-the only place where I won’t forget where they are and where the cats can’t retrieve them. Laura used to ask me why cat toys were in the fridge. Now she just shakes her head at me.

Jasper continues to carry his caps around, Sammy drags out toy mice, and the cats continue to amaze us on their favorite things to steal. Do any of you have cat thieves living with you? What’s their toy of choice to hide? Please leave a comment, as well as a photo if you have one.

Elisa

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Confessions: My Cat Is A Thief! — 11 Comments

  1. The couch moved photo was from a friend. I thought it fit the article well.

    I think the worst thing stolen was when Darla found my false teeth and walked into the living room wearing them. Needless to say I got another upper denture made.

  2. I didn’t realise that you are living in a den of thieves! It is quite amusing when cats prey on inanimate objects and bring them back. I also see the slightly more serious side of this. It is a bit of a shame that the domestic cat is reduced to preying on household objects of almost any kind of long as it’s small enough. It does show us though that the domestic cat is very very similar to his wild cat ancestor.

    The picture of where the sofa was is astonishing in the number of objects that were pushed under it. And the picture of Jasper with his bottle cap is very cute but a bit sad.

    • Jasper can meow while carrying his cap. You want to see sad? When Cujo is out we have to be sure the bottle caps are put away because they’re a choking hazard to a small dog. Jasper lays in my lap a lot these days. Jasper doesn’t understand this. He can play with the larger caps. They also play laser chase. Furby looks like a ballet dancer chasing it. We also have 3 of the circle toys they love.

      • Bottle caps are obviously a good cat toy but a potentially dangerous one and they double up as cat prey! The reason why I thought it was a bit sad was because I wish in some ways that he didn’t have to rely on a substitute for the real thing. All domestic cats live in the human world and being someone who likes nature and wildlife I like to see cats behaving entirely naturally. That, of course, is in no way a criticism of you because I know you do a fantastic job looking after your cats.

        • We can’t offer them an outdoor experience but at least we can sleep at night knowing they’re safe and alive to play another day. I’d be a nervous wreck with outdoor cats. It was bad enough worrying about Henry and the coyotes until we brought him inside. Cujo wants only his tennis balls. He plays fetch all day. He does pick a catnip pouch when Holly sends a new batch. We don’t allow him the mice because they’re a dog choking hazard as well. The cats love the mice.

          • I’d be a nervous wreck with outdoor cats

            Yes, I’m the same but if there is an half acre enclosure that guarantees to keep predators out and guarantees to keep your cat in I would let my cat roam outside at will. Unfortunately, not many people can afford to build an enclosure like that or don’t have the motivation to do it. In fact the latter is the biggest obstacle. Even wealthy people or people with plenty of land and facilities don’t consider building a really nice large enclosure to allow their cat to roam outside safely.

  3. Last fall I went to get a very expensive ring I had taken off and set on the bathroom counter a few days before to put it back on, but it was gone! I looked everywhere and could not find it. I took the plumbing apart for both bathroom sinks (one still leaks after my not so professional job of putting it back together) and it wasn’t there either. I was so upset, I finally had to break the news to my significant other that I had lost the ring he gave me, which was actually a replacement for the prior ring which I had also lost…. Then I realized that 3 of our foster cats had been in that bathroom for a short while over the last few days so I immediately called my vet and asked if eating a ring would hurt one of the cats… Then scheduled X-rays for all 3 later that week after being told to put on gloves and dig through every piece of poop in the litter boxes to see if one of them had passed the ring… Which I did.
    That night my significant other went to do laundry and guess what was in the bottom of the dirty laundry basket? Yes, my ring… Along with about 10 cat toys, a pair of earbuds, my contact lens case, and multiple hair ties.
    The cats are no longer allowed in the bathroom…

    • I am discovering that bottle caps are popular with cats! They’re probably a nice size to push around and place in the mouth but they appear to be a bit of a hazard as well.

  4. I think we should create a club, Elisa.
    Demon (oops! I mean Damon) is the thief and hoarder here.
    The only crime he hasn’t committed is grand theft auto.
    He keeps 2, sometimes 3, hoarding piles going at all times.
    I rarely disturb them just because I know where to retrieve some of my stuff now. It does no good to do some searches for items not in one of the piles (unless they’re extremely important). I’ve accepted that there are some things I’ll never see again.
    Besides toys, anything that the hoover or broom misses, anything found in small waste baskets, any hair accessory, pens, socks, and dust balls he reached under the stove and oven to get, wind up in a pile.
    So, knowing all of this about my boy, I have only myself to blame if I leave enticing things out. I will never win a battle over them.
    However, my biggest challenge is picking up enough little bits of bath tissue to make a decent sized clump to use.

    • I’d have had a stroke!No wonder you’d rather have large gifts, and you know what I mean.At least the cat can’t drag them off.

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