Why Do Cats Hide Stuff?
(Dayton, Ohio, U.S.)
Tabby cat hunting - photo added by Michael and by "cats in gloves" (Flickr CC)
My cat is always hiding stuff under rugs! Especially change. I once found almost $1.50 just in change! Also my ponytail holders and other small things. I was wondering why some cats do that?
Hi Kourtney... Thanks for asking, "why do cats hide stuff?!" All our answers to domestic cat behavior have to come from two sources:
-- Wild cat behavior - this is entirely natural behavior provided people aren't impacting too much on that behavior and;
-- Our behavior in relation to the cat - the cat is reactive and we impose a lot of conditions on a domestic cat. They live in our world and react to what we do and create for them.
When does a wild cat hide things? Time and again we read that the wild cat will hide prey. This is not always the case but it happens frequently.
The cougar in the north and south America covers its prey with twigs and leaves etc.. It makes a pretty professional job out of it.
My initial answer without researching it, is that your cat is acting out, through play, the catching and hiding of prey.
OK, it doesn't take much to catch change or a ponytail holder but they are nice little objects to poke and prod, especially the ponytail holder, which is probably quite a nice cat toy actually.
It might not simply be hiding "prey" to protect it from other predators. There may be an element of play in the hiding process, too.
My cat pushes pens under desks or into inaccessible places and then prods them and tries to recover them. This seems to be making a challenge, to be creating the kind of conditions that a cat would find in the wild when chasing a rodent for example. Small prey would go to ground and hide. The cat is re-creating that instinctively.
As cats in the USA are often indoor cats the need for a domestic cat to find its own entertainment heightens and the obligation on us is greater to entertain it, which is always a form of hunting and stalking prey.