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?
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.
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.
ANDOVER, UK - NEWS AND OPINION: an employee at the counter at a well-regarded veterinary…