You may have heard of cute Lulu. She is a tabby rescue cat who likes to bring her owner’s slippers to her every morning. She collects them from wherever they have been left the day before. Lulu’s owner managed to catch the behaviour on video and it looks awfully cute. The Dodo say that it may be impossible to read Lulu’s mind to explain this behaviour but the message is clear. What is the message? I’m going to try and explain it but there’s no guarantee that I am correct.
My best guess is that Lulu regards her owner as her kitten; a role reversal. Sometimes adult domestic cats do this. We know it because they bring prey back to the home reflecting the classic behaviour of female cats in the wild when they bring prey back to their recently weaned kittens for a meal. Sometimes they bring back live prey which the kittens are taught to kill.
If Lulu regards her owner as a kitten then she is bringing the slippers back to her as if they are prey items. Her owner encouraged this behaviour by accepting it which naturally resulted in a routine. In other words the initial instinctive behaviour was built upon through informal training. It’s actually a form of mutual training because Lulu trained her owner to accept her behaviour and enjoy it and then in return the owner trained Lulu to do it every day by participating in the behaviour.
However, it all started with a mother cat bringing food back to the maternal nest for her kittens to eat. That’s the instinctive drive which started this. Sometimes these instinctive feline behaviors become distorted or confused in the human home and the human-cat relationship. It is another example of how domestic cats are barely domesticated and have retained all their wild cat instincts, senses and emotional drives. The fact the slippers look as if they are made of suede leather may have been an encouragement for Lulu to relate them as prey.
The video comes from Lulu’s Instagram page.
SOME PAGES ON MOTHERING: