Do you ever wake up to find a sock mysteriously placed at the side of your bed? If so, you’re not alone. Many cat owners have experienced this phenomenon. Cats are notorious for bringing them random “gifts”, whether it’s a dead rat, toys, or even socks. But why do cats bring us socks?
Your cat may bring you socks for several reasons, but the most common reason is their natural instinct to hunt and share their prey with you. When a cat brings you a dead mouse, socks, or toys, they are treating you like family and presenting the catch to you, in hopes of teaching you how to do the same.
I know this sounds weird, especially if you’ve never owned a cat before. That’s why it’s important to better understand this behavior. Let’s take a closer look at seven possible reasons why your cat brings you socks.
7 Reasons Why Your Cat Brings You Socks
#1 To Teach You How to Hunt and Scavenge for Food
The most common reason a cat brings you socks, dead animals, or anything else, is because they are trying to teach you how to hunt. In the wild, after a cat kills their prey, the mothers will take the dead or live prey back to their kittens, in hopes of teaching them how to hunt.
Some cats have the same inclination to share their prey (your socks) with you (their owner).
Spayed females are the ones most likely to bring you gives, because, in the wild, they are the ones that teach their young how to hunt for prey. Even if your cat doesn’t have a litter, the instinct is ingrained in her DNA, so expect your cat to bring you gifts from time to time.
#2 Your Cat Wants Your Attention
It could be something as simple as your cat wanting more attention. Your cat knows that you’ll stop and take notice when you see them with your favorite socks. They are hoping you’ll pet them or give them a treat.
Cats are similar to dogs in that they learn which behaviors will get them the attention they crave.
If your cat is bringing you socks for attention, she’ll likely drop the socks at your feet while purring and looking up at you until you pet her. Watch this cute video to see Boots bringing his owner socks and getting rewarded every time.
#3 Your Cat Learned The Behavior from Watching You
Maybe in the past, you’ve let your cat play with your socks. Some pet owners will dangle their socks in front of their cats or kittens, to let them paw them. When the cat catches the sock, they get a goodie or some form of praise. This positive reinforcement is what’s teaching your cat to bring you socks.
#4 The Socks Stink and They Like The Smell
A cat has 100 million olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity, making its sense of smell 20 times stronger than that of humans. They use their nose to “read” their environment and learn about their surroundings.
The fact is many cats like the smell of socks that have been worn for a while. The human scent mixed with sweat is often appealing to them.
If your cat brings you smelly socks, it’s probably because they enjoy the smell!
It could also be that socks make her feel comfortable because they smell like you.
#5 She’s Attached to the Socks (Likes the Feel)
Maybe your cat enjoys the way the socks feel in her mouth and tongue? According to Dr. Nelsons Veternary Blog.
Behaviors like wool-sucking are common in cats, especially in Birman and Siamese breeds. The medical disorder causes cats to suck on wool socks, blankets, jumpers and etc.
There is no known cause, but it is often thought to be because of the small litter size and early weaning. It could also be due to stress and anxiety. If your cat suffers from this compulsive behavior, you’ll want to seek medical attention.
#6 It’s Fun
Cats are curious creatures that can have fun playing with cardboard, plastic, milk gallons, and all kinds of other things. If your cat is constantly playing with your socks and chasing them all over the house, it could be because she just thinks they’re fun to play with.
There’s no real reason behind it, but she finds them fun to play with.
#7 They Love You
You’ve likely seen your cat lying on the clothes you’ve recently worn. This is because the clothes still smell like you and it’s comforting to them. Cats are territorial, so it’s not unusual behavior for them to mark their owner’s clothing by laying on them.
Since the socks smell like you, they are attracted to them. So they carry them around the house and may even bring them to you.
If you find the socks in their bed or cat tree, they are laying on them because they still smell like you.
What to Do If Your Cat Is Stealing Your Socks
There’s nothing to worry about if your cat likes playing with socks. It’s a common behavior in both males and females.
However, if you’re constantly losing your socks because your kitty is stealing them, it can be annoying. That said, there are some things you can do to prevent your cat from stealing the socks you’re going to wear in the morning.
Keep Them In The Drawer
Instead of laying your socks out during the night, keep them locked up in a drawer. This will prevent your cat from accessing them. In the morning, you can pull your socks out and put them on.
You won’t have to worry about the socks having holes in them from being chewed and clawed.
Hang Them Up
If you don’t want to keep your socks in a drawer, you can always hang them up. This way, they’re not as accessible to your cat and she won’t be able to steal them as easily.
Use A Sock Holder
Another option is to buy a sock organizer. This is a small container that’s specifically designed to store socks. It has several compartments and each one holds a single sock.
It makes it easy for you to store your socks, and keep them away from your cat.
Have A Cat-Free Zone
If possible, section off an area of the house that is free of cats and other animals. Then keep your socks there when you’re not wearing them. You can keep your socks, shoes, and any other clothing or item you don’t want your cat to mess with.
Buy Some Toys For Your Cat
If your cat is constantly messing with your socks, it could be because they are bored. Cats tend to get bored easily, so you’ll need to provide them with some toys to keep them entertained.
There are a variety of different types of cat toys that you can buy, such as scratching posts, balls, and teasers.
Or you could make your own DIY cat toy by using a cardboard box or an empty tissue box. Just make sure you supervise your cat when they’re playing with their new toys.
If your cat is constantly bringing you socks, it’s because they are using their hunting and predatory skills to find them and share the spoils with you. It’s a good idea to keep your socks out of reach so they don’t get destroyed.
If possible, make sure your cat has some toys to play with when you’re not around. This will help prevent them from getting bored and stealing your socks or other items in the house.