If you’re a first-time cat owner, you may not be expecting to be given gifts by your pet. After all, it’s dogs who bring their owners toys, right?
Not quite. Cats will bring you things too, in fact, they can go all out and steal things from other people’s homes too. If you’ve not heard of China, the cat who brings her owner all manner of items from the neighbors, you have to watch The Dodo’s report on her!
One of the more popular items you may be given by your cat is a sock. If you are very lucky, you’ll get the pair. Ideally, they will be yours. What are you supposed to do with them? Is this your cat paying tribute to your divine being, or do you have a klepto kitty on your hands?
Why Does My Cat Bring Me Socks?
The most likely reason your cat is bringing you socks is their natural instinct to share prey with you. While the sock isn’t actually prey, if your pet is an indoor cat, this is the best they can come up with. Your cat may also be trying to teach you how to hunt.
There are several theories trying to explain the cat bringing you unsolicited socks situation. Here they all are:
They Are Teaching You To Hunt
Cats are great hunters. They learn this skill when quite young from their mothers, who show them how to tackle prey. They then practice through play, both with each other and later with you. Every time you dangle a string or a toy mouse for them, they tap into these hunting instincts their mom has helped them hone.
Mother cats will bring their kittens dead or injured prey for the purposes of this lesson. When your cat brings you a sock, they are passing on their hunting wisdom to you. You may not need it, but they are happy to teach you how to hunt down and kill the menace that is the sock.
Female cats are more likely to bring you gifts for this reason, as teaching and sharing is a part of their DNA. That’s not saying your male cat will never bring you a sock. When they do though, they probably have a different motive.
They Are Bringing You a Gift
Cats will also bring you socks purely as a gift. This means they love and cherish you a lot, as they are prepared to hand over their latest “catch”. You have truly become a part of their family.
We’re not quite sure if cats think we are very inefficient hunters, or whether they are simply good at sharing, but a gift, be it a sock or a dead animal, should always be accepted and never rebuffed. At least when it’s a sock it’s not at all gross.
They Are Playing Fetch
Some cats, much like dogs, also like to play fetch. They will bring you an item, like a toy or a sock, and expect you to throw it for them. The simplest way to check if this is what they want with the sock is to try a throw. If they bring it back, you have a neat retriever on your hands. They may just start to play with it and pretend it’s prey, which is fine too.
Oriental cat breeds seem to be more predisposed to fetching, so if you have a Siamese, you can expect them to want to retrieve that sock for you.
They Want To Play
Even cats who are not of a retrieving frame of mind may bring you a sock to play with. This habit also taps into their hunting instincts.
A sock is simply a good cat toy. It’s light, it’s usually easy to get hold of, and it can simulate dead prey quite well. If your cat looks at the sock as a toy, it will bring it back to you so you can breathe a bit of life into it, and make the game more interesting. Don’t fail to accommodate this desire.
They Want Your Attention
Your cat may also tend to bring you socks because they want your attention. If you usually respond with affection when they fetch you something, they’ll grab anything to get it.
The same principle applies if you yell at them when they try to steal your sock. They are still getting what they want: your eyes on them.
It’s Just Fun
Ultimately, let’s just admit that cats like socks. It’s a personal preference, we all have them, there’s nothing to judge.
If your cat is bored and looking for stimulation, if it wants to do something new, if it is curious about the sock, if it smells particularly good: why not just grab it and see what happens?
How To Respond When Your Cat Brings You a Sock
When your cat brings you a sock, don’t refuse the gift. Try to see if they want to play with it. If not, accept it with grace and pet your cat. If you want them to stop bringing you socks, put them where they can’t be reached. The socks, not the cat.
Even if you are annoyed that your cat has snagged a sock and is now using it to simulate a dead animal, don’t get mad at them. This is a part of their natural instinct, you can’t punish them for it.
Look at the sock as the show of love and affection that it is and accept it. Reward your cat by giving them a nice cuddle, or if they are in a playful mood, either use the sock or grab another toy and play with them.
How To Stop Your Cat Bringing You Socks
To stop your cat bringing you socks, make sure they can’t get to them. Keep your socks in a closed drawer, and when you take them off in the evening, either put them directly in the laundry hamper, or in a room off limits to the cat.
The only real way to make your cat stop playing with and bringing you socks is to separate the two. You don’t want to punish your cat for doing something that is natural to them. They won’t understand why you are doing it, and they may hold a grudge.
Instead of confusing them and making them question your love, remove socks that are not on your feet from their vicinity, et voila!
Why Is My Cat Meowing And Bringing Me Socks?
If your cat is meowing while bringing you socks, they want to get your attention for whatever their motive with the socks is, be it teaching you to hunt or playing.
The meowing is just their way of reinforcing the message and making you snap to attention quicker. It’s not usually a sign of distress or a call for help, just a form of verbal communication, in case their mere presence is not enough.
Why Does My Cat Love My Socks So Much?
The main reason your cat loves socks so much is their smell. Socks smell very strongly of you, their favorite person, so they will want to sniff, play with and rub against your socks for that reason alone.
Socks are also great toys, they provide the opportunity to mix their feline scent with yours and help them single you out as their property.
Accept your cat’s gifts as a sign of love and affection. Plus, don’t underestimate their ability to teach you how to hunt. It might come in handy.