Do You Have a Pack Rat Cat?

Ever wonder why your cat hoards and hides objects or brings you treasures? We asked experts to shed some light on this stealthy behavior.

By Peggy Scott | Posted: Thu Mar 1 00:00:00 PST 2001

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Don't worry if your cat hoards objects, says animal behaviorist Patrick Melese, DVM, with the University of California Veterinary Medical Center San Diego, in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. When you increase play activity, you're likely to trigger kittenish behaviors, such as stalking objects and pouncing, he says. Hiding playthings may be a cat's way of making sure its belongings are available when it wants them especially in a house that's frequently tidied. This theory may seem unlikely, given the odd items cats have been known to hoard, but a toy is in the eye of the beholder, Melese says.

No matter the purpose, our cats are swiping and holding a lot of our stuff. In a recent issue of CAT FANCY, we asked readers to share their cats' criminal records. The responses show some cats could rent storage space for their collections.

1. Aptly named Bugsy, a 3-year-old Himalayan tomcat in Fremont, Calif., could be a kingpin of feline organized crime. The 7½-pound cat brings his owner Judy Pappas a wardrobe of ill-gotten garments. He's lugged home towels, swimsuits, socks, underwear and kneepads, which he presents in the wee hours of the morning or stashes in the closet. Bugsy has earned his owner the neighborhood name of, "the lady who owns the cat that steals stuff."

2. One cat's taste for jewelry earned him the moniker "Pepper the Klepper." This purring prowler of Flushing, N.Y., had a 14-carat craving for all things gold watches, earrings and charms. Alas, it wasn't the law that collared Pepper but age. At 15½, Pepper's failing hearing allowed his owner Marti F. Kestin to tail him to his hiding spot behind the couch. There Kestin uncovered a gold mine of goodies.

3. Some cats aren't as discerning when it comes to hoarding. Mongey of Yonkers, N.Y., is an equal-opportunity collector. When her owner, Florence Puzio, moved furniture for house painting, Puzio found where all those pens and pencils had gone over the last 17 years, along with walnuts, Christmas bells and an assortment of cat toys. Mongey was so distressed at the raid, Puzio didn't have the heart to reclaim her belongings. She simply moved all of them close by. Mongey did inventory, making sure her prizes were accounted for, and settled down for a catnap, happy and content.

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Do You Have a Pack Rat Cat?

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Reader Comments

janet    bethlehem, PA

12/9/2011 4:31:09 AM

thanks for the information

janet    bethlehem, PA

10/29/2008 5:15:12 AM

very interesting thanks

janet    bethlehem, PA

6/23/2008 10:20:46 AM

good article thanks

Shannon    Taylors, SC

4/6/2008 7:19:39 PM

My female cat, Diva constantly steals my ponytail holders. For months I was having to buy several packs of them until one day I caught her in the drawer where I keep them.

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