My Cat Is Obsessed With Laundry

CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger offers advice for cat who loves to sort through the laundry hamper.

By Marilyn Krieger | Posted: April 16, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: I have a male cat that I adopted about eight years ago. I believe him to be a Maine Coon. One of his habits has got me baffled. He likes to take articles out of the laundry hamper and drag them (and leave them) throughout the house. They can be towels, socks or even bed sheets. It is normally funny until I have company and he decides to drag out one of my bras. Why does he do this?

A: A primary way that cats relate to their environment is through their highly developed sense of smell. Your cat essentially loves your smell since you are the most important person in his world.

Most likely, you are reinforcing his laundry fetish by giving him attention and kudos when he does haul a bed sheet through the house. Based on your post, it sounds like the behavior is acceptable and cute most of the time, but when you have special guests visiting, his unique way of expressing his love of you becomes embarrassing.

Your cat doesn’t understand why he’s rewarded for airing your dirty laundry sometimes and other times it’s frowned upon. If you normally don’t have a problem with the behavior, then consider managing the situation. Whenever you entertain guests that you prefer not to see your laundry, make the hamper off-limits to your cat by putting it in a closet or another kitty-free zone where your cat can’t go.

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Reader Comments

Mary    Munrow, DE

4/20/2010 8:38:27 PM

Pippi is a amazing cat!

Anon    City, CA

4/20/2010 8:13:38 PM

Interesting

Clara    St. Paul, MN

4/20/2010 10:24:16 AM

My cat, Pippi will open drawers and get socks out and carry them around!! Haha!!

Kim    Natrona Heights, PA

4/20/2010 6:46:22 AM

MY CAT DOES THIS TOO! My Tigger brings me my socks. I have actually found socks up two floors in my bed. When I get home from work, there are socks everywhere. Dirty or clean, it doesn't matter to her. I think it is so cute that I let her do it, she is taking care of her Mom!

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