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Why does my cat carry socks around?

Cat lovers who have cats in the home say that no one cat is the same.

  • Each cat is uniquely and wonderfully made.
  • Not all cats have the same likes for food or toys.
  • Each cat has its own specific behavior and mood.

Cat owners must pay attention to what their furry friend is trying to tell them through their attitudes, behaviors, and actions. What one cat enjoys, another cat could care less about having or doing. Cats all have unique preferences and dislikes, much like their humans.

Cat experts and pet owners who have had cats in the home for many years have come up with a few different reasons why cats carry socks around the house. Despite these differences from one cat to another, everyone seems to agree that you should never get angry or punish them for doing what comes naturally for a cat. I feel sad for a cat whose humans try to take away its instincts. It is not a good thing to do to your fur baby.

Why Does My Cat Carry Socks Around?

Because all cats are different in behaviors, actions, and intellect, each cat does things a bit differently. It makes no difference if the cat is a male or female. Both genders are known to steal socks or play with their human socks.

While all cats are different, they all have one thing in common. Everyone agrees; this cat loves you. Never discourage your kitty from carrying socks around because it is inconvenient for you. However, for those cats who seem to enjoy moving your socks around, the following reasons may be why your cat does this.

  • Showing Appreciation

While a cat cannot go out and buy a gift for you, your cat may do the next best thing and deliver to you a dead mouse or bird, a favorite toy, or someone’s sock. Never get angry at your cat for doing this. Always praise your cat with a few gentle pats, some cat treats, or a bit of catnip on a toy.

  • Your Cat is a Natural Hunter (of the Great White Sock)

Cats are natural-born hunters, whether they hunt inside or outside the house. Cats that do not go outside to hunt will revert to hunting inside for various things, and socks may be the thing they love carrying around because socks are light and easy to grab.

  • Is It Prey Time (not prayer time) Offering?

Mother cats in the wild naturally hunt, kill, and bring prey to their baby kits to eat, and domesticated cats who never go outside never lose their instinct to hunt.

This action could be their natural hunting instinct when your cat brings you a sock or carries a sock around. A sock is your cat’s wild prey that it was proud to have caught; now, your cat will likely put it in a secret place to eat it later (not really) or bring it to you and lay it at your feet, telling you to enjoy their catch. However, cats usually like to hide their favorite toys or socks to make the item all theirs.

Do you have cats and find some of your socks do not have matches for them? 

Silly you, you thought your washing machine was somehow eating your socks, and it was your cat all this time.

  • Is it Playtime? – Is it Time for More Attention? 

Some cat experts believe that your cat brings you socks because they want to play. They want you to throw the sock, so they can chase it and get it back to you. I have a cat called Lil’ Luke. Lil’ Luke would bring me a favorite toy and lay it at my feet, looking at me. I would pick the toy up and give it a throw, and Lil’ Luke runs like a streak of lightning, fetches the toy, and brings it back to me. We would repeat this several times until he had had enough or got bored and walked away.

  • Cats Get Bored Easily

Cats, like humans, become bored. Some of my cats like to play, but only if you play with them. Playing is a fun pastime when play involves someone else. When your cat wants to play, it may bring something to you and wait in expectation to see what you will do with the item.

  • Does Your Cat Want to Help You Clean Up?

Perhaps your cat is bringing you a sock because you left it lying on the floor, and you need to put it away. Cats are brilliant, and I believe some cats are smart enough to know that where they found your sock is not where it is supposed to be.

Willow the Q-Tip Cat

We have one cat whose name is Willow. Willow is obsessed with catching Q-Tips, (clean Q-Tips, of course.) Willow will swipe a Q-Tip across the floor and chase it for a while before picking it up and dropping it into her water dish.

These actions are much the same as a cat in the wild. Willow is hiding this Q-Tip for later. I have seen her go back and fish the Q-Tip out of her water dish and carry it away. Willow is the only one of our six cats who do this.

If your cat does anything like this, you must keep a watchful eye on them because you never want them to try to chew and swallow inanimate objects that could cause them harm.

Papa Pudge Bear and His Six Kits

I noticed over the years with my cats that some of them like to teach other cats in the household. I first saw this when we had a daddy cat named Papa Pudge Bear. Papa had six kits, four sons, and two daughters. It was Papa who taught the kits to hunt and climb.

When he was teaching his kits, he led one at a time. For example, he let one kit at a time climb up on the side of our sofa. The amazing thing was he laid on the floor right under where they were climbing. I guess he did this because he could catch them if one fell.

Why Does My Cat Play With My Socks? 

It is all about scents for cats. Cats have an extraordinary ability to sniff things out. A cat knows your scent, and your cat enjoys playing with your dirty socks because your scent is all over those socks. Your cat knows that this piece of something belongs to you.

However, this is now theirs after adding their scent to the mix. Your cat is telling everyone that this sock belongs to them and no one else. Your cat is likely to hide where you will never look.

When cats find a favorite toy to play with, like your sock, they will claim it as theirs by rubbing their head over it or licking the sock. This action puts their scent on the sock and tells other cats to leave it alone; it is theirs.

Why Does My Cat Pick Up Socks and Meow? 

Socks are easy for cats to play with and carry around in their mouth. Socks are so convenient as a toy to pass the time.

According to what many cat experts find, the answer always seems to be the same. Not all cats are interested in carrying socks around the house. However, if you have a cat that likes to pick up socks and meow, most believe this is for a few different reasons.

  • It could be because your scent is on the sock, and your cat wants to stay close to you.
  • Cats meow when they have something to tell you. More than likely, your cat wants attention and is telling you all about it.

How to Get My Cat to Stop Playing with My Socks? 

If you did not already know it, you soon figure out that a cat will do what it wants. You cannot train a cat like you would a puppy. If you watch your cat closely, you soon discover that your cat is hard at work training you.

OK, you wanted a cute little fur baby, or perhaps you have more than one, and suddenly one or all of your babies took up stealing and playing with your socks. After being a cat parent for several years, you will discover that there is not too much anymore that rattles your last nerve.

So, if you do not like your cat playing with your socks, what can you do?

The first suggestion is to do what perhaps your mother may have told you to do years ago when you were a child,

“Pick up your clothes.”

If you are not going to put your socks away where your cat cannot get them, it is your fault, not your cat’s fault for wanting to play with your dirty socks.

Where do you put your dirty clothes awaiting the washing machine?

Perhaps it is time for you to buy a dirty clothes hamper to store your dirty socks instead of under the bed awaiting the next load of laundry.

  • Another suggestion in addition to buying a dirty clothes hamper is to buy your cat some socks.
  • Do you have one or two pairs of old socks you can spare?

If not, you could buy two pairs of cheap socks just for Fluffy. Sprinkle a quality catnip inside each sock and tie the end off. Rub these socks on your body to transfer your scent onto the stocking. These old socks with catnip and your scent replace the ones that your kitty insists on stealing.

Your cat will love it that you finally got their message.