Famous cat burglars have taken items ranging from stuffed toys to golf balls. But experts say your cat has its own reasons for nabbing your pen, sock or hair tie.
“Most often, a cat takes small items that she wants to bat around or manipulate with her paws,” according to Dr. Wailani Sung of Vet Street.
“Sometimes cats are attracted to the appearance or texture of an item. The item is displaced simply because the cat moves it around. The displacement of the item may make it appear like the cat has ‘stolen’ an object, but she has merely used it for a fun activity.”
Cats may also take something to get your attention. “When your cat wants to interact with you and you do not give her attention, taking an item that you are concerned about is one good way to get you to focus on her,” says Dr. Wailani.
Cats in the wild will sometimes bury their food so they can eat it later. When cats hide items, they may be mimicking this food-related behavior, veterinarians say.
Golfers may not be amused, but Merlin the Burmese clearly seems to be entertaining himself by taking golf balls from the 14th hole at Aldeburgh Golf Club in the UK. He’s been featured in stories carried by the BBC and the Daily Mail.
Some cats are hunters who treat taken items like prey. Consider Dusty, better known as Klepto. He may be the most notorious cat burglar in the world. He’s made his owners famous by “stealing” more than 600 items over the past three years during night time raids in his San Mateo neighborhood.
“Two weeks ago, Dusty was our cat. Now, we’re Dusty’s people,” Jean Chu told ABC7. Dusty’s owners, Jean Chu and Jim Coleman, have become celebrities in their San Mateo neighborhood, according to a report by ABC News. “Hi super stars. That’s what they’ll say,” Chu said laughingly.
Dusty first gained fame after a camera installed by the Animal Planet Network captured his nightly heists. His record? Eleven different items in one night. He’s come home with enough items for a rummage sale, including gloves, shoes, children’s toys and clothing, according to ABC News.