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CrazyCatOwner's avatar

Why does my 10 year old cat drag around my husband's socks and meow desperately?

Asked by CrazyCatOwner (40points) April 9th, 2012

My cat had one litter of kittens 7 years ago. Recently, she would go into our room and take my husband’s clean socks. She will carry it around, and usually stops in our kitchen. She will meow as if she were in heat. (She’s fixed) We have no idea why she does this, but it happens at least a couple times a week. We think she is having flashbacks from when she actually did have kittens. But we’re not sure. Anyone know why she’s acting so strange??

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21 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

This is highly possible. Carrying the socks may resemble her carrying a kitten, in her past.

anartist's avatar

Get her a small kitten to raise.

CrazyCatOwner's avatar

@anartist Oh, NOOOO she absolutely hates other cats. She would hiss and claw at them when they got too close.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If this cat hates other cats so much how do she manage with the one and a half year old cat from your other question?

CrazyCatOwner's avatar

@Lightlyseared Well, she doesn’t like him either. She hisses at him and tries to stay away from him. Often, they’ll have little cat fights. She’d rather him not be around.

syz's avatar

It’s just something that cats do.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My youngest male cat steals socks and pretends they are prey. He likes to hide them under blankets, beds and in little nooks and crannies around the house.

Some cats prefer squishy/soft things to play with. It’s normal cat behavior.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t know why your cat has that behavior. A vet check-up couldn’t hurt. All of the cats that I’ve ever known have different personalities. Maybe sock carrying is your cat’s thing.

By the way. We have an old male cat (Rocky) that attacks all other adult cats as if to kill them. However when we presented two baby kittens to Rocky immediately liked them and quickly seemed to adore them. He never once showed any aggression toward the babies. The kittens are now adults cats and we are a happy family.

Bill1939's avatar

“Fixing” an animal seldom interferes with its instincts. Transporting kittens to places with food or that are more secure is one of her maternal instincts. I wouldn’t advise introducing a kitten to your cat. She might reject a kitten that doesn’t bear her scent, and if she responded well she could not successfully nurse it.

Jeruba's avatar

One of my cats used to drag socks around. She would also wait until the lights were out and then come steal my little cloth slippers from beside the bed, one at a time, and drag them someplace in the house. I never knew where I’d find them in the morning. She carried them just the way a mother cat carries a kitten (though she’d never had one). The whole time, she would yow in that doleful way that I always called “playing lost kitty”: “Woe, oh woe, oh WO-O-O-OE.”

I just figured it was her special weirdmess. Her sister never did that.

(She also routinely stole pencils, ripped tissues out of boxes, and would swipe the bread from the toaster if I wasn’t quick enough.)

wildpotato's avatar

My mom’s female has always done that, with beanie babies. She’ll hold them in her mouth and knead them with all four paws at once while emitting this unearthly wail. Scared my cousin out of his wits one night. Can’t blame him; she sounds like a banshee.

My overweight male cat does this with shoes, and he’ll also flop over on his side and start kicking the shoes, meowing the whole time. The really odd bit is that my roommate’s male cat, who is friends with my cat, will come over and start yowling loudly at my cat, dart in to bite his butt sometimes, and will occasionally even straddle him and grip his scruff – all of which seems to me to be mating behavior. Both cats are fixed. I have concluded that my cat yowls because he has repressed homosexual desire for my roommate’s cat – but then again, I’m Freudian, so that should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

Another possible explanation I read about recently is that he’s diabetic and frustrated that no matter how much he eats (or doesn’t eat, because I don’t free-feed him), he always feels hungry. @syz – do you think this might be a possibility? I’ll take him in to get tested, I think. It worries me how hard it is to get him to lose weight.

syz's avatar

@wildpotato If you don’t see excessive drinking and urination or other signs of diabetes, I wouldn’t worry about it.

It’s just an idiosyncrasy of cats. Some of them howl (especially at night, and especially as they get older), and some of them carry around objects, and some of them hump objects. It’s quite common.

Plucky's avatar

From the information you’ve shared, I wouldn’t worry about it. This is normal behaviour that can result from many things. Perhaps you’ve changed detergents? There could be a different scent in the socks.

One of our cats likes to roll around with our socks (worn dirty socks only). Two of our cats like to carry little stuffed balls, the size of golf balls, and walk around with them whilst they moan/meow incessantly. They want us to throw them usually. The one loves playing Fetch with these.

Usually, the constant meowing is to gain the attention of us or the other cats in our house. I do not think the reason, for your cat, is flashbacks of kittens. It sounds like your cat simply wants some attention. Since she goes to the kitchen she may just want food. Are you in the kitchen when she does this? Why she chose your husband’s socks, maybe only she knows.

If the attention seeking gets much more constant, she may be telling you something is wrong. Then a vet check is really recommended. If you are really concerned it wouldn’t hurt to take her in now. It’s up to you.

CrazyCatOwner's avatar

@Plucky No, she sees the vet continuously because of her arthritis problems. No, she’s not hungry, because food is readily available. And she always gets her soft cat food with her meds at 2:30 in the afternoon. And attention? That cat gets more attention than my 15 year old daughter does. So that can’t be it… Thanks for your help though!(:

Pandora's avatar

If you don’t want to get her a small kitten, (by the way she probably hates male cats or cats old enough to make her feel threatened) than take whatever sock she seems to like, and stuff it so she feels its like a baby. It probably is just her mother instinct kicking in. Take her to a shelter and see what kittens she may react favorably too. If none than that may not be her problem.

Plucky's avatar

@CrazyCatOwner Attention is attention. Whether it is good or bad. Your cat is wanting your attention ..wanting you to hear and see her. The reason is the thing you need to figure out. It could be an upset stomach from her meds ..or a gas stomach ache. Or a sore tooth even. There are so many small ailments that she may be wanting to tell you about. It doesn’t have to be life-threatening or serious.

I didn’t say she has to be hungry to want food. Maybe she just wants something yummy. My dog would pass up his regular “always available” food for his treats and/or our food any time. He has regular kibble available at all times and gets soft food for breakfast. Our cats are the same.

Believe me, it’s attention. You could pet her 16 hours a day and she will still do things for attention. The cat is making sure you see and hear her when she does this. She is trying to tell you something and/or get something from you.

CrazyCatOwner's avatar

@Plucky Well you just crack me up, and thank you for the tips. Like, just 1 hour ago, she took a sock, and dragged it into the kitchen, meowing loudly. I went into where she was, and put the sock back. She ran into the living room, and hopped on the couch. She didn’t sit BY me, she sat at the OTHER end of the couch, and fell asleep. Now she’s laying upside down, sound asleep, not worried about anything. She’s just laying there.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@CrazyCatOwner When my loudest yowling cat brings something to the kitchen, it means ”Hey mama, look I wanna show you the toy I’m playing with. Will you take it and pretend it’s alive and toss it for me?”

BTW: I have four cats. The one that lost a kitten is my quietest cat ;)

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m with at @syz: it’s just something cats do. If you want an animal that you can understand get a fish or a pet rat or a dog, even.

I was living with my two cats in my parents’ house when my dad was installing and repairing computers for the school district. He had a workroom upstairs and for about a year and a half … we lived in a Cape Cod, so the bedrooms were downstairs, my cats would bring miscellaneous stuff down from my dad’s workroom and deposit it at the end of the hall between my bedroom and my parents’ bedroom: little jumper cables, small tools like the smaller screw drivers, hex wrenches, packs of button batteries, USB cables, miscellaneous stuff… and one of us would collect it all in the morning and return it to the workroom and they would bring it all back downstairs the next night.

We tried to figure out what was motivating them, to no avail. It was all pretty amusing until one night, along with the rest of the usual haul, they brought down the small portable butane soldering iron, a spool of solder and the motor from one of my dad’s remote control helicopters that he was repairing. That had us a little worried. :-) That made it seem like they had a real plan; they were up to something, no doubt, we just didn’t know what.

But they just stopped doing it after a while. Either they just got tired of it or they realized that we would continue to thwart their master plan, whatever it might have been, by taking everything back upstairs every day. Cats are mysterious creatures. You can waste a lot of time trying to figure them out and end up no wiser than you began. Just enjoy the mystery.

Enoughcatsalready's avatar

My cat does exactly like yours. Pulls socks out of the laundry, or even open drawers were they are already mated in pairs. She drags them to the living room, drops them and meows as though she were calling her little ones. She is fixed. Her last litter was about a year ago and they live with us too (and are all also fixed). She can’t stand it when they come near her and hisses and growls at them, running off like a banshee. It’s when none of them are around, that it seems she forgets that she doesn’t want them around and takes the socks for a lure or bait. We tease and say she has Kitty Alzheimer. Not sure if this is a fact or not. We did see one cat respond to her call at one time or another. But when they came near, she would forget that it is because she called for them and the hissing and growling and running away would occur. The only thing we can figure that makes sense is, she has forgotten that her little ones are grown now. She misses being a mom to younger ones. She doesn’t recognize the other cats as hers, because after a certain amount of time, they will forget that. Not sure what can be done about it. We are thinking it’s just going to be “one of those things.”

Cherbeardoll's avatar

Plucky is right. The cat wants attention. My male is doing the same thing my boyfriend brought a kitten home over a month ago, and I give my older cat all the love and attention, but he goes upstairs for awhile and comes downstairs crying with one of my sons socks. He’s wanting more attention. Even though he’s getting more because of the kitten. He’s insecure.

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