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Why Does My Cat Pick Up Socks And Meow? (Prey or Play?)

If your cat is constantly picking up your socks, bringing them to you, then meowing, you may be confused or interested to know why this is happening…

Why does my cat pick up socks and meow?

Cats may pick up socks and meow for several reasons such as it represents a form of substitute prey, they fancy playing a game with you, or just sheer curiosity. Each of these is quite innocent and harmless. But, if it’s annoying for you, there are simple ways that you can try to stop it.

So, now you know. But, how can you stop this from happening? Why do they hide socks? Why do cats rub smelly socks on their face? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 Top reasons why cats may pick up your socks & meow:

Why does my cat pick up socks and meow?

A cat playing with a sock on some grass.

Earlier I briefly mentioned a few reasons why your cat may be picking up your socks and meowing at you. Therefore, in this section, I will explain each one in more detail:

01. Substitute prey

Cats may bring socks to you in this way as a form of substitute prey. What I mean by that is, in their mind, the socks represent a successful hunt. It will then meow at you to present you with its fictional kill.

This may sound far-fetched, but it is evident from many cat owner’s experiences that cats enjoy doing this for their owners.

02. Just for fun

Sometimes a cat will bring you the socks just for fun. Yes, that’s right, just because they are bored or enjoy their playtime with you. The chances are if you take the sock and throw it, or reposition it, they will bring it back to you.

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Why? Well, if you do that it’s like you have signed up for the “sock game”, are you with me?

03. Curiosity

Some cats may be curious about socks, especially if they are new to your home. And, if that’s the case in the beginning they may bring them over to you.

But, in this context, it’s almost like they are asking you a question about them rather than offering you their prey, are you with me?

Why do cats like laundry?

Cats like laundry for the following reasons:

  • The smell
  • The feel of it
  • The warmth

The smell

Cats like the scent of socks. Why? Because it is an important way that they detect people and their perceived territory. And, socks, especially soiled socks are caked in your scent.

This may sound gross to you, but for some cats, it’s ideal for them and they love it.

The feel of it

The actual material used for socks is appealing to some cats. Basically, the texture and feel of it is soft and cozy. Therefore they may even steal it from your clean clothes piles around your home, or even from your laundry basket.

The warmth

Cats like to feel atm and cozy. This is the reason that you see them sprawled out in front of the heater in your front room sometimes. And, the socks you have can help them to feel warm especially in the cold winter months.

How can I stop my cat from picking up my socks?

If you are tired of your cat stealing your socks and you are looking for solutions here are a few things you can try to stop it from happening:

01. Place your socks in a laundry basket

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I know, this may be obvious, but you can stop your cat from getting to your socks if you are tidier and place them in a laundry basket. Obviously, this is more for dirty socks, but they are the type that often gets picked up.

A laundry basket is a simple but effective solution to this problem.

02. Close the door where your socks are

Another simple solution is to close the door where you store your socks. So, for example, your bedroom door. Keep it shut or locked to keep your cat out. I say locked because some cats are known to open doors.

03. Distract your cat

Another technique you can use is a distraction. This can be attempted with a cat tree (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) or another object that may make your cat change its focus from your socks to the cat tree or another object.

This technique is not the best out of the three, because some cats may appreciate the cat tree and still go for the socks. But, for some, it can work. Others may appreciate it in collaboration with the other suggestions.

Why do cats suck socks?

Some cats are known to suck socks and it is believed to be calming for them. Sucking them is different from trying to eat them by the way. This is mainly seen in younger cats that may be missing their birth mother and suffering separation anxiety.

Eating socks is another issue (more on this later), whereas sucking is not ideal for you, as their career and sock owner, but soothing for them.

Why do cats hide socks?

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Cats like to hide socks as a form of a game or just being forgetful. If it’s a game, they may hope you find it, and guess what? They will likely hide it again.

However, if it’s the latter, being forgetful, then this is because they have no real understanding of being tidy, so they will just dump the stolen socks wherever and simply forget they are there, are you with me?

Do cats eat socks?

Some cats do eat socks. This is not the norm though and is known as Pica. This is a term used for when cats eat non-food items such as socks, blankets, etc.

The items are not restricted to socks and blankets though, they could even be plastic or any non-food item. It is more common around kittens from age of 3 months. And some grow out of it within a year or two, if their owners are lucky.

Do cats like wearing socks?

Cats are not known to like wearing socks. However, they do like to steal or play with them, that’s for sure. This is why many cat owners are annoyed to find they are missing socks and left with odd pairs in their draws.

Why does my cat rub smelly socks on his face?

Cats like smelly socks on their face because it has a high concentration of your scent on it. After a long day out your socks will have a strong scent on them, which cats love.

For us humans we are repulsed by the smell of dirty socks, right? Even our own. But, for cats, this is ideal because it has not been covered with deodorant, perfume, or washing detergent. It’s just a fresh scent for them.

Why is my kitten biting my socks?

A kitten is likely to bite your socks because they are eager to learn or just want to play games with your toes, and your socks are in the way.

If this happens it does not necessarily mean it has Pica. As discussed earlier, the condition for cats that eat objects like socks. In this context, your cat just wants to play and bite, not eat them.

Lindsey Browlingdon