During annual pet wellness exams, veterinarians happily field questions from cat owners about general behavior. One quirky habit many cats have is a love for human shoes. Here’s what your animal hospital wants you to know about this phenomenon and how to protect your footwear in the future.
Why Do Cats Like Shoes?
Cats have a keen sense of smell. In addition, the Jacobson's organ located on the roof of their mouth allows them to taste pheromones and scents that flow through the air. An attraction to smelling, playing with, nibbling, or sleeping on your shoes gives them access to familiar scents from their owner as well as whiffs of where you’ve walked.
This combination of odors can promote curiosity and also provides a sense of comfort and familiarity. When you’re away from home, or your cat is in a stressful situation, a nap near your shoes, immersed in scents, can be a way for them to self-soothe and relax.
In addition, cats “mark their territory” by rubbing their bodies on certain objects. An attraction to spending time near your shoes may also be their way of reclaiming these items that have been outside the home. By rubbing their cheeks or side along your footwear, they’ve left their unique stamp on things.
What Do Veterinarians Suggest to Curb This Obsession?
While it may be adorable to see your cat napping on your shoe every now and then, missing footwear or a sneaker covered in fur can disrupt your daily routine. When cats are particularly smitten with your shoes, veterinarians suggest finding storage solutions or investing in hanging shoe racks or organizers you can tuck away in closets to limit access.
Offering up a T-shirt, blanket, or specific article of clothing with your scent on it as a replacement can also help. Refrain from shouting at your cat when they’re attempting to steal your favorite flats as they won’t necessarily understand what they’ve done wrong.
If you’re looking for a full-service veterinarian that offers personalized care and lifestyle recommendations to ensure you and your pet enjoy a happy, healthy, and symbiotic relationship, count on Troy & Wentzville Veterinary Clinic. With two practices, this animal hospital has served Lincoln and St. Charles counties for over six decades with compassion and love. To schedule a pet wellness exam call (636) 528-4534 for Troy or (636) 327-6488 for Wentzville. Visit their website for information on their friendly team and specialties.