Why Does My Cat Put Toys In My Shoes?

1. Understanding the Behavior of Cats Putting Toys in Shoes

If you’ve ever found your cat’s toys nestled snugly inside your shoes, you may wonder what drives this peculiar behavior. Cats engaging in this behavior is not uncommon, and there are several reasons why they do it:

  • Instinctual Behavior: Cats are natural hunters, and putting toys in shoes can be an instinctual behavior linked to their predatory nature. Cats may see shoes as potential hiding places or “prey” that they can capture and “stash” for later play.
  • Marking Territory: Cats have scent glands in their paws, and by placing toys in your shoes, they may be marking them with their scent. This behavior is a way for cats to claim ownership over objects and mark their territory.
  • Play and Exploration: Cats are curious creatures and enjoy exploring new objects and environments. Putting toys in shoes can be seen as a form of play and exploration for them, as they investigate their surroundings and interact with different items.

2. Reasons for Cats Putting Toys in Shoes

The behavior of cats putting toys in shoes can have underlying reasons that are worth exploring. Understanding these reasons can give cat owners insights into their feline companions’ behavior and help them address any potential concerns. Here are some possible reasons why cats put toys in shoes:

  • Hunting Instincts: Cats are natural hunters, and their instinctual behavior drives them to simulate hunting activities even in domestic settings. By putting toys in shoes, cats may be expressing their hunting instincts, treating the shoe as prey and engaging in play behavior.
  • Comfort and Security: Cats often seek out cozy and enclosed spaces that provide them with a sense of comfort and security. Shoes can offer a small, enclosed space that cats find appealing for resting or playing. Placing toys in shoes may be their way of creating a secure and familiar environment.
  • Boredom or Playfulness: Cats, especially those with excess energy or insufficient mental stimulation, may resort to engaging in playful behaviors to entertain themselves. Putting toys in shoes can be a way for them to alleviate boredom and engage in interactive play.
  • Attention-Seeking: Cats are known for their ability to capture their owners’ attention. By putting toys in shoes, cats may be trying to seek attention, initiate playtime, or simply communicate with their owners. They may associate their owners’ interaction with the shoe-related behavior, reinforcing their actions.

3. Dealing with Cats Putting Toys in Shoes

If your cat has developed a habit of putting toys in your shoes, there are several strategies you can employ to manage this behavior:

  • Provide Adequate Play and Mental Stimulation: Engage your cat in regular play sessions using interactive toys that mimic prey. This will help channel their energy and provide an outlet for their hunting instincts. Additionally, provide puzzle toys and environmental enrichment to keep them mentally stimulated.
  • Offer Alternatives: Provide your cat with designated areas or toys where they can engage in play and exploration. Offer a variety of toys, scratching posts, and cozy beds to fulfill their needs. This can redirect their attention away from your shoes.
  • Keep Shoes Out of Reach: Store your shoes in closed closets or shoe racks that are inaccessible to your cat. This will prevent them from having access to the shoes and discourage the behavior of putting toys inside them.
  • Use Deterrents: Apply a cat-safe deterrent spray or double-sided tape on your shoes to make them less appealing to your cat. Cats dislike sticky or unpleasant textures, which can discourage them from interacting with the shoes.
  • Positive Reinforcement: When your cat engages in appropriate play behavior or uses designated toys, reward them with treats, praise, or playtime. Positive reinforcement will reinforce desired behaviors and help redirect their focus away from your shoes.


Cats putting toys in shoes is a behavior that can stem from their hunting instincts, playfulness, and need for comfort and security. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help cat owners address it effectively. Cats may put toys in shoes to simulate hunting, mark territory, seek comfort, alleviate boredom, or seek attention.By providing adequate play and mental stimulation, offering alternatives, keeping shoes out of reach, using deterrents, and using positive reinforcement, cat owners can manage and redirect this behavior. Remember to be patient and consistent in your approach. With time and proper guidance, you can create an environment where your cat engages in appropriate play behaviors and respects your personal belongings.


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