My Cat Collects Things: Hoarding Behavior in Cats

My cat collects things: hoarding behavior in cats.

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My youngest cat collects things. Here’s Munchkin’s story:

Flossers?

Okay. So you’ve seen those teeth flossers that come in a bag — usually green with floss on one end and a sharp pick on the other end.

Maybe you use them. I do.

In fact, I don’t believe this is unusual, but I will use one, wipe it off, put it down somewhere “safe,” and use it a few more times before I dispose of it. Personally, I don’t think this is a problem as long as you’re the only one using that flosser.

Anyway, my spouse does this too. However, we’ve rarely gotten more than one use out of a flosser since we adopted our youngest kitten, Munchkin, in the summer of 2016.

hoarding behavior in cats
My cat hoards flossers!

Yes, she collects them.

Of five cats, Munchkin is the only one who does this. We also believe she is our smartest cat. This is based on many aspects of her behavior, not the least of which is her collecting behavior.

She takes the flossers we leave sitting on end tables in the living room and hides them under the rug. Sometimes she takes one of them out and plays with it then returns it to the collection. She has two stashes that we know of.

Why My Cat Collects Things: Possible Explanations

In researching this “hoarding” behavior in cats, I have discovered 2 possible explanations for why cats collect things.

Collected Items Represent the Cat’s Prey

In the wild, mother cats will bring dead prey back to their kittens both to feed them and to help them learn what prey is. As the kittens get older, their mother will begin bringing back prey that is still alive so the kittens will learn to hunt.

Many cat parents have observed their cats bring their toys to their food dishes and stockpiling them nearby. The “prey” hypothesis seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation for this behavior.

However, what about male cats that exhibit this behavior? And what about the behavior I have observed in my cat, Munchkin? She doesn’t bring the “prey” to her food dish. She hides it under the rug.

Does My Cat Have a Mental/Emotional Disorder?

We’ve all heard about humans who hoard things. There’s even a show about these people.

My research turned up another hypothesis that could explain why my cat collects things: Cats who collect and hide items are suffering from an emotional problem.

This article suggests that when we adopt a cat or kitten, we don’t know what happened in their early development, and we can’t know what emotional difficulties our cat might be dealing with.

I suppose this could be the case for some cats, but I would have to disagree in our case. We adopted our kitten, Munchkin, from Petsmart, and the organization that had fostered her was Juliet’s House. All their pets are fostered in loving, caring homes, and I believe our kitten was born into that environment.

Maybe My Cat Is Just Super Intelligent

Munchkin. My cat collects things.
Munchkin.

I mentioned earlier that Munchkin is the smartest of our five cats. She understands where the laser pointer light comes from and will go to the laser pointer to “ask” us to play with her. The other four cats don’t seem to have this understanding. We have tried all types of other toys to entertain her. She will sometimes chase the wand snake or feather toy, but she quickly looses interest. We have yet to find toys to match her intellectual ability.

It’s my personal opinion that Munchkin collects flossers because likes them and she’s a smart cat looking for something to do. I would love to hear your opinions in the comment section of this post. I would also love to hear your own stories if you have a cat who collects things.

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2 thoughts on “My Cat Collects Things: Hoarding Behavior in Cats

  1. Our cat Stetson totally hides pens and pencils under the rug … lol way under…? We’ve had him from a tiny kitten and has been loved! Just a wierd thing?😹😹😹😹

    1. I actually think there are lots of cats who collect things. Personally, I think it’s because they’re super smart!

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