I have three cats right now – three old man cats that snuggle up in my lap together. And while they all share being snuggle bugs in common, there’s one trait that they don’t all share – an obsession with shoes.
Now, 2/3 are pretty into shoes. Like this fluffy one of them likes shoes considerably and will hang out and sleep by them and even sit and sleep on my feet when I’m wearing shoes sometimes…
His name is Athos and he was into my shoes even back before I adopted him, when he was an abandoned kitty hanging around our home to hang out and because the neighbour feeds the stray and feral cats, so he’d wander on over after he visited her open kibble kitchen.
But that’s nothing like the love affair my OG Avery. This fella’s been with us since 2013 when he stole our hearts after us finding him in need of food in our garden. And in all that time, his love affair with shoes has never died – never even lessened.
For Avery, sometimes it feels like smellier the shoe the better? And he also likes socks, but not to the same extent that he likes shoes.
And definitely not as much as a kitten I was fostering for my brother – Cleo – who would steal socks in her mouth, hoard, them, and run off and play with them whenever she was bored. She’d bunny kick ’em like nobody’s business!
And bite ’em. She really likes biting. Even tags…
But that’s besides the point. Well sort of. I guess the point is that liking shoes and socks is fairly common for cats, and they all seem to have their own relationship with shoes and socks and things.
Here are my theories with regards to why cats like shoes in particular, and your cat could be fond of more than one aspect of shoes, so you never know, maybe they hit everything on this list (and potentially more!) for him or her.
But if you can think of more, or if you think one’s way more likely to be the reason why your cat likes shoes, I’d love to know in the comments section! It’s so much more fun figuring out why cats like things when I have stories from others to compare my own experiences to!
6 Reasons Why Your Cat Might Like Your Shoes
1. Your cat loves you + cats love things that smell like what they love + shoes smell of you = cat loves your shoes.
This is a formula and a half, but I firmly believe it covers at least 50% of the explaining with regards to Avery’s behaviour with shoes.
Cats are very scent-driven. They use smells to communicate and understand a lot about their world and what’s happening.
And your shoes, although stinky and gross smelling to you (because we’ve evolved to be disgusted by the smell of feet!), to your cat probably just smell super potently of you – and not just “stink.”
I kinda feel like we all have a unique smell and that cats can smell it better than we can. And the more of our smell a cat can smell, if they love us as pet parents, the more I feel a cat is happy and at ease, and the objects that are covered in our scents (like our beds, or blankets or socks or shoes!) definitely seem to all fit into this category.
2. If you’re wearing shoes that have been outside, your cat’s probably loving the smells you’ve picked up.
No question about it, cats love new smells.
Whenever you bring something into a home with a housecat, that cat’s gotta smell it, even if it’s stinky and gross to them – like coffee! Which my cats have gotta sniff every time I have it just to confirm it’s not something they’re missing out on sniffing.
New smells from outside? A weird combination of plants and just random other objects that you’ve trampled all over? Stupendously interesting for them to sit there sniff analyzing.
3. Shoes are a pretty darn decently shaped object to scent, and many cats love scenting.
There’s something about the shape of a shoe that makes cats seem to adore scenting it, even when they’re not big on rubbing their faces on things in general.
It’s got holes in it for a cat to poke his hands through, he can grab it, hug it even, have it in different positions that make it very interesting as an object.
Athos is one such cat, who doesn’t typically scent in general, but will definitely be a Rolie Polie Olie playing with my shoes and scenting them every so often when I leave them on the floor.
That being said, when it comes to scenting for Avery, it’s constant for him.
He loves it, can’t get enough, and in his case, I’m thinking…
4. Your cat probably likes your shoes because they smell like you and because your cat wants them to smell like him, too.
Avery’s the type of cat who will rub his whole face all over an object, scenting it by having the scent glands on his face and the side of his mouth cover that object in his own smell.
He loves to do this with the corner of my laptop, the corner of my phone, and all sorts of things that smell of me because I use them quite often, or that I pay a lot of attention to, so I feel like there’s also an element of #1 mixed in with this #2 reason.
Heck Avery even scents me sometimes, by rubbing his face on my face. Okay not sometimes, he does this a lot!
Maybe cats love it when their scent mixes with the scent of people they love? This doesn’t seem too farfetched to me.
Cats typically do this type of scenting because it helps them relax in the moment, but also because smelling their scent everywhere makes them less anxious overall.
Like a way of “nesting” for them I suppose and making what’s in a house feel more like home, and that their mark has literally been left on it (sans any marking via peeing).
This makes sense because if they’re outdoors, cats communicate something is their territory by using scent and that lets other cats know that this is that cat’s home.
If a cat’s strayed further than before, outside their territory, they’ll know even if they can’t see particularly well because their smell won’t reach that new area. Thus, areas that they’ve scented help them create something like a home base.
A house that smells of the people you love as well as yourself – same as particular objects that have both these scents – well that sounds like peak smell-based comfort to me.
5. Your cat may really like playing with your shoes.
Shoes are also the perfect shape and size to bunny kick. I have a couple cats who like to bunny kick, and yes, sometimes I’ll use shoes in lieu of there being a better toy around for me to use. And yes, they love it.
I’ve bought a number of different cat kick toys over the years, and all my cats that like kicking have loved these – mostly Avery and Cleo, and sometimes Athos.
Though he also likes just basic catnip pillow pouches every so often. Usually prefers the bigger kicker toys, though!
6. Your cat may really like the texture of your shoes.
Avery’s not much of a biter, but my plastic Birkenstocks that I wear around the house have a bajillion and one bite marks in them from him.
He loves that texture a lot and is pretty obsessed with it.
He’s obsessed with other shoe textures too, like fuzzy slippers for winter that have sheepskin interiors.
He sniffs those and sticks his arms in them and kneads in them, and I’ve actually never worn them before because they were a gift and I decided I prefer to wear socks with plastic slippers instead.
But he treats them both as a comfort thing and a toy, it seems. And those two textures he’s preferred far more than the texture of any other shoe I’ve had in the house. So yeah, might be a texture thing.
Your Thoughts on Cats Liking Shoes?
Why do you think cats like shoes so much? Do you think it’s about the scent? About them being a good texture or shape? That they’re fun to play with? Something else?
Do you have any cats who like shoes? What do you think made them like them? Anything I listed above? Any other explanations?
Would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and stories on this topic in the comments section down below!