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Owners report more sock dragging cats
Dear Dr. Spiegel, I read with amazement your answer to the reader who wrote about the cat dragging socks around and making noises as he did so. I bet you get more letters than mine letting you know people's cats have been doing this ritual. I have a female cat who has been with me over five years and for the last three years has been dragging my socks all over the house and making a meowing sound while she does this. She then proceeds to "paw" up and down on the sock and then lay on it. Sometimes she brings the sock into the room where I am, but most of the time she goes into another room. I have always thought this was a bonding action. The sound is indeed mournful and sad sounding. I have never felt I was a participant in this action of my cat. She seems to be doing this for her own mysterious reason. Sincerely, J.W., MD
Dear Dr. Spiegel, I read your article concerning the male cat that liked to drag socks and scratches the floor during his meal. I also have a male, Harry, neutered cat (almost 11 years old) who has similar behavior. He prefers to drag silky items (my fine washables that are drying on a rack in my basement) and like the cat in your article, cries mournfully, like a coyote howl. It usually occurs four or five times a year, always very late at night. The item may be left in the kitchen, the living room or halfway up the steps. The next morning he has no attachment what-so- ever to the item. I thought it was just a weird quirk, he is a wonderful cat in every other way... very loving and playful. I don't think this is a playful behavior, however, because when he wants to play, he hides and runs out to me, or "attacks" something on the floor and runs away. The behavior seemed harmless, so I really didn't think too much about it until it was mentioned in your article. My other cat, Gumby, used to paw the floor next to his bowl during a meal like the cat mentioned. This only occurred occasionally when he was eating canned food. Both cats are on dry only now and the behavior has stopped. My co-worker has a female cat who paws at the floor when she finished her canned meal. It is definitely not stretching as you had mentioned, more like the pawing they do after visiting the cat box. My co-worker thought it was a statement... "I hate this food and it smells like it should be buried!" Another thought may be some kind of marking of territory, "I'll be back, don't touch it!" Sincerely, F.N., Wilmington
Thanks for your letters. As I wrote previously, "What drove the behavior in the first place is really a mystery." I have yet to come across any mention of this behavior in the literature, and it has never come up in any of the cat cases I've seen. So really the best we can do at this point is speculate. As more reports and descriptions of these behaviors (or any phenomena) surface, common features become apparent and conclusions can be drawn with greater certainty. Animals undoubtedly are an endless source of fascination, and there are still many mysteries that have yet to be discovered and unraveled. The more information we can share with one another, the more our levels of awareness and understanding can grow. So I appreciate your letters. On that note, a word of encouragement to dog owners/co-habitators. The cat people are dominating with respect to letter writing. And I know how many of you dog people feel about cats. This is an interactive column, so your stories, questions, and comments are essential to generate discussions of topics, traits, and tendencies that interest you