Cat stealing pet toys 'could be a variation on hunting behaviour'

Monday, 3rd September 2012

A 'cat burglar' that keeps stealing pet toys from his neighbours' homes may displaying a variation of hunting behaviour, a vet has said.

Pete Wedderburn, a vet writing for the Daily Telegraph, was commenting on a letter from a reader whose male neutered cat has stolen many soft toys from other houses.

The cat plays with the toy and sometimes places it carefully next to his food and water bowl.

"It's thought to be a variation on hunting behaviour, with cats bringing 'trophies' home to share with their den-mates," he wrote.

"In this case, the fact that the toy is placed on his 'dinner table' makes it even more directly comparable with hunting."

Dr Wedderburn added that the animal is probably disappointed when he realises his trophy is not edible.

This behaviour, he said, shows that cats are predatory animals and not just balls of "fluff and charm".

Ethologist Paul Leyhausen once suggested that the reason cats present their pray to human owners is because they adopt people into their social group and share excess kills with them.