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Is your Cat a Secret Hoarder
An unusual hoarder
There's a new type of hoarder I want to discuss. Have you ever lost something in your home or found something in the yard and didn't know how it appeared.
Cats can collect objects just like people do. They can suffer the same emotional problems. We've all seen and read about people who have collected vast amounts of items in their homes.
They are often referred to as hoarders. Some people are hoarding animals but there isn't much information about animals that hoard.
Well, there may be a member of your family that doesn't know they've got a problem. Your beloved pet may be stealing from the neighbors to feed their secret obsession. Imagine tripping over large piles of odd clothing pieces, stuffed toys, or shoes in the laundry room. It's not that noticeable until one day you fall over a large sneaker and don't know who owns it. Go out to the family doghouse and you may find it's full of doggie toys or socks. Where did they come from?
“Is my puppy finding this stuff in the trash or is he looting the neighborhood?” Soon you'll find yourself avoiding eye contact whenever a neighbor waves. Oh, the shame of it.
Feeding the Hoarding Addiction
The family pet can land an owner in hot water with its barking, digging, fighting, or doing its business on the neighbor's lawn. But did you know that cute little puppy or cat would turn out to be a sneaky nighttime thief? Yes, your precious kitty could be the neighborhood “cat-burglar!”
While your dog may steal laundry off the clothesline in the daylight hours, your cat wanders the night, sneaking into people's homes through the pet entrance.
If you are shocked and embarrassed, it's alright. This is normal behavior for some animals.
Animals have issues also and just like humans, they may have a hidden hoarding problem.
There have been some “klepto” cats in the news of late. The sticky fingers or paws were caught in the act on a surveillance camera. There was the culprit leaving a house through the pet door, with someone's “undies” in their mouth. The cat's owners didn't know this was happening because the ill-gotten goods were hidden in a secret location. The stash was growing so large that it was not so well hidden any longer.
Jack the stealing cat
Animals have some of the same bad habits and obsessions as many humans do. The humans that hoard, are said to have are emotionally and or mentally ill, and needed to feel safe with all these things surrounding them.
Pets may feel deprived of social contact, or were abused and abandoned as babies could very well develop these hoarding tendencies.
Perhaps surrounding themselves with objects such as soft stuffed animals and clothing reminded them of their siblings.
I'm taking an educated guess but it sounds plausible.
How to break the Addiction of Hoarding
Humans have a difficult time recognizing a hoarding problem so imagine trying to get the dog or cat to see that. Should we laugh it off? If you have understanding neighbors, then maybe.
The cat, dog, ferret, or pot bellied pig that steals is trying to tell you something. Do you spend enough time with them? Do you know their earliest history? Were they abused and abandoned?
Some pets found at shelters had horrible beginnings and no one knows for sure what they went through before you adopted them. Understanding and patience is the key to helping them break this addiction or obsession. Adopting an animal is a lot like adopting a child. You may never know what they endured before you found them.
Ferrets doing what they do best
Helping your pet with stealing issues
See if these suggestions help:
spend more time and pay more attention to them.
don't leave the dog in an outside kennel or crate at night. It fosters their feeling of abandonment and hostility.
reassure the pet as much as possible
Have someone such as a friend ,relative or pet sitter come to visit if you are away
Leave your pets favorite treats
leave some article of clothing with your scent on it with them
call home and leave a voice message so they know hear you (some pets will become more agitated by this)
bring them a toy each week for good behavior
Final Thoughts on the Klepto Kitty and others
Not all pets are ideal for your situation. Matching a pet to the owner's personality, lifestyle, and schedules are important. It's also wise that a human hoarder does not get a pet. That's the start of something much worse.
If you don't want an animal in the house or to touch you, don't keep them. If you want them to feel wanted, pay more attention and walk the dog on a regular basis and play with the cat. Dogs are very social creatures and need social and physical contact.
Make or buy a cat house or obstacle course. They love to figure things out and find new places to explore. That may be one reason why a wandering cat searches the neighbor's house and yard at night.
Ferrets also love to explore and dig. They collect many objects and stash them in every nook and cranny of the house. make sure you understand each animal's traits before getting one.
© 2011 Stacie L