Why do my spayed female cats walk around my house with howling with the socks in their mouth?
I have three cats who are all over ten years old who dig in sock drawers, laundry baskets, or laundry chute closet to retrieve socks, mittens, toddler under garments, or small stuffed toys. After they retrieve these items they wander about the house howling as loud as they can as if they are looking for something. Sometimes they will stash the item somewhere and other times they will just drop it an d leave it lying where they left it. I have socks, mittens, and my daughters underwear lying all over the house. Why do they do this and what can I do to stop or discourage this behavior?
Most of my cats have done similar things. (All male cats) I think it's a natural behavior related to cats catching and carrying around prey they've caught. When I had cats that were indoor/outdoor, they'd catch a mouse or bird and circle the outside of the house howling with a strange sound as they were carrying what they caught and then they'd drop it on the front porch as a little 'surprise' for me. It seemed like the howling sound was to announce to everyone that they caught something. My indoor cats will carry around their little mouse toys or anything small enough for them to carry, howling like you described your cat doing and then leaving the items in different spots. My one cat even got into the bathroom and was carrying around a small powder brush once. I don't think you can stop their behavior completely other than try to put clothing, etc. out of their reach. Get an assortment of small mice toys from the pet store and leave those around the house. As long as they're the right size for your cat to carry, they'll probably use those instead of your stuff.
The socks, mittens etc obviously upset them and since you can't read a cat's mind you aren't going to ever know why. What I would do is try to be really careful to keep this stuff away from them....substitute pummel toys filled with cat nip, lots of other toys, lots of catnip and scratch pads....put the catnip on the scratch pads.....Howling indicates distress so try to eliminate the items stimulating it.
I had a female cat do this. She would bring live mice into the house to my mom who was scared to death of them! I found my mom on a chair once yelling at my cat to kill the mouse! lol
I know with their young they do this to teach them to hunt. Even though they are fixed the instinct is still there. The yowling is them calling to the young (or you). They may not even know why they do it since they are fixed, but instinct still tells them to "hunt". I think the toy mouse idea is a good one from carolynkaye.
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