My cats have always been naturally curious, which is a sign of happy, healthy felines, so I’m always happy to indulge in their exploration. But I’ll admit I was confused when I noticed that my cats kept going back to my shoes to explore. They seemed like they enjoyed sniffing my shoes; the stinkier, the better! Naturally, wondering why my cats liked my shoes, I decided to investigate. So, why do cats like shoes?
Cats like shoes because they rely on their sense of smell much more than people do. Shoes contain a familiar scent that cats are naturally drawn to.
While I was grateful to know that they didn’t just like the smell, I still wanted to know more about why cats seem to pay so much attention to shoes. Especially the stinky ones I want to avoid!
Why Do Cats Like Smelly Shoes
Smelly shoes often seem to be feline favorites, boots and heels, and formal shoes that commonly smell more. Even old tennis shoes can catch their attention, while many people wish they could keep them outside!
One thing is clear: the scent doesn’t bother your cat. But why do they like the stronger scents of smelly shoes?
The main theory behind cats paying attention to shoes is that the scents are familiar. While your shoes probably smell more than you do, your shoes smell like you, especially for the keen senses of your cat. Sniffing your shoes is comforting.
Those familiar scents are also the main reason why your cat might decide to curl up with your shoes!
However, that’s not the only possible reason. Your cat can learn a lot from scents and can even taste certain smells and pheromones simply by sniffing them. Your cat might be interested in your shoes because the scents and smells can tell them a lot about your day.
For instance, if you’ve gone to a friend’s house, your cat will probably be able to smell your friend and any of their pets on your shoes.
Of course, there’s another reason your cat might be interested in your shoes. If your cat likes to rub up against your shoes, called bunting, they’re probably trying to claim you as theirs!
Bunting, rubbing their face against people, objects, and other cats, is a way of spreading their scent and pheromones onto the object. When your cats roll around and rub up against your shoes, they are sharing their scent with you.
Since your cats can get a lot of information from your shoes, claiming your shoes this way is a way of claiming you. It’s a good sign that your cat loves you and feels protective of you. Even if your cat isn’t otherwise interested in shoes, they might still display this behavior because they care about you.
Why Do Cats Like Feet So Much
Many cats also pay extra attention to their owner’s feet. Some might be toe biters, but others will groom or even cuddle with your feet. The first time your cat seems interested in your feet after a long day, it’s understandable to be confused.
It’s even more understandable if you’ve noticed that your cat pays more attention to your feet after a long day when they are dirty than right after a shower when your feet are clean.
But your cats like your feet for largely the same reasons they like to pay attention to your shoes. Your feet have a lot of your scent and pheromones in high concentrations. The scent reminds them of you and is comforting and pleasant rather than stinky.
Your natural pheromones even contain some chemicals similar to your cat’s pheromones and catnip, which makes your feet even more, inviting for your cat. Not only do your feet give them a constant reminder that you’re there, but they also smell familiar and a little bit like other cats.
Of course, not all cats love feet. Don’t worry if your cat doesn’t pay much attention to your feet. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It just means that they either aren’t as motivated by scent or that your cat shows affection in other ways.
Why Does My Cat Scratch My Shoes
Scratching is motivated by similar things as sniffing or spending time near your shoes. It’s a way of interacting with the familiar scent. Scratching can also be comforting and highly stimulating for your cat.
For them, while they aren’t spending time directly with you, scratching your shoes might be the next best thing.
Unfortunately, scratching your shoes can wear them down much more quickly, so it’s not exactly the behavior you want to encourage.
If your cat is developing a habit of scratching your shoes, you may want to start keeping them somewhere your cat can’t access, like in a closet or on a tall shelf, or inside a drawer. Alternatively, you can use a shoe de-scenting product to either get rid of your scent or change your scent to something your cat doesn’t like.
After a few times using a de-scenting product, your cat will likely lose interest in your shoes.
Why Does My Cat Want To Lay On My Shoes
Your cat laying on your shoes is a sign of affection like we’ve already discussed, but it can also be something more.
Some cats will seek out familiar scents for comfort when they are stressed or worried. Your cat might cuddle with your shoes more anytime they are stressed, like when you introduce a new pet, move, or start spending more time at work.
They might even cuddle with your shoes because they aren’t feeling well or feel like you aren’t giving them enough attention.
If your cat starts cuddling your shoes more than normal, it’s a good idea to keep a closer eye on them and make sure they’re getting enough entertainment and attention. Watch for other signs that they aren’t doing well, like sudden weight loss or gain, vomiting, or hiding more often than normal.
Why Does My Cat Attack My Shoes
There are several reasons your cat may attack your shoes. They can attack your shoes because they are bored, and it almost feels like playing with you. But they might also attack your shoes just because they are bored or because your shoelaces look like good toys.
The first step if your cat starts attacking your shoes is to hide the laces. Make a habit of tucking the laces into the shoe, so they aren’t tempting your cat quite so much.
If that doesn’t help, try adding regular playtime with your cat to your schedule. If they spend more time playing with you and toys, they’re less likely to want to play with your shoes.
If nothing else works, try keeping your shoes somewhere your cat can’t reach. Eventually, they’ll lose interest.
Why Is My Cat Obsessed With My Shoes
Paying attention to your shoes is one thing, but if your cat starts to act obsessive, especially if they lash out or hiss at you when you try to take your shoes away, that may be a sign that something else is going on.
One of the most common causes of obsessive behavior in cats is anxiety. It’s common for cats to spend more time with shoes and other sources of your scent when they are anxious, so getting more protective of shoes is a common sign.
Unfortunately, there isn’t always a clear answer when your cat starts acting anxious. You can talk to your vet about possible causes and treatments for feline anxiety, but it may take several possible solutions before you see improvements.
Without treatment, anxiety in cats can get worse, as can their obsession with your shoes. Feline anxiety can progress into OCD-like symptoms and cause progressively more problems as it gets worse.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Shoes
Oddly enough, biting your shoes can be a sign of affection, just like other shoe-related behavior. Observe your cat to make sure they aren’t chewing or trying to bite off pieces of the shoe, which can be a sign that they’re trying to get salt or that something else is wrong. (Plus, pieces of shoe can be a foreign body risk if your cat swallows some by accident!)
But if your cat looks like they are just biting playfully, you can use any of the methods we’ve already discussed to discourage them without worrying about any underlying problems.