Your cat is all over your shoes and even sleeps on them occasionally. Dogs might eat your shoes, but cats will cuddle and rub their faces on your shoes, which might seem weird if you don’t understand cat behavior. Why do cats love to cuddle your shoes?
Your cat cuddles with your shoes because they have your smell all over them, and your cat loves your smell. Your shoes represent comfort to your cat because they love and trust you. If your shoes have laces, your cat will play with them and “hunt” them. Your shoes might also be their territory.
Cuddling on your shoes, clothing, or bedding is normal cat behavior, but let’s keep going to find out more.
Your Shoes Smell Like You and Your Cat Loves It
Your cat is your biggest fan and will seek your smell wherever it can find it. Your shoes contain your sweat and unique smell that your cat loves. So, when you notice your cat rubbing against your shoes or sitting on them, they feel a sense of comfort and love when sitting on them. Your cat is also adding its smell to your shoes to co-mingle both your scent and your cat’s scent. It’s what bonded cats do as a way to stay close.
There is a theory that cats view their human companions as big, hairless cats that need caring for, so your cat is showing care and love by making sure your shoes have their smell on them.
Your Shoes Represent Comfort to Your Cat
You smell like comfort to your cat, and cuddling on your shoes can be very comforting to them. Like your computer, books, blankets, or clothing, any of the items you use is fair game to cat cuddles because they all smell like you. Cats have a very refined sense of smell, and they associate your smell with safety and love, so when you’re at work or away on vacation, they will cuddle on your things, including your shoes, for comfort.
If you need to leave home for a few days, in addition to providing for their physical needs, you should provide a place for your cat to sleep that has your scent, such as your shoes or article of clothing. Even a blanket from your bed will comfort your cat when you’re gone.
Shoes With Laces Is a Game for Your Cat
If your shoes have laces, and they are sticking out, they are fair game for your cat to play with and chase. When a cat sits on your shoe, that means they’ve caught their prey and wish to continue playing with it. Any laces not tucked inside the shoe enticed your cat to pounce on and play with because it might resemble a snake. Snakes are predatory for cats, so if they perceive a threat in the house, they must eradicate it immediately.
Shoes are toys for your cat. They will also hide other toys in your shoes, so they find them later. Before putting on your shoes, you might want to check them for any rogue cat toy that might be inside.
If you don’t want your cat tearing up your shoelaces, you might consider leaving your shoes tied when you’re not wearing them.
They Are Marking Their Territory on Your Shoes
Cats have scent glands on their heads and paw pads, and when they rub against your shoes, they are marking their territory with their scent glands. That means that they claim you as their territory and aim to keep you.
Sometimes, cats will mark their territories by spraying them with urine. Since there is no good way to remove this smell completely from your shoes, you might have to throw them out. You could try to wash them if they are mostly fabric shoes, but even then, the urine smell can stay in the shoe’s rubber soles.
Leather shoes hold the smells more than any other type of shoe. If your cat pees on this type of shoe, you can write them off because it will not come out very well. To avoid your cat doing this to your expensive leather shoes, you may want to put them away out of your cat’s reach when you’re not wearing them.
Your Shoes Might Be Warm
It could be that your shoes are still warm after you’ve taken them off. So cats, being opportunistic creatures, will find any warm place and sit there. If your shoes are warm, that is where your cat will remain until they aren’t warm anymore, at which time they will find another warm spot.
It’s the same with anything else that you use, whether it be your laptop or the chair you were sitting in once you get up. Cats search for warm places because it takes less energy for them to stay warm. After you’ve worn your shoes all day, they will be warm enough for your cat to sit on them and warm up once you get home.
A cat seeks out warmth wherever they are, so perhaps try providing a warm blanket off the floor to entice your cat to sleep on that rather than your shoes. You and your cat might be happier for it.
How to Reclaim Your Shoes
There are times when your cat will run off with one of your shoes to hide it, which might be frustrating for you when you’re running late for work or school. Other cats like to take socks and hide them under the bed.
When she was a kitten, one cat took her human’s socks and straws and hid them under the bed. When her human friend tried to find her socks, she looked under her bed to find an entire pile of socks and straws. The kitten was very proud of herself and sat on top of the pile as if to say, “These are now mine.”
If your cat loves doing this with your shoes, there are some ways to reclaim your shoes while keeping your cat happy.
Try the following steps to reclaim your shoes.
- Buy a plastic bin or plastic shoe boxes with a cover to store your shoes when not in use.
- Redirect your cat’s attention from your shoes to an old t-shirt or blanket that has your scent on it.
- If your cat doesn’t want to let you near your shoes, try distracting your cat with a favorite toy, laser pointer, or their favorite treats.
- If all else fails, and your cat is fiercely protecting your shoe from you, try using one of those grabbers to get your shoe without getting scratched or bit.
- Try misting your shoes (if they are not leather) with some citrus essential oil diluted with water.
Since cats climb, it’s not effective to place your shoes up high in the closet. Your cat will jump up to the shelf and get them despite your efforts.
When your cat sleeps on your shoes, it is telling you how much it loves you. The behavior is not meant to annoy you or inconvenience you. Your cat is doing the opposite by using their special language to communicate their affection.
Shoe cuddling doesn’t harm your shoes, and it cements your cat to you in a way that nothing else can. But if you don’t want the cat hair coating your work shoes, try putting down a pair of old shoes you don’t care about that your cat can cuddle on and enjoy.