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Why Do Cats Like Shoes So Much? 6 Reasons for This Behaviour

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cat peed in shoes

Cats are interesting creatures who never fail to amaze their owners. Alongside their quirky behaviors and unique personalities, cats do a lot of things that seem unexplainable or downright strange. One of these behaviors is a cat’s love for shoes.

You may be wondering, what is so special about shoes? Cats don’t seem to care about the type of shoe they have taken a liking to, or whether it is your favorite pair that you keep locked away in your cupboard. You may be angry at the moment when you find claws and bite marks on your shoes, or even finding your cat sleeping over the shoes you need to wear.

There are many interesting and amusing reasons your cat may have taken an interest in your shoes, and this article will inform you of them all!

So, why do cats like shoes? Let’s uncover the mysteries…

1. Ownership or Territory

British Short-hair Cat beside shoes
Image Credit: horvathta, Shutterstock

Cats mark their territory to claim ownership over certain objects in the environment to show that it is theirs. This also helps to communicate to other cats that the area the shoes are in is their territory.

This behavior is quite common if you have multiple cats in the household because they will try to distinguish territory amongst each other.

2. Comfort

cats sleeping beside the shoes
Image Credit: ElyPenner, Pixabay

Your shoes smell like you and your cat may find your scent comforting and soothing. Your cat may find it enticing to sleep or rest on or near your shoes, much like they would do with laundry lying around that carries your scent.

They will most likely not chew or claw at the shoes, but rather rest their head on the shoe. In some cases, small kittens will even snuggle up in the shoe since cats find small spaces safe and comforting to sleep in.

3. Attention

Cat rubbing against owner's legs
Image Credit: Evan Abram McGinnis, Shutterstock

If your cat regularly messes around with your shoes and you reprimand or retaliate to their behavior, they may use this as a tactic to get your attention. Cats are highly intelligent and can easily tell which actions will get the most interactive reaction out of you.

Even if you provide your cat with lots of cuddles and playtime, your cat may find it amusing to get your attention differently. This is typically not a cause for concern, and it is part of your cats’ natural social abilities.

4. Smell

black kitten beside shoes
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

Aside from your smelly gym or long-wear shoes, your cat may find the smell of the shoes appealing. Your bare feet pick up many different scents around the house or outdoors and when you put your shoes on the scent is transferred to the shoes. You may have picked up another cat’s scent-marking, or any type of enticing scent that is drawing your cat to your shoes.

5. Boredom

cats in the shoes
Image Credit: aloiswohlfahrt, Pixabay

If your cat is not getting enough enrichment and mental stimulation, they may result in playing with your shoes. They will tussle and roll around with your shoes in an attempt to entertain themselves.

Cats don’t know that shoes are well, ‘shoes’. They may rather see them as a toy and amusing play item.

6. Shoelaces

brown boots
Image Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters, Pixabay

If you have ever seen the classic cat videos of cats or kittens playing with yarn or string, you can connect the similarity between these items to your shoelaces. The shoelaces move around easily when moves by your cat and this entices even the most stubborn cat. It also piques their interest, and your cat may even play with your laces while you are wearing them. There is something about small, moving objects that cats just find entertaining or fascinating.

Preventing This Behavior

If your cat has decided to use your shoes as a toy, you can try redirecting their attention to real cat toys that are more appropriate to play with. Some cats can be fussy when it comes to the type of toy, they want to play with so it may take time to find the right toy for your cat. There are plenty of options on the market and there’s a perfect toy for every cat.

1. Keep the Shoes Out of Reach

It’s a good idea to keep your shoes in an enclosed space like a cupboard or drawer where your cat cannot get to them. This is a long-term solution to stopping your cat from finding your shoes. However, if you forget to close the door to your shoe stash, you might find a surprise when you look for the pair of shoes you want to wear.

Image Credit: BUMIPUTRA, Pixabay

2. Find Ways of Entertaining Your Cat

If boredom is the issue, you may want to find ways to mentally stimulate your cat. This is where interactive toys come in handy. These are typically battery operated and may have noises and moving objects that entice your cat to play with. Cats also need some human attention now and then. Even the fussiest cat appreciates a cuddle or pet, or maybe even lying next to you on the couch while you watch television. Human interaction is important in providing your cat with social stimulation and comfort.

3. Provide Other Resting Options

If your shoes have become your cat’s new resting spot, try providing them with soft areas around the house to lay on instead. Cats love to sleep in a warm and sunny spot, so try providing a variety of different sleeping areas for your cat. Whether on a window ledge or top of a low cabinet.

If your cat or kitten tries to sleep inside of your shoe, they are most likely looking for a dark, cozy, and private area to take a nap. There are different-sized cat hideouts you can try and coax your cat to sleep in. The Hepper Cat Pod is a great option! Some cats may even settle for a small box placed on its side with a blanket covering the entrance.

cat on top of cat tree


If you have a shoe-loving feline, it can be interesting to learn the reasoning behind this fascination. Cats never fail to entertain their owners, and there’s nothing cuter than a cat taking a nap on top of your shoes. Even though some explanations for this behavior are on the negative side, there is a solution for every problem and once you determine why your cat is so enticed by shoes, you can successfully rectify this behavior.

Avoid reprimanding or punishing your cat for its interest in shoes. Remember that they do not know any better and have no ill intent, just love!

Featured Image Credit: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

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