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Cat Tips

"Punishment" is not in your cat's vocabulary. Positive reinforcement of good behavior -- with treats, attention and verbal praise -- solves most kitty behavioral problems.

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Expert Q&A

Why does my cat remove shoes from the shoe rack downstairs and bring them into my room, one by one? There are over 13 shoes in my bedroom every morning! My cat is neutered and it just picked up this new habit.

Why does my cat remove shoes from the shoe rack downstairs and bring them into my room, one by one? There are over 13 shoes in my bedroom every morning! My cat is neutered and it just picked up this new habit.

Think about shoes from your cat’s perspective: They smell interesting -- with scents of leather and whatever you’ve stepped on while wearing them. They often have fun, dangling laces or straps. And most importantly, you’re interested in them.

Your cat has probably observed your ritual of wearing the shoes, returning them to the shoe rack and then taking them off the rack again. If the routine is good for you, why shouldn’t it be for your pet?

On the downside, your cat could be falling into a compulsive behavior syndrome. Like the similar problem in humans, this can be caused by stress or boredom -- and it may even have a genetic component. According to the ASPCA, some cats with this problem will eat fabric, suck wool, lick excessively, chew or pull hair and engage in other unusual behaviors that can be harmful to your cat when performed compulsively.

As long as your cat is not engaging in such potentially dangerous activities, redirect its energies by playing with a pole toy that can mimic the teasing movements of a shoelace or strap. If your cat engages in sufficient playtime with you or others in your household, it will most likely lose its interest in your shoes.

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