Allegra’s Baby

tortoiseshell cat with catnip toy

Allegra has a very special toy. It’s not fancy; in fact, it’s an ancient toy that actually belonged to Feebee, who has been gone for twelve years now. She dug it out of the toy basket one day, and apparently decided that it was going to be her “baby.” It’s a soft, plush little stuffed mitten with a tail that has a pompon at the end. She never actually plays with it, but yet, it’s clearly very special to her.

She picks it up and carries it around the house, chirping and singing and sometimes yowling. It sounds a bit plaintive, a sad little cry, as if she had lost something. The first time I heard it, I thought she’d hurt herself! As soon as I look for her when she does this, she drops the toy and stops, which is why I haven’t been able to get a video of her with the toy.

Amber had her own version of this special toy: a green and tan fuzzy mouse that I got for her when she first came to live with me. For the entire ten years that she was with me, that mouse was her special “baby.” Like Allegra, she’d pick it up, carry it around the house, crying and yowling. Amber would often sleep with her “baby,” something I’ve not seen Allegra do. However, Allegra brings her “baby” into the bedroom after I go to bed at night, and it spends the night on the bedroom floor – always in the exact same spot.

What’s really interesting to me is that Ruby won’t ever touch it. Ruby considers every other toy in our house hers – but yet, she hasn’t once played with Allegra’s blue mitten. This was also the case with Amber’s green and tan mouse. Even though Buckley was already a senior when she came to live with us, she still liked to play, but she never once touched Amber’s special toy. When Allegra joined Amber and me as a 7-month-old kitten who would go after anything that moved, but she never once played with Amber’s special mouse.

So what is going on here?

There are a couple of theories as to why some cats do this. One is that it has to do with a cat’s maternal instinct, and that it mimics what they would sound like when they carry their kittens. Some say that this happens especially in cats that never had a litter. While that might be true for Allegra, Amber blows that theory out of the water, because she had a litter of kittens when she was rescued. I’ve also heard of male cats doing the same thing.

The other theory is that this has to with the cat’s hunting instinct and that it is a way of announcing that they caught their prey, along the lines of “see what a great hunter I am!” That theory doesn’t really make sense to me, either, because I think that if that were the case, they wouldn’t be so secretive about it and just drop the toy when they see me looking at them. It seems like they would continue to bring the toy to me, waiting for some sort of praise.

Maybe it’s just one of these mysteries about cats that we’ll never know the answer to.

Does your cat do this? Do you have any other theories about this behavior?

61 Comments on Allegra’s Baby

  1. Linda
    July 30, 2017 at 11:36 am (10 months ago)

    my cat Cougar does not care if i see her with her momma/baby some times it’s hard to tell which it is…she also lays down with it like she want’s it to nurse then kicks out with her back legs. she always keep one end in her mouth and kneeds.

    Reply
  2. SP
    May 9, 2016 at 9:48 am (2 years ago)

    We have a female cat, that we adopted as a stray from our yard after she had a litter of kittens. I observed her in the wild, carrying a rodent back to her babies, and howling/yowling for them to come out from hiding under the shed. When they came out, she dropped the offering.
    She now lives in our home, and does the same thing with a small foam ball, daily. As soon as you acknowledge her, she drops the ball, just like she did the rodent with her kittens.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 9, 2016 at 12:09 pm (2 years ago)

      That’s really interesting, SP – it would certainly explain the behavior!

      Reply
  3. Kristen
    April 2, 2015 at 8:59 pm (3 years ago)

    Yes! My Tortie does the same exact thing. She has a felt “string” that was attached to a plastic wand. I had to cut it off because she kept getting stuck places. She just turned a year old and has been doing this pretty much since we brought her home. She will not play with this toy and doesn’t really appreciate any one touching it. I have woken up some days and found it near me on the bed and just think it is the sweetest thing ever. So funny to hear that she is not alone in this behavior.

    Reply
  4. Sara
    March 12, 2015 at 9:18 am (3 years ago)

    This sounds to me like the behavior of a mother cat bringing prey to her kittens. Queens make different sounds for dangerous prey, like rats and and snakes, vs harmless things like mice. Our queen once brought a young chipmunk to her two kittens and chirped like you describe to alert them. She then stood back and let the kittens interact with it, but also made sure their food didn’t escape. That may be why they drop it when they see you. They want to teach us helpless kittens how to hunt.

    My indoor female, Sabre, doesn’t do that, though she did have a litter of kittens. It’s instinctual behavior that may or may not manifest whether they’ve had kittens or not.

    Just my observation.

    Reply
  5. Kelly
    March 11, 2015 at 11:29 pm (3 years ago)

    My boyfriend’s male cat does this with a fleece wand toy. He lines it up in a straight line, lays on it while crying, then carries it off to drop in the clothes basket. Other times he plays with the toy as it was designed to be played with.

    Reply
  6. Steve howard
    March 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm (3 years ago)

    For everything I believe I know about cats, they so often display amazing behaviors that I can’t understand. Today my girlfriend fed her cat late after spending the night here. When we went in Mousie stuck her head out from behind a curtain and chided her for several minutes. It wasn’t her usual talking, it really seemed like she was lecturing her for not coming home last night. I was expecting her to start pointing a finger during the speech.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 12, 2015 at 6:09 am (3 years ago)

      Oh yes, nothing like being scolded by a cat!

      Reply
  7. Maribeth
    March 11, 2015 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

    We have a male Snowshoe Siamese who does this. As soon as we go to bed at night he will find one of his many sparkly toy balls and carry it to our bedroom, “singing” all the way. We always thank him for his nice delivery and serenade before he joins us to sleep at the foot of the bed.

    Reply
    • Sonia
      March 13, 2015 at 11:42 pm (3 years ago)

      My male persian cat does the exact same thing, with the balls I make from his own fur, when I groom him.

      Reply
  8. Tracy
    March 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm (3 years ago)

    My one cat does this only when she wakes up and thinks she’s alone. She’ll walk around the house mowing so pitiful until you call her and she heard your voice. She then immediately drops the toy, quits meowing and runs to me. I thought she did this because she says abandoned as a kitten. The. Mama cat and rest of litter just disappeared one day and it says just her left outside in the woods by my house. Needless to say she has been with me since that happened.

    Reply
  9. Glogirly
    March 11, 2015 at 5:38 pm (3 years ago)

    OMG! I don’t know how this post from 2012 showed up in my Facebook news feed, but it did and I’m SO happy to find some information about this. This has puzzled Gloman and I more than anything else about our cats. Katie had a green frog. It’s not a cat toy…just a small plush toy, but quite large for a cat. She’s had it for 8 years and takes very good care of it. She never chews it or bats it around. But she carries it in her mouth and makes a very sad sort of yowl. The moment she sees us or we say something to her she drops it. I’ve been trying to get a photo of it for years. I also don’t really think it’s a prey thing…it seems to be more of a security blanket for her. She carries it all around the house. It’s always on the steps outside our bedroom when I get up in the morning. The most amazing thing is that Waffles, who steals ALL of Katie’s toys and food… well, everything… he NEVER touches Katie’s frog. I’ve actually been thinking about writing a blog post about it. (if I can get a photo!)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 12, 2015 at 6:13 am (3 years ago)

      Interestingly, Ruby never touches Allegra’s baby, nor did Buckley touch Amber’s. I hope you can get a photo of Katie’s baby!

      Reply
  10. Lisa
    March 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm (3 years ago)

    My old girl Meg carries her chirpy birds sometimes and yes she “feeds” and “waters” them in the cat food and water dishes. She gets a bit angry when I take them out of the bowls. Usually though she waits a couple days before putting them back in the dishes. None of my other cats play with her chirpy birds…..I don’t think because they know they are her babies as much as she will get them for it! Occasionally one will forget and try to play with the birds ok nly to be set straight on the house rules….Meg’s house rules….

    Reply
  11. Sherry
    March 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm (3 years ago)

    My male cat does this with a little chick-a-dee toy he has. Yes he plays with it and will bring it to me to play fetch, but other times he just carries it around. At night, many times if can be found next his food dish where he placed it for safe keeping.

    Reply
  12. Maureen
    March 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm (3 years ago)

    I have two cats: a 15 year old tortie named Rosie and a 4 year old all black named Daisy. They don’t play together and the young one is a bully with the old girl. After I go to bed at night, Daisy has a plastic tube she picks up and walks around with, crying. She does it sometimes during the day as well, dropping it when she sees I see her. She also found my bag of coin rollers and brought them out to the dining room one at a time, crying and leaving them under the dining room table over the course of a couple of days. When I picked them all up there were 19. I’m not sure why she does this either but I thought I’d share because it’s so cute.

    Reply
  13. John Borrego
    March 11, 2015 at 2:11 pm (3 years ago)

    Maggie was our pregnant rescue cat who came to us a year ago. She found a toy that our dog had never cared for (a plush caterpillar in rainbow colors about a foot long) and began carrying it around the house, wailing plaintively. Of her three kittens, one (a female) also has this behavior with various soft toys. I wonder if we are projecting our emotions on to these cats when we think they sound sad. Maybe they have a special “I’m-carrying-a-toy” voice that has some mysterious meaning in cat language.

    Reply
  14. Carol
    August 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm (4 years ago)

    My cat has a small stuffed mouse he carries in his mouth and cries loudly. He goes and gets it every night and brings it to the bedroom. Every morning, he brings it out to living area. It’s like a kitten to him. He is taking care of it not announcing that he caught prey. Hard to believe for a male cat to exhibit maternal behavior, but he does.

    Reply
    • Katie
      March 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm (3 years ago)

      My boy does this too! But his toy is a soft rainbow striped ball – he had about 6 of them and does this with all of them.

      Reply
  15. becka
    January 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm (4 years ago)

    I have 2 cats both female. Both very indiviual in there cararters. The oldest is the others mum. But its just recently they have started to play together. Which is nice to see. As elle (the oldest) hasn’t always been the most affectionate cat. But now she will play an sit an even follow me for attention. Where oddball (the youngest) has always been affectionate an playful. But she does have this cute thing she does when she has a toy. She carrys it about crying. Sometimes for me to play an sometimes just to be noticed. She used to have 2 cat nip pillows. Which she completely distroyed an loved every minute. I got her another one but she’s not took much interest in. But she’s happy. She comes to bed when I say bed time. Even like her tummy rubbed. Her mum ella doesn’t like it. But. On one occastion. She was crying for hours not constantly. But it was because she wanted me to go to bed. When I went to bed she then proceeded to lay on the pillows right next to mine. She hasn’t done it since. But was a bit strange for her. Where oddball still has a bit of one of the old cat nip pillows which is maybe why she won’t go near the new one. She has took all the contents out of it though. They are rather cleaver cats they no when I have been shopping ani have come home with treats. Love my cats

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 13, 2014 at 6:46 am (4 years ago)

      They both sound wonderful, Becka!

      Reply
  16. Em.
    February 12, 2013 at 6:48 am (5 years ago)

    My sterile she-cats are behaving that way. Also male of my parents is doing so. My friend’s cat (male) used to hunt mices and rats and leave dead rodents on her pillow. The same thing are doing my girls with plush rats.. So actually we are sleeping with cats toys ;))

    Reply
  17. Bernie
    February 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm (5 years ago)

    While I had Steeler, she had this little cloth yellow duck. She would throw, chew and play with it all the time. It was never a surprise to see her just pick it up and take it wherever she went. Why the yellow duck I will never know. Maybe it is because it was the first cloth toy I bought her after I took her in. Whatever the reason, I have kept that little duck. It is not for the new kittens, to play with. It was Steelers and it stays on her little cremation box.

    Reply
  18. Harry
    February 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm (5 years ago)

    Our Maine Coon Marsh had a special toy for almost his entire 16 years, a felt mouse. In later years, it was a mouse only by appelation; if you saw it you would have thought it a wooden oval partly covered with moist, chewed fuzz. Many times I tried to replace it, and once even found the exact same mouse, but he always looked at me as if he was disgusted that I thought he would be tricked into some new thing. Mouse would disappear for days or weeks on end, but I’m sure he always knew where he’d put it, because after we hadn’t seen it for a while he’d show up with it in his mouth. It wasn’t a play thing, it was a possession that he carried through life with him, putting it here or there depending on his mood. My intent was always to make sure that Mouse was cremated with Marsh after he died, but sadly in the distress his last few days I forgot to ask the vet to send it with him. It sits on top of his urn, now.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm (5 years ago)

      I thought about having Amber’s special toy cremated with her, Harry, but ended up keeping it. It’s comforting to me to still have it, since it was clearly such an important part of her life for her.

      Reply
      • Harry
        February 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm (5 years ago)

        I still feel some guilt that I didn’t send it along with him. I think he would have wanted it more than I do… It’s kind of hard to get comfort from a dried spit-coated chewed up wad of goo. I did always want to know, though – why *that* mouse?

        Reply
  19. Pam
    October 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm (6 years ago)

    I have a cat that does this with a play toy. She brings it to wherever I happen to be and I can hear her announcing her way with it all through the house. I always assumed she just wanted me to play with her but then she really doesn’t seem all that eager to play when she gets it to me. They are funny family members aren’t they? I find Gracie’s special toy in bed with me many mornings. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 12, 2012 at 6:38 am (6 years ago)

      Awww, I love that Gracie even brings her special boy to bed, Pam!

      Reply
  20. Debi
    May 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm (6 years ago)

    These are too cute. My cat Buddy, he’s 4 years old. He has a baby also, a fluroscent green furry monkey, a mid size one. He plays with it often. A few times I would come home, he would have his baby on the edge of his water bowl. LOL too cute! I married a year ago, we have a second floor, Buddy carries his baby upstairs, making these meowing sounds, drops it by the bed then lays by the closet doors. He starts meowing as soon as the lights go off at night, sometimes it’s deep, he makes different pitches/tones, sometimes he will say ma ma It’s like he is trying to talk. It is so clear that is what he is saying. We went on our one year anniversary, since then he meows, talks all night, keeping us up. My husband has a cat also, very loving, who is 12 years old so Buddy has a companion. I’ve also tried giving him other toys like his baby, wants nothing to do with them. Any suggestions on the night meowing to stop it? Love all the stories!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm (6 years ago)

      Debi, I love the story of Buddy’s green monkey! You could try playing with him just before you go to bed – spend 5-10 minutes and really tire him out. It may help stop the nighttime meowing.

      Reply
  21. Karin
    April 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm (6 years ago)

    Ingrid:

    My kitten torti Graziela does the same: it takes a fish of genre, takes it in the snout for the house and meows pitifully; and if you speak to him, release. Definitively, his toy is a baby!

    Karin

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm (6 years ago)

      That’s so cute, Karin!

      Reply
  22. Suzanne
    March 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm (6 years ago)

    I have one kitty that does this quite regularly, or at least something similar. She picks up one of 3 toys (she has access to many more, but she’s only ever done this with 3 of them), and then walks to where ever we (the humans) are in the house while making some pitiful mewing sounds. They sound so pitiful mainly because she has the toy in her mouth. We can actually tell which toy she is bringing based on how muffled the mew is. Anyway, she drops it a few feet away from us and looks up expectantly. It took us *years* to figure out what she wanted us to do. She’d look offended if we threw the toy, thinking she wanted to play, and she’d walk away. If we ignored her, she’d come closer to us and stare, but not bring it any closer to us. Eventually we figured out she was bringing us a present. The first time we went and picked it up and told her thank you, she climbed in a lap, laid down and purred. She was not a lap kitty up until this point. Now she brings us presents for lap time quite often.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm (6 years ago)

      I love this, Suzanne! I’ve never heard of a cat doing this before: presents in exchange for lap time. How sweet! And I bet she was so relieved when you finally “got it!”

      Reply
  23. Esme
    March 9, 2012 at 12:19 am (6 years ago)

    Ingrid, This was quite the interesting post to read about what other cats do. I cannot say that Penelope does any of this-although there has been the crying before-initially we would always spring out of bed thinking something was wrong. Whatever the reason is-Allegra has a toy she cherishes.

    Reply
  24. Joanne
    March 8, 2012 at 2:43 am (6 years ago)

    Our male cat, Montana, carries a “special” Cloth Christmas stocking ornament. The first Christmas he was with us he kept pulling it off the tree and would leave it all over the house including on top of the clean laundry. He liked it so much we stopped putting it away with the Christmas ornaments so he has it all the time now. He seems to carry it and play with it at night. He often leaves it on my husbands side of the bed as a “gift” for his Dad I guess.

    Reply
  25. nicky
    March 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm (6 years ago)

    My cat does this! Especially at night when the lights go off. I have to coax her into bed by telling her several times “it’s bedtime now”… But she has a mouse shaped toy with a fluffy tail she carries from room to room, yowling and crying until i praise her hunting skills.

    She also has those 0.99cent mice that end up in the sink, in our shoes, under rugs, on top of the couch…. Odd places indeed!
    Im glad we are not alone!

    Reply
  26. Ingrid
    March 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve been smiling all day reading all your comments about the unique “special” toys your cats have and how they behave with them. Thank you for sharing your stories!

    Reply
  27. Elizabeth
    March 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm (6 years ago)

    My blue point mix used to do that to a small stuffed bear we named Blu. When I got him as a gift for my 15th birthday, Blu was the thing he instantly found comfort in when he came home with me. For a while Blu was pretty big compared to October, and it was really funny to watch him try to drag the bear around everywhere he went. As he started getting old he drag Blu outside with him when he’d follow me out to the laundry room or the trash bins so it came to the point where Blu wasn’t looking too great. I ended up having to go to the dollar store I had had gotten Blu from in the first place to get a few of the same bears. I rubbed them all over his cat bed and he was so pleased! He tried dragging along two at once, but that didn’t work out so well haha.

    Currently, my tortie Two Face isn’t very attached to anything, her sister Batman has a collection of string dolls my boyfriend and I got her through a little coin machine at an electronics store. She has a pig, a cat, a puppy, and a devil type string dolls that she lovingly cleans places in her cat bed.

    Reply
  28. Erin
    March 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm (6 years ago)

    Ingrid I have a 5 year old female who doesn’t really pick up toys what she picks up is the kids clean rolled up socks but she makes the same sound and she also makes the sound when she is looking for our 1 1/2 year old cat as well…….. She has a few other quirks as well it started out with the kids socks and now she was started pulling clothes out of drawers and out of the hamper and leaving them on the kitchen floor so as far as a theory goes I have no idea.

    Reply
  29. Sheree
    March 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm (6 years ago)

    I have 4 female cats and one of them does this – my Violet. Ever since I adopted her she has had a special mousie. It was originally a pink spikey mouse, but the problem is she chews on it and eventually it becomes a small scrap of fabric, then it disappears! Now she has a green mousie she is doing the same thing too. Oh and one other thing – we play fetch with mousie and only mousie. She carries mousie all over the house constantly. I’ve never had a cat do this before.

    Reply
  30. Ingrid
    March 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m really enjoying all these stories of your cats’ special toys, and the speculations behind the behavior. Keep them coming!

    Reply
  31. Jessica Bronder
    March 7, 2012 at 11:33 am (6 years ago)

    It’s interesting that Allegra carries around that mitten. My oldest boy Monster Man does that everyone once in a while with one of his strings (a long ribbon of fleece). He will carry it around and howl up a storm. It scares me every time because I think something is wrong with him. I find he does that when he can’t find his daddy, my boyfriend, and wants to play.

    Either way, it’s all cute cat behavior.

    Reply
  32. Connie
    March 7, 2012 at 11:25 am (6 years ago)

    Jack walks around with his fishie. Twee walks around with what ever she “catches” (she isn’t the brightest cat who ever lived) Some of the other members of The Crew do it from time to time.

    I don’t believe it is a mothering thing, because I’ve watched many a mother move a baby, and they NEVER cry when they do it.

    However..

    Kittens often cry out to mom when doing new things. It is always disconcerting the first time a litter uses the litter box because I am ingrained to listen for distress in a litter box and see it as a bad thing. But they call out to mom to say “HEY! Come watch what I’m doing!! aren’t you proud??” I imagine that once kittens learn to hunt they will do the same thing, bringing home their catch to mom to inspect to make sure they caught actual food. Cats in the wild learn what is food by what mom brings home. If she doesn’t bring it they don’t eat it when they get older. in real life this tendency makes it difficult to introduce new foods to an adult cat. Annoying for us, but a safety mechanism for them. So mom would most likely inspect any food a kitten catches to make sure it is safe.

    I often feel my cats are calling out to me HEY! watch what I’m doing.. aren’t you proud?? then “present” it to me for inspection.

    as for having a favorite toy, why not? they are emotional creatures after all. I”m sure that mitten had a scent on it that Allegra found pleasing and decided that she wanted it around her.

    Reply
    • Lisa Richman
      March 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm (6 years ago)

      Connie, that’s so interesting – and funny – about kittens learning to use the litter box!

      Faraday did that…sort of … when we first got him. Hubby was using the facilities, Faraday walked in, looked at the toilet, looked at the sink, looked back at hubby…then jumped up into the sink, squatted and proceeded to imitate hubby!
      Marty was so proud of his prodigy – but neglected to tell me about the incident.

      So I get home later, Faraday starts yelling at me with his “come here!” meow, I go into the bathroom to see in in the sink, waiting for me to arrive so he can squat & show me what he’s learned: “See mom? Aren’t you PROUD of me?”

      Horrified, I scooped him up, dashed downstairs to the litter box, scolding him the entire way. Wonder if I damaged his psyche by doing that…!

      Reply
  33. cindy
    March 7, 2012 at 11:10 am (6 years ago)

    My neutered male Squee will do with with a SPECTACULAR toy that I’ve either just bought or one that he’s recently rediscovered. He yowls and if i ask what’s wrong the yowl turns into his high pitched mew, like he’s “startled” back into reality. Maybe in males it’s more of a prey thing and in females it’s more of a baby thing. My furry soulmate Teatea would drag around one of those poingy furry mice on a spring on a piece of wood…dragging the whole kit around with the big wood base dragging between her back legs…yowling the whole way. It was quite a sight!

    Reply
  34. Nicki
    March 7, 2012 at 10:16 am (6 years ago)

    My Boots has a string of Mardi Gras beads that are his favorite toy. He will pick them up and carry them in his mouth crying because he is looking to play. He is a very vocal cat, especially when he wants something, so his crying to play doesn’t surprise me ever.

    Our other kitty Bruin doesn’t carry anything around, but she does have a security blanket. It is a Boston Bruins blanket that we keep on the couch, and as soon as she lays on it she starts purring (she is not a big purrer either) and suckling on the blanket. When I wash it she goes looking for it, and gets a bit upset when her brother decides he wants to sleep on it!

    Reply
  35. Bernadette
    March 7, 2012 at 9:50 am (6 years ago)

    All her life, my Sophie would pick up small and soft things like hair scunchies, washrags and even underwear if I had folded it and not put it away (came home from work to find it all over the house), and announce her find and carry them around. Sometimes she would actually bring these things to me, more often she would carry them from one place to another or set them down and come to me, but she also did this when I wasn’t here, and did this repeatedly, all day long. She never told me what it was all about, though she told me lots of other stories.

    Now Stanley dragging my old pink sweater around by its scruff, that was perfectly clear.

    Reply
  36. Caren Gittleman
    March 7, 2012 at 9:31 am (6 years ago)

    this was a most charming story. I am wondering if Fee Bee’s spirit is in that mouse and offers Allegra some comfort?

    Cody has an infatuation with mostly his red mouse. He won’t chirp when he carries it but he deposits it in the kitchen (no matter where i put it) He usually puts it by his bowl which I have heard is a cat’s way of saying THANK YOU for his food!

    Reply
  37. Amy
    March 7, 2012 at 9:09 am (6 years ago)

    My old cat Sneezers did just the same thing with a stuffed dolphin that was half as big as she was. Like Allegra, she would drop it as soon as she saw you seeing her. I always interpreted that as cat pride. Like, “What? I don’t love that stupid dolphin. I was just moving it out of the way.” Sneezers is gone now, but I still have her dolphin.

    Reply
  38. Debi Lefever
    March 7, 2012 at 8:48 am (6 years ago)

    You have described exactly what my Tortie, Chrissy, does with her felt gloves including the chirping and yowls. She makes sure that one of the gloves is always brought to me wherever I am including if I go downstairs, she will run upstairs and bring it down and vice versa. I make sure that I praise her and tell her “Oooohhh, you brought Mommy your baby!” She then drops it and takes off running over to the bathroom like it exilerates her that I took notice. She will then come back out of the bathroom and stand in the middle room (it’s all open) and cock her head to the one side and look at me like “Did I do good, Mom?” She is sooooo adorable and she has been doing this for as long as I can remember and she is 10.5 years old. In fact, she was actually born on Sept. 11, 2001. I had to buy her the felt gloves because she would steal ANY gloves that she would see including my contractor’s gloves when he was building my downstairs bathroom. He would come back each morning and his gloves would be GONE!!!! LOL Soooo glad that he loved kitties too and got a good laugh out of it.

    Reply
  39. Deborah Julian
    March 7, 2012 at 8:46 am (6 years ago)

    Our George had a red cord that he just loved. It was not brought into our home as a toy. Years ago, my husband volunteered with the NYC marathon and was given ID which was attached to this long red cord. When he got home, he took the cord off his neck and the minute George saw it, he cried with enthusiasm and ran to get it. It became his favorite possession. He dragged it around and we played with it until it fell apart. I tried finding other cords that were similar but was never able to find one that got the same response. I have always wondered what it was about that special item. We adopted George at age 2. Did it remind him of something he had as a kitten? Or maybe it was something that he just really liked.

    http://www.DeborahJulian.etsy.com

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  40. Jessica
    March 7, 2012 at 8:37 am (6 years ago)

    My tortie Remy does this too. She does it when she is playing with her pipe cleaners. (I twist pipe cleaners into spirals with my finger. This is the best cat toy ever! $2 at the dollar store for 50). She howls like she’s lonely. Then chirps and mews.

    Reply
    • Pam
      March 13, 2015 at 7:27 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, pipe cleaners!! Cheapest cat toys ever! One of my cats likes to deposit it into his water bowl. Ah well, dry it off & toss it! Hear we go again!

      Reply
  41. Catherine Whalen
    March 7, 2012 at 8:23 am (6 years ago)

    The theory concerning the hunting instinct is quite plausible. Cats will look upon you and any other animal and human within the household as a part of their family, their litter mates if you will. Growing up, I had a cat, who was allowed to be outdoors. She would bring us her catches. Mother cats will do this with their kittens to teach them what to eat and as an enticement to hunt. Your cats are most likely doing the same thing. Instincts are strong in some individuals and all but absent in others, much like us humans. The choice of the toy is important. For the cat it is a strong trigger. It has the right scent, shape, size and feel for them, and each choice is very specific to the individual cat. I am not surprised that the other cats in the family respect each others favorite toy. Social boundaries do matter to them and it would just be highly rude as far as they are concerned. 🙂

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  42. Jenny
    March 7, 2012 at 8:18 am (6 years ago)

    My Kara has a complicated version of this. She pounces here wooly green mouse, “kills” it, and brings it to me crying all the way. Then she drops it by my feet and looks up in my face. If I put the toy to my lips, she is happy. Then she take sit and puts it to bed! She had one litter of kittens while still a kitten herself (she’s fixed now) and adopted a motherless baby who arrived here.
    Bennie treasured his Steelers jersey (cat sized) when he first arrived. Never played with it, but carried it about like a security blanket.

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  43. Kathie Cheek
    March 7, 2012 at 8:13 am (6 years ago)

    I have a male cat that did this with a small toy mouse. He did it for about four years or so and then the toy mouse went missing. He doesn’t seem to want a substitute for it and doesn’t seem to miss it. He used to bring it to me early in the morning wanting me to play with him with the mouse for a while. He would cry with it in his mouth as he came to my room and then he would purr when I played with him using the mouse. I never knew why and still don’t.

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  44. DeniseL
    March 7, 2012 at 7:51 am (6 years ago)

    My male tabby, Bones, does this with a stuffed fox that is waaaaay bigger than he is. He drags that thing everywhere, up and down the stairs, crying all the while. He does not stop if he sees me looking at him…he doesn’t do it so much anymore, now that he has a new, younger kitty companion, but I still find Oscar the Fox in all sorts of places.

    Reply
  45. Marg
    March 7, 2012 at 7:34 am (6 years ago)

    I had a cat, BB, that used to do that. She had a toy and she walked around with it just trilling like crazy. I feel like they think they have killed a treasure and they are showing you their good work. BB lived outside so she was used to killing mice and things. And I was keeping her inside, so maybe she missed the hunt. Did Allegra ever live outside??

    Ingrid, the people’s house next door has been foreclosed and there are two cats, one of which is a tortie and a very nice cat. She is around nine years old, so maybe you could ask any of the tortie people, if they could possibly give her a home. I feel so sorry for her. I am going to try to get the woman to leave her over there. She is talking about taking her to the shelter on Fri. where she will get put to sleep. Sorry, I just had to ask.

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  46. Ed Trumbo
    March 7, 2012 at 6:32 am (6 years ago)

    Our first male Dubya does this with toys occasionally. He’ll toss around a catnip mouse or rubber ball for a while, then carry it in his mouth and roam the house making that plaintive cry. Seems an odd way to declare victory, but I suppose it’s just one of those cat things that make sense to them.

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  47. Max the Quilt Cat
    March 7, 2012 at 6:04 am (6 years ago)

    HH had a friend who had a Scottie who had a false pregnancy. They went through the whole pretend labor and delivery scene, then the Scottie gathered up all her toys and nursed them and carried them around like babies for 6 weeks, then they became toys again. I don’t have a theory about it…. just saying that it’s mighty strange behavior.

    pawhugs, Max

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