What types of cats do not have tails?
What the cat's tail wants to tell us
These bursts of energy are “probably a valve for pent-up excitement”, frustration, fear or pent-up energy, says Siracusa.
Cats “need a lot of stimulation and behavioral enrichment”, that is, species-appropriate employment. Outside they would climb trees and hunt prey. Our home is safer, but not very stimulating. Sometimes there is stimulation, but not pleasant, for example when the cat is being chased by children.
But cats are nimble hunters themselves, says Nicholas Dodman, author of The Cat Who Cried for Help.
Both experts agree that the bursts of energy could be pent-up energy that would be used to capture prey in the wild.
In addition, cats are crepuscular. The rest of the time, they mostly sleep or doze, collecting energy that they later use to confuse us.
An alternative explanation would be that the cat may be running away from the police.
Our reader Helen Farmer Kowalchuk has a real criminal kitten. Her black and white cat steals socks, jewelry, business cards and “everything she can wear,” she says. The animal steals the items from "handbags, cupboards and chests of drawers" when the family is not at home or "when they think we are not home."
But Kowalchuk isn't the only one whose cat has sticky paws. The internet is full of stories of thieving pussies from England to California to Australia.
Some cats have some sort of retriever instinct, just like dogs, Dodman says. But just like the sudden bursts of energy, this stealing of objects could also be an expression of an instinct: the instinct of a hunter who has nothing to hunt. These cats could simply mechanically bring some sort of “prey placeholder” into their territory, often near their food bowls.
Often it is females who bring back prey to feed or teach their offspring, but males also show this behavior.
There is also a specifically bred breed of cats called Munchkin, which is nicknamed "Magpie cat" in English-speaking countries. Cats of this breed often steal shiny items and save them for later, says Dodman.
We were lucky again. The only thing our cat has ever stolen from us is our hearts.
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