My cat has a few favorite toys that he goes nuts for. More specifically: a plastic ball with a bell inside and a small stuffed mouse.

From time to time when I put my shoes on in the morning, I'll find one of these toys in my shoe. At first I thought it was coincidental and that it happened on accident. However, this is a recurring behavior and I have caught him in the act more than once.

Is this a common behavior? Is there any explanation for why he does this?

  • My cat puts them in my purse. More often on days when I'm going to work:)
    – JoAnn
    Nov 27, 2016 at 3:19

3 Answers 3


This is a common behaviour. There are a few different ideas as to why cats seem to like shoes in particular as stash locations.

  1. They are small spaces that seem hidden, which cats like - they want to hunt things and then hide them for later, and the shoes seem like a good sneaky way to hide them away from the other people in the house (or other animals), as they are small and hard to see into and easy to overlook.

  2. They are bringing you a present! Cats tend to hunt and bring the kills to whoever they care for (other cats, people, etc), and since your shoes will retain a lot of your personal scent, especially if they are ones you wear often, the cat will associate them with you, and thus put the toys there for you to find as gifts and proof of their hunting prowess.

  • I don't find toys in my shoes, but they're definitely being left in the bed intentionally. A friend's cats have been known to leave their toys in backpacks (not necessarily hers). Until someone can design an experiment that tests why a particular cat is doing this, I think we're stuck with guesswork.
    – keshlam
    Jun 10, 2015 at 22:41
  • 4
    I think it was Jackson Galaxy who said that shoes are the thing in the house that smells most like you without being you.
    – Oldcat
    Jun 10, 2015 at 23:43

Beside what Ashley Nunn said, I think they simply love shoes. My cat never put toys into shoes. But he loved playing with my natural leather slippers! I guess it might have to do with the exciting smell.

When he was a baby, he could stick his whole head inside, and did it all the time so that his whiskers broke off at the points they got bent. Knowing how sensitive cat whiskers are, you can understand how much he loved it, to have them bent so sharply and not even care. So maybe your cat plays with your shoes too, and leaves his toys inside.


In my experience, the reason toys are in your shoes is purely an accident. Cats tend to move very fast when playing with toys, and in my experience the toys end up in the shoes because of that. I'll often find my cats with their entire arms inside my shoes trying to get a toy out that they lost.

  • My experience is the complete opposite! I consistently find toys in my boots. I could agree it might be an accident if it only happened once or twice, but that is not the case for me.
    – JohnB
    Jul 15, 2015 at 13:03
  • Oh ya, it can be very intentional. Thanks for the gift buddy!
    – Steve
    May 8, 2023 at 21:21

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