Why Do Cats Carry Their Toys Around?

By Category: Cat Behavior, Why Do Cats Carry Their Toys Around
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why do cats carry their toys around? While that may seem odd to you, it makes perfect sense to us. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you why cats carry their toys around and also why cats hide their toys. Spoiler alert: We don’t hide toys to keep humans from playing with them!


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Speed Read


Why do cats carry their toys around? They have their reasons!

Where is he going with that toy?

Why do cats carry their toys around, Thomasina? When my cat gets tired of playing with me, he tries to carry the toy off into another room. Isn’t that sort of weird? — Puzzled

Hey, Puzzled!
No insult, but I don’t think it’s weird when cats carry their toys around. Playing with toys is really another form of hunting for us. When we’ve caught our “prey,” we need to take it someplace where we’ll be safe while we eat. Not that we’d eat a toy, of course, and we do know the difference. But you get the idea.

Although I’ve never done this myself, a favorite place for putting toys away seems to be a water bowl. Makes sense, I guess, since the water bowl is usually near where the cat eats.

Another Reason Why Cats Carry Their Toys Around

Some humans think another reason why cats carry their toys around is because mother cats move their kittens. Maybe that is why some cats carry their toys around. But most of us know the difference between a toy mouse and a live kitten, and when we play we’re hunting, not nurturing. 

When we hunt (or play), we like to always do things in the same order. So watch your cat and see if he does this.

  1. Watch the prey

  2. Pounce

  3. Catch

  4. Eat

  5. Take a quick bath

  6. Grab a nap

Why Cats Hide Their Toys

Humans admit they don’t really know why cats hide their toys, and I’m not going to give away our secrets! But here are a couple of possibilities to consider.

One goes back to that mothering thing. Mother cats like their kittens to all be in one place, and they move them from time to time. While we know the difference between toys and kittens, instinct tells us the things we care about should be in the same place.

Instinct also tells us to divide our territory into places to hunt (play), places to eat and places to store our food where no one can find it (or us) until we’re ready to eat. We know our toys aren’t food, but sometimes instinct just takes over.

Favorite places where cats hide their toys are in a water bowl, in the corner of a closet, in their humans’ shoes, behind or under a big pieces of furniture, inside a cat tunnel or on a perch of the cat tree.

Under the fridge or a piece of furniture that’s low to the floor don’t count as hiding. Most likely, your cat swatted toys there by accident and will be very happy when you get them out. 

Playing Is How We Hunt Indoors

Since your cat is hunting when he plays with you, let him indulge his instincts and wander off with the toy or hide it. Then give him a bite to eat so all that hard work catching something pays off. You can always track the toy down later and put it where it belongs so you’ll know where to find it next time you need it. Meanwhile, he’ll be taking a well-earned nap!

Would you like to read more about cats and toys? Here are five ways to get you cat to play with his toys.

Why Do Cats...

Hate Lion Cuts?
Hide From The Vacuum Cleaner?
Sleep So Much?
Stare Into Space?
See In The Dark?
Knock Things Off Counters?
Love Boxes?
Heal You When They Purr
Know When It's Going To Rain?
Walk All Over People
Follow People Into The Bathroom?

Reading Time: 3 minutes “I have lived with several Zen…