Why Does My Cat Lick the Bottom of My Shoes

Why Does My Cat Lick the Bottom Of My Shoes? [ Behavior Guide ]

As a cat owner, you’ve probably had the experience of owning a cat that is mad about shoes. In general, we can say, about your feet, right?

I’m sure it’s a little bit weird, to be honest. Seeing your cat lick the bottom of your shoes… the smell, it’s not blossom, right?

You probably asked yourself, why does my cat lick the bottom of my shoes?

In fact, such behavior can be explained by the fact that cats are drawn to pheromones and substances that they familiar with.

For example, their owner’s smell…you! or some outdoor smell stuck in your shoes. And yes, it is perfectly normal for cats to lick the soles of shoes. 100%!

Phew! At least now you can take a breather from persistently pondering about whether your cat is normal for going wild over generally musty items such as shoes, socks, and bare feet. But just to further convince you that all is well with your feline companion, let’s read on to find out why cats are obsessed with feet, lying on shoes, and licking their paws.

Why Are Cats Obsessed with Feet?

Often times, you’ll notice that some furry felines absolutely love chewing, sucking, or rubbing their faces all overshoes, socks, or feet.

What drives their unusual foot fetish? Experts point to several of the following theories for answers:

  • For one, cats’ scent glands are located in their cheeks, so they rub their faces on shoes and socks to cover scents that have possibly been acquired during outdoor trips. In doing so, they re-stake their claim to these objects, in this case, their beloved owner.
  • Related to the first point on outdoor excursions, shoes and bare feet also carry scents from the ground they walk on. Consequently, owners return home with a variety of different scents that give the cat an idea of where their owner has been and what he/she may have encountered along the way.
  • Another reason provided is that human beings’ scents are highly concentrated at the feet, which are sites of pheromone production, and by extension, on shoes and socks. By rubbing, chewing, or sucking a beloved owner’s feet, the scent has a comforting effect on the cat.
  • Chewing, nibbling, or sucking on shoes or socks may also be a variant of an oral fixation often seen in cats that have been weaned too early.
  • Aside from the possibility that cats may simply like the taste of salt in sweaty footwear, they react to human pheromones in sweat very similarly to the way they react to catnip, which has an ingredient that mimics feline pheromones. The result is excitement, euphoria, predatory playfulness, and/or sexual behavior, depending on the cat.

So the next time you see your feline companion raving about feet, remember that it is probably because of one of the above factors and not that they belong in an asylum!

Why Does My Cat Lick the Bottom of My Shoes

Why Does My Cat Like Lying on My Shoes?

Cats’ obvious obsession with shoes goes beyond sniffing and batting at them, to even sleeping on, in, or near them.

why do cats love sleeping on shoes so much? Why do some cats even steal and hide away shoes?

Cats love lying on shoes usually for one of two reasons. First, shoes carry familiar smells. Cats are naturally inquisitive and will investigate new scents, but will also seek out the smells of things that are familiar to them and that make them feel safe and comfortable.

Cats themselves create and secrete their own uniquely scented pheromones in glands located throughout their body, including their cheeks. So when your cat rubs their face up against you or an object (also known as bunting), they are staking a claim to their territory and letting any other passers-by know that they’ve been there before.

As cats generally gravitate towards things with similar scents to theirs, and in this case, beloved owners, sleeping on your shoes is simply your cat’s way of saying they are comfortable in your company and love you!

A slightly related reason as to why cats love to make a bed out of your shoes is because your shoes could represent a comfort zone to them, which they use to self-soothe.

Objects that smell like the owner, such as clothing or shoes, can provide comfort to your cat during stressful situations.

Sleeping on your shoes could be a means of self-soothing for your cat while you are away during the day.

It may even be why your cat doesn’t just stop at resting on your shoes where you leave them but may actually move your shoes to another location.

This is simply an act to keep you close by.

How Can You Stop Your Cat Lying On Your Shoes?

You could opt to block your cat’s access to shoes by storing them away in a closet or in a sealed plastic bin or container. In case that attempt fails, you could also try to redirect your cat’s attention to another item, that may have the same smell.

However, knowing why your cat sneaks off with your shoes does not make it any less annoying. Especially when that shoe is part of a pair you intend to wear for work or a special occasion!

With cats’ stubborn nature, trying to pry away the shoe from your feline friend can be an uphill task.

Why Does My Cat Lick the Bottom of My Shoes

Is It Normal for Cats to Lick Paws? [Even Though Paws Are Clean!]

Yes, it is very normal for cats to lick their paws even when they’re clean! But why?

Cats generally groom themselves several times a day. Even when they have not touched any food with their feet, they will still lick their paws. The catch is that there is a special reason as to why cats lick their paws. You may notice they do it even in scenarios where they haven’t necessarily touched anything dirty. So, back to why..?

Although cats are extremely flexible, there are some areas of the body that their tongues simply cannot reach. For example their ears, nose, the back of their head, and the area around their mouth and jaw. For such sites, they use a front paw as a “washcloth.”

First, they dampen the paw by licking it. Then use the wet paw to wipe down the specific area to be cleaned.

Cats actually clean themselves with their tongues. Why? their tongue have rough surfaces that can “comb” and separate each hair while also distributing saliva to loosen dirt particles.

This cleaning ritual is performed several times in every area. They just want it to be perfectly cleaned, and when they are through, they will clean the very same foot that was used as a washcloth.

Such immaculately clean creatures, aren’t they? Try telling that to a dog owner!

Indeed, we humans can definitely take a lesson or two from cats, when it comes to meticulous personal hygiene!

Final Thoughts

Cats make great pets and are ideal companions for individuals who are engaged in full-time work.

They are much less expensive to keep than other larger pets and require minimal maintenance as they often prefer to self-clean. The occasional water bath would do no harm though.

While clothing pieces like shoes and socks may seem like the last place on earth we’d want to hang out, cats love them because they remind them of their beloved owners. So the next time you see your furry feline companion dashing off with a shoe to snooze in it somewhere under a cushion, think twice before you yell at the poor critter.

It’s simply a means of them saying, “I love you lots!”

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