Cats can be pretty quirky creatures, can’t they? If you’re a cat owner, you’ve probably caught your furry friend doing some downright weird things. One of the strangest behaviors cat lovers often observe is cats sticking their heads inside shoes.

If you’ve ever wondered why cats put shoes on their heads, you’re not alone. This peculiar cat conduct leaves many cat parents scratching their own heads in confusion.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: cats may put shoes on their heads due to curiosity, boredom, attention-seeking, comfort, or stress relief. Read on as we dive deeper into the possible reasons behind this funky feline phenomenon.

It Satisfies Their Curiosity

Cats are innately curious creatures. They have a natural inclination to explore their surroundings and investigate new objects. This curiosity is what drives them to put shoes on their heads. It may seem odd to us, but for cats, it’s just another way to satisfy their insatiable need to discover and interact with the world around them.

Cats are innately curious creatures

From the moment they are born, cats are curious beings. They are constantly exploring their environment, sniffing, pawing, and investigating everything they come across. This curiosity is part of their natural hunting instinct, as well as their desire to understand their surroundings.

So, when they see a pair of shoes lying around, it’s only natural for them to be intrigued and want to investigate further.

Shoes are novel, tempting objects to cats

For cats, shoes are novel and tempting objects. They have a unique shape, texture, and scent that pique a cat’s interest. The laces, the heel, and the overall design of the shoe provide an enticing challenge for them. It’s like a puzzle waiting to be solved or a toy waiting to be played with.

So, when a cat sees a shoe, it’s not surprising that they might try to interact with it in unconventional ways, such as putting it on their head.

Inserting their heads provides sensory stimulation

Putting a shoe on their head provides cats with sensory stimulation. Cats have sensitive whiskers that can pick up even the slightest changes in their environment. When they insert their heads into a shoe, they experience a whole new array of sensations.

The fabric or leather of the shoe brushes against their whiskers, giving them a unique tactile experience. Additionally, the confined space inside the shoe can create a cozy and secure feeling for the cat, similar to how they might enjoy hiding in small spaces like boxes or bags.

While putting shoes on their heads may seem like a strange behavior to us, it’s just another way for cats to satisfy their curiosity and engage with the world around them. So, the next time you catch your cat with a shoe on its head, remember that it’s simply indulging in its natural instincts and seeking out new experiences.

They’re Just Plain Bored

One of the main reasons why cats put shoes on their heads is simply because they are bored. Cats are curious creatures with a natural instinct to explore and play. When they don’t have enough stimulation in their environment, they may turn to unconventional objects like shoes to entertain themselves.

Lack of stimulation leads to boredom

Indoor cats, in particular, can easily get bored if they don’t have enough activities or toys to keep them engaged. Without adequate mental and physical stimulation, they may resort to finding their own sources of entertainment. This can include playing with household items, such as shoes.

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, cats that lack environmental enrichment are more likely to engage in abnormal behaviors, such as playing with non-toy objects.

Providing your cat with a stimulating environment that includes interactive toys, scratching posts, and climbing structures can help prevent boredom and deter them from using shoes as play objects.

Shoes become play objects when cats are bored

When a cat is bored, they may see shoes as an interesting and accessible play object. The texture, shape, and scent of shoes can capture their attention and pique their curiosity. Cats may paw at the laces, bat at the shoe, or even try to fit their heads inside the shoe, which can lead to the comical sight of a cat with a shoe on its head.

It’s important to note that not all cats exhibit this behavior, and some may have different preferences for play objects. However, if you notice your cat frequently playing with shoes or putting them on their heads, it may be a sign that they need more mental and physical stimulation in their daily routine.

Always provide toys and activities for your cat

To prevent your cat from using shoes as play objects, it’s essential to provide them with appropriate toys and activities. Interactive toys that mimic prey, such as feather wands or laser pointers, can help satisfy a cat’s hunting instincts.

Puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys can also keep them mentally stimulated.

Additionally, setting aside dedicated playtime with your cat can help strengthen the bond between you and provide them with the attention and exercise they crave. Engaging in interactive play sessions using toys or even just a simple game of chase can go a long way in keeping your cat entertained and preventing boredom.

Remember, a bored cat is more likely to engage in destructive behaviors or exhibit unusual habits like putting shoes on their heads. By providing a stimulating environment and plenty of playtime, you can help ensure your furry friend stays happy, healthy, and entertained.

They Crave Your Attention

Cats are known for their independent nature, but that doesn’t mean they don’t crave their owner’s attention. In fact, cats often seek out ways to grab their owner’s focus and engage with them. One way they do this is by displaying curious behavior, such as putting shoes on their heads.

Cats love your undivided attention

Cats are highly social creatures, and they thrive on human interaction. When they see you giving attention to something else, like your shoes, they may feel left out and want to redirect your focus back to them.

Putting a shoe on their head is a surefire way to grab your attention and make you laugh or engage with them.

Silly antics with shoes get them noticed

Cats are natural entertainers and love to show off their playful side. Putting a shoe on their head is a unique and attention-grabbing behavior that is sure to get a reaction from their owner. By engaging in this playful act, cats are not only seeking attention but also trying to entertain and amuse their owners.

Be sure to devote playtime with your cat daily

To fulfill your cat’s need for attention and prevent them from resorting to unusual antics like putting shoes on their heads, it’s important to devote quality playtime with them every day. Interactive play sessions with toys, scratching posts, and engaging with them in activities they enjoy will help satisfy their need for attention and prevent any attention-seeking behaviors.

It’s Comforting and Cozy

Cats are known for their quirky and sometimes puzzling behavior, and one of the most curious habits they exhibit is putting shoes on their heads. While it may seem like a strange thing for a feline to do, there are actually a few reasons why cats engage in this behavior.

One of the main reasons is that it provides them with a sense of comfort and coziness.

Enclosed spaces appeal to cats

Cats are naturally drawn to enclosed spaces, as it makes them feel safe and secure. This behavior can be traced back to their wild ancestors who sought out hidden spots to rest and protect themselves from predators.

When a cat puts a shoe on its head, it creates a small enclosed space that mimics the feeling of being in a cozy den. This can help alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of security for the cat.

Shoes mimic soft covered hiding spots

Another reason why cats put shoes on their heads is that shoes often have a soft and cushioned interior. This mimics the feeling of being in a covered hiding spot, such as a blanket fort or a cardboard box. Cats are known for their love of boxes, as they provide a sense of privacy and comfort.

By placing a shoe on their head, cats are essentially creating their own mini hiding spot, where they can relax and feel safe.

Consider a covered cat bed or box

If your cat has a habit of putting shoes on their head, it may be a sign that they are seeking out enclosed spaces. To provide them with a more suitable alternative, consider investing in a covered cat bed or a cardboard box with a cozy blanket inside.

These options will give your cat a designated space where they can feel secure and comfortable, without the need to resort to using your shoes as a makeshift hiding spot.

Remember, each cat is unique, and their preferences and behaviors can vary. While it may be amusing to see your cat with a shoe on their head, it’s important to ensure their safety and well-being. Providing them with suitable alternatives will not only satisfy their need for comfort and coziness but also prevent any potential hazards that may arise from playing with shoes.

It Helps Relieve Stress

Stress can cause cats to exhibit unusual behaviors, and one of these behaviors is putting shoes on their heads. Cats, like humans, can experience stress in their daily lives. Common stressors for cats include changes in their environment, loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, and even changes in their routine.

When cats are stressed, they may engage in various coping mechanisms to help alleviate their anxiety.

Stress causes unusual behaviors in cats

Putting shoes on their heads may seem like a strange behavior, but it can actually serve as a stress-relief technique for cats. By placing a shoe on their head, cats create a small, enclosed space that provides them with a sense of security.

This behavior can help them feel safe and protected, reducing their stress levels. Just like how some humans find comfort in wearing hats or hoods, cats may find solace in placing a shoe on their head.

The pressure and darkness can be calming

Another reason why cats may put shoes on their heads is the pressure and darkness that it provides. The weight of the shoe on their head can create a slight pressure, which can have a calming effect on cats.

Additionally, the darkness inside the shoe can mimic the feeling of being in a small, cozy space like a den or a cave. This sense of confinement can help cats feel more secure and relaxed, especially during stressful situations.

Minimize stressful triggers in your cat’s environment

If your cat frequently engages in the behavior of putting shoes on their head, it may be a sign that they are experiencing significant stress. As a responsible cat owner, there are steps you can take to minimize stressful triggers in your cat’s environment. Some strategies include:

  • Providing a quiet and safe space for your cat to retreat to
  • Ensuring a consistent and predictable routine for your cat
  • Using pheromone diffusers or calming aids
  • Introducing new stimuli gradually and in a controlled manner

Remember, if your cat’s stress levels seem excessive or if they exhibit other concerning behaviors, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide further guidance and support to help your feline friend live a happy and stress-free life.


The reasons behind this peculiar cat conduct may never be fully understood. However, curiosity, boredom, attention-seeking, comfort, and stress relief are some of the plausible explanations. While putting shoes on their heads can look mighty silly, it’s perfectly normal cat behavior.

With the right care and enrichment, episodes of ‘shoe-heading’ should be rare. But if you do catch kitty sticking its head where it doesn’t belong, enjoy the laugh, snap a pic, and think nothing more of it!

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