Cats and dogs can love collecting things. Therefore, in this article we will reveal the reasons for their behaviour.
This habit is very common
This habit is very common and well known in other species, such as squirrels or ants, and represents an adaptive function; it is a behavior that is actually necessary for their survival. In other species, however, this behaviour is often disorganised and compulsive, with no apparent natural reason.
The most obvious example of this pathology is the case of Diogenes syndrome in humans, a compulsive hoarding disorder that sometimes occurs in domestic species such as cats and dogs.
Both dogs and cats tend to hide some of their food, sometimes toys or other items such as socks, shoes, clothes, remote controls, etc. in a corner of the house.
Sometimes, if it is a hoarding disorder, it is accompanied by a protective behavior towards them that escalates and leads to an aggressive reaction if a human or other animal approaches their hiding place.
Like crows, squirrels or ants, dogs and cats may have an innate tendency to hide and store objects due to genetic inheritance.
Even if they are not short of food today, they retain this behaviour, which was instilled in them in the days when hunting was not regular. For example, when hunting was successful, they would hide scraps to return to later in times of scarcity.
This sporadic behaviour at certain times should not be a cause for concern and requires no professional intervention, but will require intervention when it becomes a persistent compulsion.
Hoarding disorders can develop
Hoarding disorder can develop in dogs or cats during periods of stress, anxiety, frustration, pent-up energy and boredom. In this situation, the behavior is almost stereotypical and serves as an escape and relief.
It is an activity that they enjoy and gives them meaning, but it does not solve the underlying problem and requires our help. It can also be an activity that attracts attention. In these cases, dogs or cats will tend to “steal” items intended for humans rather than objects of their own kind, and we will chase or interact with them to recover the stolen item. In this way they may draw our attention to themselves.
When this happens, we must negotiate with them calmly and evenly and offer them something in return. When they let go of what we want back, we give them a reward and accompany it with verbal and physical praise.
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