Putting Butter on Your Cats Paws When You Move


I have been told that when moving to a new house with your cats you should cover their paws with butter to stop them roaming and getting lost. Does anyone know why?

Zebody from Scotland


Recent AnswersAnswer this Question

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel 9 2,498 05/02/2006

I can't think of why that would work. It's listed as a myth here:


ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By gretta (Guest Post) 05/02/2006

maybe it keeps them busy licking instead of fretting over the move.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By CF (Guest Post) 05/02/2006

Cats are very much about smells. They mark their territory by smell. In addition to spraying, you've probably noticed a cat rubbing certain oily parts of their bodies against a post, tree, rock, person, etc. When they rub against objects or people, their scent get left on the object or person. In addition, a bit of that object's or person's scent gets rubbed onto the cat. When they wash, they become even more familiar with the scents of their territory, as they inhale those scents with every lick.

I heard from my sister that you're supposed to put butter on a cat's nose after moving. The cat will clean his nose by rubbing with his paws and licking the butter off his paws. In doing this, the scents of his "new" territory will become more quickly imprinted on its brain. The idea makes "scents" in theory. I don't know if it really works.

I ran some web searches, and found many sites that seek to explain the mysterious behavior of our feline friends. Try http://www.xmission.com/~emailbox/whycat.htm , http://www.perfectpaws.com/help1.html , http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/behavior/a/aa051303b.htm , or
http://www.cat-olholics.com/rubbing.html .

CF (guest)

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Autumn (Guest Post) 05/02/2006

The thought was that they would spend so long licking the butter from their paws, they would forget about trying to get back to the old place and instead settle at the new one. It's not a good idea though.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By JoAnn 3 40 05/03/2006

Ha!...do that to my cats and they WILL run and hide!!! I think that's definitely a myth!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Carol Churchill (Guest Post) 05/03/2006

Yes! it does work! I have done this several times and it worked every time for all my cats!!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Jennifer Nelson 1 314 05/03/2006

Oh, I would never do that to my kitties, but mine don't go outdoors.

When I moved I immediately had the bed set up, put the linens on it, put the kitties in the room and closed the door. They felt "at home" with the scents and familiar bed.

Northern Virginia

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Kim McGrantham 16 159 05/03/2006

Definitely an "old wives tale" LOL

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No


I don't think it will prevent them from roaming and getting lost but if they should ever come across a lobster, they will be ready for a great feast!!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Cathy (Guest Post) 05/12/2006

I have your answer. It's not a myth or an old wive's tale. These people who say it is in previous feedback have obviously never tried it and have no idea what they're talking about. I moved several years ago and was distraught when my cat disappeared for 3 weeks. When I moved after, I out butter on her paws and she didn't disappear at all!!! Appparantly its because whhen they lick off the butter, they remove traces of the old territory (their comfort zone or 'home') which makes them less likely to try to stray to refind their comfort zone.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By joe loftus 1 11/19/2013

This most certainly makes your cat know he, or she is "home". I've done this over the years, and it has never failed. Anyway, it'll be a treat your little friend will appreciate.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Anne U. 1 08/29/2015

I have always rubbed butter on the paws on any new cat i have had,none of them have ever strayed,even rescue older cats.I heard it gives them the smell of their new home,i never wanted to loose anyof my cats,well it worked.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Answer This Question