There’s a cat burglar on the loose and he’s taking New Zealand by storm, one sock at a time. Oscar the Mandalay cat hails from Herne Bay, a suburb of Auckland. The 11-year-old kitty has been swiping individual socks from clotheslines in his neighborhood for years. He steals at least one each day and brings the loot back to his owner’s house. At this point, he’s stolen over 3,000 mismatched socks.
Oscar’s owner, Paul Wai-Poi, has given up on trying to trace the socks back to their rightful owners. Instead, he washes them and donates them to charity. Oscar’s habit sometimes embarrasses Wai-Poi, because the black cat also has a penchant for stealing lingerie sets. ”He brought back a bra and panties,” Wai-Poi said, “The bra got hooked up on the fence and the next door neighbor saw it. I said: it’s not my wife’s.”
An Auckland-area radio station consulted Deborah Aicken, a “cat expert,” on why Oscar might have an obsession with socks. According to Aicken, Mandalay cats love the smell of feet, “so if I took my shoes off around the cats they would all come and roll in them and steal the shoes.” Well then!