A two-year-old tabby in Central Ohio has a love of leaves, and every day brings piles of them home to her family, meowing loudly to announce that she is bringing them yet another gift.
Emily Manley and her husband adopted Mary when she was a kitten. At that time, they had one cat named Jane.
“Mary is my mom’s cat that she couldn’t keep, so we’ve had her since she’s been about maybe 12 weeks old,” said Manley.
The Leaf Hunter
Mary, known as “There’s Something About Maryy” on Instagram, began her fascination with leaves gradually. First she collected small twigs here or there.
“We were just so thrilled with it,” said Manley. “The praise that we gave her when she came home, I’m sure it has something to do with it because we just thought it was the cutest thing ever. Oh, thank you so much for your gift, thank you so much, you know, and she’d go back out and get us more, and we’d thank her again.”
At first Manley wondered if Mary was going around picking up individual leaves, but video captured with a pet cam that Mary wore on her collar showed that that’s not the case.
“She literally just goes into this like leaf-ridden area in this tree line behind our house and scoops them up,” said Manly. “She just scoops them up with her mouth and whatever she gets in there, she brings back.”
Mary enjoys walking (even trotting) along a fence that runs from the trees to her home.
The camera she wore captured her calls to her family as she ran toward the house.
“We had no idea because we can’t hear her that far away,” said Manley. “We’re at the house, we had no idea she was calling to us like that from that distance until we looked at that footage. And we’re like, oh, my gosh, she is literally calling for us like, ‘Hey, guys, I’ll be there soon. I’m coming back.’ You know, it’s just the funniest thing.”
Fans Pile on Appreciation
Mary’s fans love to see her walk the fence that has been termed “the catwalk.”
“On the catwalk, on the catwalk, she shakes her little tush on the catwalk!” commented one Mary fan.
“She’s the purrfect model,” said another.
And, “F/W collection 2022 presented by super meowdel.”
On the catwalk, on the catwalk, she shakes her little tush on the catwalk!
Leaf gathering is a year-round passion for Mary. Even when there’s snow, she can manage to bring home her treasures.
“She still gets to leaves because these tree lines in the back here they’re pretty covered,” said Manley. “There’s quite a bit of cover, so she can still get them.”
Why Do Cats Bring Gifts to People?
There are many stories of cats that “steal” items and bring them home. A cat named Bella in Vancouver, B.C. has a reputation for bringing home socks. She started with socks and progressed to other pieces of clothing, bringing home up to three a night, or more.
Charlie, aka Klepto-Cat, in Bristol UK has a reputation for bringing home everything from toys to eyeglasses. He’s stolen so many items, his family has an area in front of their home where they put the items so owners can retrieve them.
Batman the munchkin cat is known for his nocturnal wanderings, assembling stuffed animals to present to his human mom.
There are many theories about why cats bring “offerings” to their people.
If it’s a toy they may want you to watch over it, if it’s an “inappropriate” gift such as a dead (or alive) animal, they may be demonstrating their hunting skills. But it may be that they just want to show their affection for you.
Manley said she thinks Mary’s leaf piles are just little gifts.
“She literally brings about four or five piles of leaves back to the house every day,” she said.
An Incredible Journey
Mary is kept indoors at night for her safety, especially after she disappeared for several days. She did come home on her own, thin but uninjured.
“I want to let her out, because I know that’s what she wants, and it makes her happy,” said Manley. “But then she leaves for three days, and it’s really scary. So, she’s got a microchip, and we’re going to get a GPS collar.”
“We like to give her what she wants and make her happy because she really loves to be outside, she loves her leafing adventures…and then also make sure she’s safe,” she said.