Presents from a cat
A dead mouse or bird left on the doormat is how cats tend to show their appreciation for the love and attention they receive.
But Tilly is more imaginative than most cats. She showers her owner with presents like odd football socks, scouring pads, plumbing parts and even underwear.
They are among the dozens of items the kleptomanicat has brought home over the past 18 months since Rose Allcock adopted her after finding the heavily pregnant stray hiding in her garden.
Kleptomanicat: Tilly is more imaginative than most cats. She showers her owner with presents like odd football socks, scouring pads, plumbing parts and even underwear
Washing lines, kitchens and building sites have all been raided in her never ending quest to find the perfect gift.
'I think this is her way of saying thank you for taking her in. Each time I say 'Thank you darling' but she sadly hasn't brought me back any gold watches yet,' said Mrs Allcock, 69.
'I've had cats for 40 years but this is the first time I've seen anything like this.'
Tilly, who is believed to be three, was found cowering outside the house in Brentwood, Essex, in 2014.
She gave birth to a litter in a nearby shed shortly afterwards but sadly none of the kittens survived.
The kindness Mrs Allcock showed to the poor cat obviously made an impression though, as Tilly began delivering presents a few months later – although it remains unclear where they come from.
Gifts:Washing lines, kitchens and building sites have all been raided in her never ending quest
Just a fortnight ago she dropped off a pair of £15 Victoria's Secret lace 'cheekini' panties.
'I saw something in the garden and went out to find a pair of Victoria's Secret underwear,' the retired civil servant said.
'I looked at Tilly and said 'Thank you but I don't think these will fit me'.
'She came in one day when I was at the sink washing up and I looked behind me and saw a sock on the floor and it was a man's football sock. She loves sponges and socks.
'One day I was in the garden and she came under the fence with a piece of U-bend pipe in her mouth.
'When we first got here there were two new houses being built around the back and she brought back bits of building material like concrete and strips of sealant, but she's more of a darling now.'
More than 50 items have been delivered to the house - and Tilly even delivers presents to the neighbours
A large pair of men's underpants have also been swiped from an unsuspecting local, who is probably still wondering where they went.
More than 50 items have been delivered to the house – although, like most cats, Tilly appears happy to take love where she can find it.
‘I was speaking to my neighbour last week and she said she had a pair of tights left outside her back door and also a red nose from [Comic Relief’s] Red Nose Day,’ said Mrs Allcock.
Animal experts said cats can become encouraged to bring lots of items home if owners show an interest and could even develop compulsive disorders.
Cat and dog behaviourist Janette Smith said: ‘If the owner is paying attention and asking what they’ve got it then becomes a habit.
‘The best way to get them to stop is to ignore it. Let them lose interest then take it away – it stops it becoming an attention-seeking ploy.’