Do you have a cat that tries to bury his food?
I do, and I must admit, when I first witnessed Milo exhibiting this strange behavior, I was puzzled. When he was finished eating he would proceed to scratch and scrape the floor, pulling anything over (or into) his dish. There were (and still are) times if I don’t get to the dish quick enough, to remove it from his sight, I will find anything from cat toys to socks, piled inside his bowl.
Since I had two other cats, I assumed he was trying to “save” what was left for later and didn’t want his furry “siblings” to find the leftovers.
It turns out; this isn’t the reason at all.
Read on to explore the exact reasons why cats bury their food.
A Matter of Survival
According to cat expert, Pam Johnson-Bennett, cats burying their food is all about survival.
Cats are not scavengers by nature - they hunt their food, eat their fill, and move on. However, in the wild, leaving uneaten food exposed is a clear sign that a feline hunter has been there - it’s a “Kitty calling card” - alerting other potential prey to their presence.
Another matter of survival for cats is to keep other predators from encroaching on their territory. If there is a potential meal available, this could attract other predatory animals that will hunt the same prey as the cat, or hunt the cat itself.
This makes sense with my cat. Milo is an eight-year-old, indoor cat and has been covering his food since he was a kitten. He is also very nervous of loud noises, strangers in the home, or other “perceived” threats to his “survival,” so him not wanting to “alert” predators makes complete sense.
Food is Not to Cat’s Liking
Another reason why your cat may try to bury his food is he simply doesn’t like the smell or flavor of it. Changing brands or the main ingredient in the food (such as fish to chicken) could have your kitty put off enough to try to bury the offending meal.
Your feline friend may also try to bury the food due to illness. Look for other signs of your cat being under the weather like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, etc. If you spot something out of the ordinary, call your vet.
Tips for Stopping Your Cat From Burying His Food
We have accepted Milo’s food burying behavior as just a part of his personality; however, if you find it nerve-wracking, here are some helpful tips to help squelch the practice;
- Give your cat the food/flavor he prefers.
- Give your cat smaller portions, so there are no leftovers to cover.
- Pick up the food bowl when your cat has finished, and put it out of sight, or rinse it out, so it’s ready for the next feeding.
- Try puzzle dishes for free-feeding dry food so Kitty has to “hunt” for the food.
- Try distracting techniques (playtime or grooming sessions) if your feline is becoming overly-obsessive with this behavior.
- Food-Burying Feline Behavior
Whether your cat is burying his food because he dislikes what’s on the menu, or he’s trying not to alert predators, it can be curbed. If your cat is becoming overly-obsessed with the behavior, or you are annoyed by it, follow our helpful tips to help kitty enjoy his meal, without the covering antics.
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