Sunday, May 26, 2024

Why Do Cats Scratch Around Food

Don't Miss

Theyre Trying To Spread Pheromones

Just as dogs spread their scents by urinating on trees, cats do the same when they rub against furnishings.

When you scratch the base of your cats tail, they may begin to raise their bottoms to grant you access to the scent gland that is located near their tail.

This may sound strange within itself, but it is a primal instinct of animals to spread pheromones as a way of staking their claim to property.

Although cats have multiple scent glands throughout their bodies, the gland near the tail is especially rich in pheromones.


Sometimes Caching Isnt Really Covering


Sometimes caching behavior is more instinctual than practical. One researcher from a different mountain-lion project was tracking a radio-collared cougar. This female had placed a single twig on the carcass of the deer before walking away.


Leopards dont cover their food but they do cache in trees high up and out of the reach of neighboring lions and hyenas, which are less adept climbers.


How This Site Works

We think it’s important you understand the strengths and limitations of the site. We’re a journalistic website and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques, but can’t guarantee to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

  • This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it’s right for your specific circumstances and remember we focus on rates not service.
  • We don’t as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned , but there is a risk any company can struggle and it’s rarely made public until it’s too late .
  • Do note, while we always aim to give you accurate product info at the point of publication, unfortunately price and terms of products and deals can always be changed by the provider afterwards, so double check first.
  • We often link to other websites, but we can’t be responsible for their content.
  • Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion. is part of the MoneySuperMarket Group, but is entirely editorially independent. Its stance of putting consumers first is protected and enshrined in the legally-binding MSE Editorial Code.

Why Do Cats Paw Around Their Food Bowl

Just like around their water bowls, cats have strange behaviors around their food as well.  After a meal, if you notice that your cat is pawing at the floor right next to their food bowl as if to hide their leftovers, donât be alarmed.  This is just a remnant of their wild habits.  In the wild where cats are both prey and predator, they bury their leftovers after their meals.  This is so their predators canât trace them through their kill.

Another reason why they scratch around their feeding station is to leave their scent.  This is the catâs way of communicating to other cats and animals that this place is their territory.

Can You Leave 2 Cats Alone For 3 Days

Why Do Cats Scratch Around Their Food Bowl?

If your leaving your cats alone for the first time, a three day period might be a little too long for a first try. A good way to make sure your cat is acclimated to being left alone, is to try leaving your cats alone for 24 hours first. If they handle that well, then build up to leaving your cats alone for 2 nights.

READ:  How do you go to the bathroom in a hoop skirt?

Your Hands Are Not Toys

One of the first rules for human companions is: don’t teach your cat that hands are toys. This is a behavior that you must develop and correct when they are young kittens. If you ignore this advice, those tiny and teeth will soon grow into razor-sharp “meat hooks,” and you’ll bear the scars. Do not use your hands as toys and rough house with them as they will not likely hurt you when they are kittens, but once fully developed they will think they can still play this way despite having larger and stronger jaws and claws. Hands should only be used for petting and carrying. It should be established early that any “mouthing” is painful to you, even when it may not be painful. Once this is established, you will need to direct playful behavior onto other objects.

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Area Around His Food

If your cat is scratching around near its food bowl, it could be causing some damage to your flooring or carpet But the question is why is this even happening?

Why does my cat scratch the area around his food? This is an instinctual behavior to hide the scent that leftover food leaves behind. Although this behavior is obsolete in captivity it still happens, which confuses cat owners.

Now that you know at a high level why this happens. Let me explain further as well as what is floor pawing, if some cats attempt to bury unwanted food, why they do this, and more. Keep reading

Why Do Cats Act Like They Are Starving

Cats may beg and cry for food because its one of the few moments you are truly dedicating to them. High levels of stress can cause a cat to go cuckoo for food. In fact, vets have diagnosed some cats with psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior, which involves begging and food-related aggression.

You might be interested: FAQ: Why Did Stars Leave Crossing Lines?

To Protect Her Kittens

The act of burying food in the wild is important for both male and female cats. Interestingly enough there is a factor that makes the urgency of concealing food greater. For female cats, this factor is her kittens.

According to researchers at Hannover Medical School and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, unlike male cats independent of their own experience of raising kittens, female cats distinguish between kitten calls that convey different levels of urgency and react accordingly.

This means that a mother cat is extremely protective of her offspring. Because kittens are so helpless and a mother would still need to leave them in order to find food, the last thing shed do is jeopardize their hiding spot by leaving leftovers of dead prey.

If you have a female cat that just gave birth to kittens and youre wondering where this scratching behavior came from, then her babies might be the answer!

To make your cat-mama feel more secure, make sure she and her kittens are staying in a warm, reclusive, and safe space. This way she might feel more secure and stop scratching around her food, but even if she doesnt its nothing to be worried about as long as shes eating regularly.

Is There Anything That Can Be Taken Away From This Behavior

Even though there is no need to correct the scratching/covering behavior, there is one aspect that cat owners might want to pay attention to. As mentioned above, cats only bury their leftovers. This means that the cat may be getting more food than it can eat in a single meal. Pet owners must check how much food the cat should be getting to prevent obesity and other health issues. So, what does it mean when a cat tries to cover up their food bowl? Nothing more than the fact that it is a feline fully equipped for the wild. Have you ever seen your cat scratching around its food bowl after a meal? What about covering up the bowl? If you have, tell us the story in a comment.

It Is Instinctive Behavior

Cats tend to paw or scratch the sides of a litter box to bury their waste. First-time cat owners are perplexed why their cats act like this. The reason they do that is that it is an instinctive behavior to bury their waste, so they scratch on the wall of the litter box. 

Similarly, it is instinctive among cats to scratch, paw, and dig to look for food and water. Domesticated cats may paw or scratch the floor near the water bowl because it is the closest thing to doing this in the wild. 

Provide Plenty Of Scratching Posts And Pads

As far as your cat is concerned, you can never have enough scratching posts and pads. So this is a great and easy place to start. When it comes to choosing scratching posts and pads for your cats, remember the four Ss:

Here’s Mazel, a Preventive Vet team member, using his fab cat tree that was found at a second hand store. What a score! It has lots of different types of textures and levels. He loves it.

When Scratching In The Morning Or At Night

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor Around Its Food Bowl ...

If your cat is clawing at the floor in the early mornings and late evenings, she is probably a little stir crazy and trying to use up her energy. You can cut these destructive habits by doing the following:

  • Introduce more playtime into her routine.
  • Get some more interactive treats and toys for her.
  • Purchase a cat tower for her to watch outside.
  • Adopt another animal for her to interact with.
  • Give her more access to the outdoors if she is allowed outside.
  • Why Does My Cat Paw Around Their Water Bowl

    While most cats would make us believe that they dont like water, this isnt entirely true for all of them. There are cats that love to spend their time in the sink by simply sleeping or even drinking running water. There are cats that enjoy licking wet surfaces like shower curtains and humid windows.

    Your kitty could have the same playful attitude towards its water bowl. You might notice them pawing around it or even playing with the water itself. Some cats also prefer to dip their front paw inside the bowl and then lick the water from it!

    Cats also prefer running water to the one sitting for hours in their bowl. Thats why you might find them drinking water directly from the tap or even the toilet. By pawing around it, or in it, they could be trying to recreate the effect of a moving water source. A cat water fountain could be a great way to help your cat engage in playful activity with their water bowl without actually scratching your floor!

    Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Treat Puzzle Dog Toy By Outward Hound

    The Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Treat Puzzle Dog Toy is a pet toy that helps animals exercise their minds. To get the treats inside the Dog Brick, pets have to flip open the top compartments, paw and nuzzle to remove the middle compartments, and then slide the blocks in the lower compartments. It turns eating into a very fun activity and improves a pets state of mind.

    If this behavior is destructive you can also try these ceramic elevated cat feeders

    Cat Suddenly Started Scratching Around His Food And Water Dishes

    Happiness is being owned by a cat

    Staff Member

    Lion City, Singa-purr

    tabbytom said: LittleRiceBall, welcome to TCS!What your kitty is doing is pretty normal. Its their natural instinct to cover unfinished food so that other predators cannot detect them. This is always been done in the wild and domesticated cats still have that instinct. Same as after they pee or poopMy boy does that every time he finishes his food or at certain times if he does not want to eat, hell do the covering up action.So dont worry.

    Happiness is being owned by a cat

    Staff Member

    LittleRiceBall said:Hey! Thanks for answering I guess my main concern is that he suddenly seems disinterested in finishing his food. He had to be hospitalized three weeks ago for not eating , but after he recovered he was VERY food driven. I’m worried he might be regressing and don’t quite know why.

    LittleRiceBall said:He’s almost 8 months now. He recently got neutered, too, about a week and a half ago, but up until 3 days ago his eating habits were the same so I don’t think it’s the neutering unless this has something to do with hormones.

    Happiness is being owned by a cat

    Staff Member

    LittleRiceBall said:He’s almost 8 months now. He recently got neutered, too, about a week and a half ago, but up until 3 days ago his eating habits were the same so I don’t think it’s the neutering unless this has something to do with hormones.

    Southern California
    St. Louis MO
    Happiness is being owned by a cat

    Staff Member

    The Weirdest Cat Food Coverer Ever


    Reverend John George Wood recorded one of the strangest and most persistent food-covering cat stories in 1853 in his book, Illustrated Natural History. The reverends cat was a die-hard food coverer. Ordinarily, she would go in search of a piece of paper to place upon her saucer. But, if no paper was handy, she had Plan B: shed poke around in the reverends wifes pocket for a handkerchief that shed use to cover her meal instead.


    It gets weirder: if this dogged little cat couldnt find a piece of paper or handkerchief, she was known to fetch one of her kittens and deposit the poor babe on top of her food dish. If there were no kittens, shed shred the carpet and put the ragged bits on top of her food. And finally, in the absence of paper, handkerchief, kittens, and carpet she would magicians are cringing everywhere drag the tablecloth from the table, causing, as the reverend recorded in his book, a sad demolition of the superincumbent fragile ware.


    How To Stop A Cat From Scratching The Floor

    If you want to put an end to the scratching behavior, you may need to try a few different strategies. Picking up your cats food dish as soon as hes finished eating may help, since there wont be any food left to bury. You can also try distracting your cat immediately after a meal with playtime or .

    If your cat eats only a bit of food at a time, try to put down just as much food as hell eat and divide up his mealtimes throughout the day. This can help keep the food fresh, and it also means there wont be extra food sitting around to be buried.

    In some cases, your cat might bury food that he doesnt like. Experiment with different food flavors, textures, and brands to see if you can find a food that your cat likes more. Remember to make food changes gradually to avoid upsetting your cats stomach.

    Lightspruch / Shutterstock

    Why Cats Act Strange When You Scratch The Base Of Their Tail

    The main reason is due to the sensitive nerve endings located around the tail base. Touching the tail can also trigger painful mating experiences, especially for female cats. Some may attempt to spread their pheromones or may expect to be cleansed. An alternative medical explanation for this behavior is feline hyperesthesia.


    Why Do Cats Flop Down In Front Of You

    Cats flop to show their trust and affection to the person or animal that theyre around. When a cat flops , they expose their most vulnerable area . Cats are aware of this, and this should be seen as a sign that your cat is comfortable with placing their safety in your hands.

    You Might Also Like: Do Cats Sense Sadness?

    What Does The Scratching Mean

    Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor Around Its Food Bowl ...

    Cats have been noticed to scratch around their food bowls even when their bowls are placed inside the house, on tiles or carpets. Even though there is no soil to scratch or move around, this behavior remains present in cats because it is related to an instinct. In the wild, felines must hunt to eat. In spite of the fact that they hunt and eat in packs, there is always leftover food after they are done with their meal. It is extremely important that they bury their leftovers to cover their tracks. This way, other predators cant link the trail of carcasses to their whereabouts.

    All felines are born with a full set of instincts meant to keep them safe in the wild. This is also true when it comes to cats. They may not need to use this type of instinctual behavior as long as they live in a loving home, but when push comes to shove, cats know how to keep safe.

    Why Do Cats Try To Cover Their Food

    Cats cover their unfinished food to hide it from other animals and save it for later. In the wild, big cats will hide their food up in a tree or cover it with debris in an attempt to hide it from other animals.


    If your cat is trying cover their food with objects such as paper, pieces of carpet, toys, etc. its likely they want to be able to come back and finish their food later and their instincts are kicking in to simply cover it.


    They may be doing this if your take their food dish away in between mealtimes, or if theres another cat or pet in the home that could come by and finish their leftovers.



    Should I Declaw My Cat

    No. We strongly discourage cat owners from having their cats declawed. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats and can be directed to appropriate items. Read more about the problems of declawing

    If you feel that you must either declaw or give up your cat, we would rather see your cat stay in her home and be your lifelong companion. If you do decide to have your cat declawed, we suggest you have the surgery done at the same time shes spayed , that you only declaw the front paws, and that you always keep your cat indoors.


    Why Do Cats Scratch Things

    Cats scratch things for many different reasons. For example, they may be marking their territory by spreading the scent from their paws onto your floors. Scratches are also a visual cue for other animals passing by that this home belongs to a cat. Cats sometimes begin scratching furniture and walls after you bring another pet into your home, a surefire sign they are making their presence known.

    They may also scratch things to try and loosen the outer layer of their claws. As with human nails, cat claws can grow too long and eventually break or split. If there are any annoying pulls in your kittys nails, she may scratch the floor to try and pull them off. If you notice a cat claw lying around your home, dont be alarmed; your pet likely yanked or chewed it off on purpose.

    Cats may also scratch at things because they have excess energy. A rowdy cat may paw and claw at objects in your home to let loose and mimic a solo play session. You should introduce more exercise into your cats daily routine or hang a perch from the window where your cat can watch birds fly by.

    Replace Your Cats Bowl And Litter Box

    This is useful for cats prone to scratching the floor around their food and water bowl and around the litter box. Just be gradual when it comes to replacements. Cats are creatures of habit and may protest if faced with sudden changes. It is advisable to move the bowls and litter a couple of inches per day until eventually reaching the desired place.

    If Your Cat Is Still Biting

    Make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will likely have many questions to ask about the type of behavior, circumstances of the behavior, the household environment, and your technique in correcting them. In some cases they will ask to run bloodwork for specific conditions that can cause elevated aggression. If they can’t help eliminate the behavior they may refer you a behavior specialist.

    Why Do Cats Scratch Around Food Bowl

    Table of Contents

    Why Do Cats Scratch Around Food Bowl? Pawing or scratching around the food is not harmful in itself. Its your cat instinct behavior to stay safe and hide the traces of her presence from other predators. In fact, some cat owners even find such behavior cute. So if its your case, feel free to leave your cat alone and dont stop her from scratching.

    You Might Also Like: Are Cats Healers?

    Why does my cat scratch glass and mirrors? She explained that scratching or pawing at something is a reliable way for your cat to learn more about an object. So, between cats natural curiosity and unique properties of mirrors, its no surprise that your feline would scratch the mirror as he is trying to understand more about the mirror and how it works.

    Why do cats act like they are starving? Cats may beg and cry for food because its one of the few moments you are truly dedicating to them. High levels of stress can cause a cat to go cuckoo for food. In fact, vets have diagnosed some cats with psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior, which involves begging and food-related aggression.

    When Scratching In Doorways

    A cat that is marking her territory near doorways may stop scratching if you do the following:

  • Spray lemon juice or other citrus scents on the floors.
  • Install a cat door if your cat is an outdoor cat.
  • Clean the floor with a pet-odor cleaner to remove her scent.
  • Give her a scratching post near the door that she is allowed to claw.
  • Fungal And Yeast Infections

    Why Does My Cat Scratch Around Its Food Bowl?

    Fungi, such as those which cause ringworm, do not usually cause itching at first. It is only over time once the infection has developed that the picture becomes more complicated. Ringworm is one which causes redness of the skin in particular. The cat will develop round lesions which are typical of the condition. The skin will often become red and flaky. Other fungal infections can cause this problem.

    Yeast bacteria such as Malassezia can also lead to itching, as well as lesions, redness, peeling, scabs, bad odor and thickening of the skin. In these cases, injuries can appear anywhere on the body. It is necessary to see the veterinarian to identify the specific pathogens and prescribe the correct course of treatment. We cannot treat this on our own.

    Why Do Cats Pretend To Bury Their Food

    Having established why cats actively bury and hide their food, another question springs to mind. Why do cats fake bury their food? Some cats will go through all the steps associated with burying but seemingly fail to follow through.

    Oftentimes, this is the cat battling twin instincts. The overriding drive of the cat is to bury the food, yet hunger pangs eventually supersede this desire. This is especially common when cats live with other pets. The cat may try to bury its food so no other animal can claim it. The cat will eventually have second thoughts, though. The safest place of all is within the feline belly.

    Some cats may pretend to bury their food, then walk away. This will take the form of scratching around the bowl. This will have a different explanation.

    Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor Solving The Problem

    As already mentioned, scratching is a normal cat behavior. Bearing in mind how highly cats are motivated to display this behavior, aiming to prevent cats from scratching is highly unrealistic. Instead of stopping this behavior, you need to understand why does my cat scratch the floor and then find a way to redirect the scratching on acceptable objects.

    Here are some useful tips on preventing floor scratching and promoting scratching onto acceptable objects

    Provide your cat with attractive and convenient scratching objectsKeep in mind that they need to be attractive from a felines perspective. Luckily, the modern market offers a plethora of toys specifically designed for cats and scratching.

    More articles

    Popular Articles

    Brands Of Wet Cat Food

    Wet Cat Food For Kidney Disease