Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Cat Try to Bury Her Food?

Why Does My Cat Try to Bury Her Food?

Do you often see how your cat is doing something strange after eating? Why does my cat scrape around her food bowl – that is what you keep asking every time you see it. Is it okay or should you take some measures to get rid of this feline habit? Read the information I have prepared for you and learn the true reasons why your kitty does it. What is more important, I am going to give you some advice on how to solve the problem and what your first actions should be. Continue reading if you want to learn everything about this issue.

Here Is Why Your Cat Tries to Bury Her Food

Reason #1. Animal Nature

Ancestors of our house cats come from Africa. A lot of centuries have passed from the moment our furry pets lost their links to the wild. However, the genes are a very important thing that still plays its role in almost everything our cats do every day. 

Probably, you have seen those wildlife documentaries where cats hunt in the wild nature and then bury the food they could not eat at a time. So, why do cats cover their food in the wild? This habit is absolutely reasonable for lions and leopards, for example. Their catch may be too big even for the whole pride, but wild cats cannot leave leftovers for they are not scavengers. The only answer is that they try to hide any food left in order not to be noticed by other predators and their wild ‘enemies.’ Buried food does not smell that much, it does not draw attention of other animals, so a feline hunter will stay unnoticed. 

Reason #2. Habit of Tidiness 

We all know this natural behavior of our feline friends. They are washing their face every time they have got a minute to do it. They are true esthetes when it comes to their toilet business. Experienced cat owners state that scratching near a food bowl may mean something similar to the habit of hiding feces. For many house cats their place of having meal is almost sacred. Some of the kitties even like spending time by this place. Thus, it is natural for them to make the spot clean. Leftovers will never be eaten by a cat, so the best way to make everything clean and tidy around is to bury this food.

Reason #3. Bad Food for Your Cat

Why does my cat try to bury her food? If you ask this question, it means your pet’s behavior seems strange or even irritating to you. But try to be calm and learn that one of the first reasons for such behavior can be quite simple. The food your cat does not like may be associated with something that is not good enough and should be buried. Just like she regularly hides her feces. Don’t want your cat to treat food like feces? Learn the online reviews of your current brand and have a read of our ultimate guide with the best cat food and specialized guides like low-carb cat food ratings and semi-moist cat food ratings.

Also, do you know how long does your cat’s food lasts? The opened dry cat food usually lasts for five-seven days. But did you know that it will last much less if you softened it using water? And canned cat food will last for a couple of hours. So this may be a sign that your cat’s food is already spoiled. Read how to store dry cat food the right way to prevent giving rotten food to your pet.

Reason #4. Misunderstood Behavior

I put this explanation as one of the reasons only because some cat owners take similar feline movements and ‘gestures’ as burying something. In fact, inexperienced cat parents simply misunderstand their furry children. Kneading is what all cats love very much. However, in some cases, this habit may look like caching and scratching. Be more attentive and look at what your cat is doing, excluding the variant of kneading with pleasure.

How to Stop a Cat from Pawing the Floor after Eating

Step 1. Exclude Food Your Cat Does Not Like

As one of the reasons of pawing the floor near a food bowl is a cat’s attempt to get rid of the food he/she does not like, analyze this issue. So, instead of asking ‘why does my cat try to bury her food’ all the time just try to notice whether this behavior is regular or it occurs only when you give your feline baby certain food.

For example, you could read our cat food choosing guide and pick a great combination of quality and price. But what if your cat is not that excited about your choice? What if he or she prefers wet food vs kibble? Never force-feed your cat in this case. Thanks to a huge selection of high-quality cat foods you can easily find really close alternatives. The quality would be the same but it could taste better for your cat. Never ignore your pet.

Step 2. Regulate Your Cat’s Portions

Cats are always very playful, so even food may become a toy for them. If you see your cat regularly eats with leftovers, control the size of portions you give to your kitty. Do not put too much food into your cat’s bowl. It is always better to give some more food than put leftovers into the garbage.

Step 3. Separate Meals from Playtime

If your cat does not eat all the food you give him for one meal, he will likely forget about it and won’t eat it later. If you see that some part of the cat dish is left, take the food bowl and interest your feline pet with some game. Your cat should understand there is no way he can play or somehow interact with food. Food is only for eating and should not be buried.

Also after playing toys with your cats (especially chewing toys) or cat screen games for cats you should make a 20-30 minute break. This will help your kitten calm down and prepare its digestive system for taking a meal.

Step 4. Stay near Your Cat When He Eats

There is never a better way than controlling the situation. Take away the bowl once your kitty is done with eating. There should not be any visual appeal to your furry pet for scratching, burying, and caching. Better use some treats while playing with your kitty or special puzzle feeders (PuzzlePaws is a good option).

Step 5. Never Punish Your Cat 

As I have already mentioned in the very beginning, the first and the most popular reason is the instinct. Why do cats try to bury their food? They simply used to do it when they were wild. That is why there is no reason for you to punish your pet. Such things as instincts are just given from one generation to another. Instead, simply choose the right place for feeding your cat. The floor or ground surface should be smooth and ‘unattractive’ for cats.


Why does my cat bury her food without eating?

The most popular reason may be that your cat is not hungry at the moment. Besides, cats are those animals that are not used to eat leftovers later. As part of their former wild instinct, they simply try to hide this food in order not to give their enemies even the smallest hint to find the cat’s location. The second reason is that your cat does not like the suggested food.

Why does my cat eat some of his food and bury the rest?

Probably, your cat needs a smaller portion and you give him much more. Some cats are extremely crazy about tidiness, so any left food may seem a waste to them. An attempt to bury and forget about leftovers may be a true answer on the question. Try to give less food to your furry child at a time.

Final Words

Why does a cat paw around food dish? Now you know the true reasons of such feline behavior. As you could notice, the answers appeared to be quite simple and connected with the wild nature of our house cats. The call of nature is a great and powerful thing every pet owner should understand. Punishment is never a solution in such cases. Keep the tips mentioned above in your mind and be more attentive to your feline child. But if there is something suspicious in your kitty’s behavior, it is always better to consult your veterinarian.

    Your Cart
    2+ shoppers have bought this
      Calculate Shipping