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Why does my cat take food out of the bowl?

Does your cat take out kibble from their bowl? Do they hide their food? While you may think they’re just being messy or strange, there are actually a few reasons behind this peculiar behavior.

Dirty dishes

You wouldn’t want dinner served on a crusty dirty plate right? Cats are just like you! They prefer clean dishes. Make mealtime as inviting as possible by keeping the cat’s dish clean. Ideally, you should wash dishes after every use. If you’re unable to clean the dishes on a daily basis, consider investing in a week’s worth of cheaper bowls and rotating them out as necessary.

Hiding leftovers

Your cat’s survival instincts might be kicking in! In the wild, cats bury or hide their leftovers so as to not leave any traces behind for predators. In a domestic household, a swipe or two at their food is your cat’s way of “burying” kibble. In more extreme cases, some cats will even hide food under the rug or kick the bowl away! In this scenario, you can try reducing your cat’s portions to avoid leftovers altogether.

Whisker fatigue

Cat’s whiskers contain sensory receptors known as proprioceptors. When these get overstimulated, it results in a condition known as whisker fatigue. Usually, whiskers get stressed from brushing the sides of a dish or bowl during feeding. To cope, some cats remove their food from the bowl before they eat it. Fortunately, whisker fatigue can easily be remedied by replacing bowls with wide plates or free-flowing water fountains.

Does your cat have any interesting eating habits? Do they scatter or hide food? Let your pet sitter know! We’ll make sure your cat is fed while also helping to avoid any messes.


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Melissa Wiese on flickr

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