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Why does my cat bury food?

Upon finishing a meal, you may have noticed your cat sweeping a paw over what remains. This adorable behavior is natural and harmless, but have you ever wondered why they do it?

Instincts from their wild ancestors

In the wild, a cat is both predator and prey. Just like burying their feces hides any evidence of their presences from those they hunt and those who may hunt them, cats will bury their leftovers in order to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Cats aren’t scavengers, though, so they won’t return to buried food after they have finished. However, it’s not uncommon for other cat species such as bobcats, mountain lions, and leopards to stash a cache of food under ground or in a tree to return to later.

What to do about excessive burying

Some cats may take this natural instinct to the extreme by hiding their food under the rug or practically kicking their bowl across the floor. If your cat is a little too eager about burying the food, you can ease the behavior by picking up the leftovers as soon as kitty has finished eating. Cat behaviorist Pam Johnson Bennet also recommends reducing the portion size so that there is less left over. If you prefer to free-feed your kitties, you can also try various puzzle feeders to make them feel like they are more on the hunt.

Do you need someone to make sure that your cat is getting just the right amount of food while you’re away? Schedule a visit from one of our experienced pet sitters who will follow your feeding instructions down to the letter!


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 Gary Winfield on flickr

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