Why Does My Cat Try To Bury Her Food? 6 Possible Reasons!


Why does my cat try to bury her food is something you may be asked if you saw your cat pawing or scratching her food and water bowls. Many cat owners think that is because the cat doesn’t like the food you give her. However, there are many reasons for her doing that.

If you notice that she’s trying to bury or dig something, there is nothing wrong with your cat, but we will see now why she does that.

Check out 6 reasons for that and how to handle it if you’re annoyed by it or if your cat is damaging your carpets and floors.

Why Does My Cat Try To Bury Her Food?

orange cat sitting outside

A cat burying food is her instinctive behavior, so you don’t have to worry about something wrong with your cat. However, this may bother you, so to stop it, you must first understand.

1. Clean Space

Why does my cat try to bury her food – reason 1: Your cat is trying to keep her space clean.

Your cat tries to bury her food because in her blood is to be neat and clean. Most of the cats are clean, and their passion is to have clean space. That’s why she scratches around food to tidy up her territory.

She will mainly try to tidy up dry kibble if they think it is messy. Keeping her territory clean is a survival instinct; you don’t have to be bothered by this.

You may often see your cat scratching the sides of the litter box to let you know that the litter box is dirty and you need to clean it.

2. Excessive Amount Of Food

Why does my cat try to bury her food – reason 2: You give your cat too much food.

Your cat might be scratching food leftovers because you may give her more than she can eat. Sometimes she buries her leftover food to return to it later and eat it.

This can be linked with their habit of hiding feces. Just like she covers her poop in the litter box, she covers the food dish because of her instinct.

As a cat lover, I think you are. Since you own one, you must watch out for your cat’s diet. Make sure to control how much food you give to your cat. You’ll also stop obesity, undesired behavior, and other health issues.

3. Hiding The Scent Of Her Food

orange cat sitting outside in shade

Why does my cat try to bury her food – reason 3: Your cat is trying to hide the scent of her food.

Cats in the wild need to hunt if they want to eat, so they usually eat portion-wise to have leftovers and come back later to eat them. However, they need to hide uneaten food since the predators could smell the presence of the food.

When they hide the scent, another cat won’t probably find the food, and it also helps them with animals that seek prey. And those animals have enhanced senses of smell.

Even if you don’t have a wild cat, your domestic cat’s reason for burying food is her instinctive behavior. In that way, she hides the scent and is safe from predators.

4. Protection Of Her Young Ones

Why does my cat try to bury her food – reason 4: Your cat is trying to conceal her food to hide that she has kittens.

Of course, this only applies if your female cat recently had kittens or if you have a mother and kittens in your home. The adult cat tries to prevent others from finding out where her kittens are, and she is also trying to save some food to give her kittens.

As cats are maternal, this is no strange behavior for adult cats with little felines.

5. Your Cat Doesn’t Like It

Why does my cat try to bury her food – reason 5: Your cat is trying to tell you that she doesn’t like the food you gave her.

Maybe you changed the food brand, or you’re constantly giving your cat the same food. However, your cat might, for this reason, try to bury her food.

RELATED: 9 Best Tasting Cat Foods for Picky Eaters

6. Caching

Why does my cat try to bury her food – reason 6: Your cat is trying to hide some food for later.

What is caching? Food caching is the behavior (more prevalent in canines when burying a bone) when a wild cat tries to protect the food from scavengers or other cats, to have something they can eat later or to stop it from spoiling.

If your cat sometimes eats outside, she will bury uneaten food to prevent scaring off potential meals. Potential meals like smaller animals than your cat can be scared when they see a half-eaten carcass, and then they’ll know that the predator is in the area.

This behavior originates from wild cats like leopards and cheetahs that tuck away the food before they eat it out. This is the form of a protective strategy, and that’s why you often see your cat pawing at the floor.

It is not uncommon for cats to develop neurosis because they are obsessed with caching. This is more common if there are multiple cats in the home, the cats feel like they need to compete for food, and they feel the need to bury or hide the food.

RELATED: Why Does My Cat Scratch Around His Food?

Why Does My Cat Scratch Around Her Water Bowl?

Cat scratching around her water bowl is not strange and uncommon behavior, as you see. For some reason, many cats like moving water more than static one.

So in order to have mowing water in her water bowl, she’ll scratch it, play with it or splash in a water bowl. For that reason, some cats like to drink water from the fountain, faucet, or toilet.

Is It Bad For My Cat To Try To Bury Her Food?

two cats outside

If you’re a house-cat owner, you shouldn’t be worried about your indoor cat trying to bury her food because it is all-natural behavior, and it is widespread in cats.

However, if you see your cat trying to bury her food without eating it, or she’s acting strange, this might be a sign that your cat is going through something.

b, and she wants to keep the smell of the food far away from her. Check out here the symptoms of cat nausea.

If you’ve just noticed that your cat is doing that and that she seems unwell, you should call the vet or take her to the vet to rule out any health issues.

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Trying To Bury His Food?

Why do cats try to bury their food is now explained; let’s see how to stop the cat from trying to bury her food.

• When you catch your cat starting to scratch, try using a cat toy to distract him, and play with your cat in the order he forgets what he intended to do.

• When your cat is done eating, take the bowl so he can’t scratch it. If you’re feeding your cat wet food, wash the bowl immediately since the wet food is easily blemished.

• It is recommended that you serve food on surfaces that your cat can’t damage with his claws and to take his food bowl of things he can use to cover the meal.

• If you feed your cat dry food, remove the leftovers if he hasn’t eaten everything you served. If you don’t do that, you’ll encourage this behavior, so it is better to limit her food, so every time you give him food, he eats the whole portion.

• If you’re leaving your cat alone, you can use an automatic feeder for that portion of food on a schedule. This way, your cat will have small amounts, and it’s not likely they’ll have leftovers, so they won’t have anything to bury. Make sure to check out our 5 best automatic wet food feeders.

• Another option is to place food and water bowls in a room with easy-to-clean floors or place a mat while your cat eats. Make sure to close the door, so your cat can’t take some of the wet food and hide it somewhere.

• Make sure your cat has access to clean and fresh water as your cat must maintain the moisture balance in her body. Then he won’t scratch around the bowl, and if your cat is hydrated, it will prevent many health issues.

• If you don’t have time for all of this, and you don’t want to feed your cat all the time during the day, you can buy a puzzle feeder. He will need to hunt in order to eat, and he won’t have time to think about scratching.

The best way for all these options is to watch your cat while he’s eating the food, and after they finish, you just remove the dish bowl. Out of mind, out of sight, right? You can also purchase interactive toys for your cat after the meal.

Final Thoughts

gray cat posing outside

Why does my cat try to bury her food is something that you, as a cat lover you are, wanted to find out. I hope this article helped you understand this cat’s behavior and helped you find possible solutions.

No matter what, you mustn’t punish your cat for pawing or trying to bury her food as it is his natural and instinctive behavior. I don’t need to tell you that cat won’t understand why you’re punishing him.

Cat cares about how you treat her and tries to understand and love your furry friend no matter what.

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Iram Sharma

Fur-tunare enough to have had cats her entire life, Iram has spent years learning about these fluffy little hunters. Today, Iram is a professional veterinarian and a passionate cat mom who uses her skills to help felines in need. Surrounded by her own feline friends, Iram shares her knowledge and experience with all cat lovers.

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