Why Do Cats Cover Their Food?

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

If your cat is burying their food, it doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike it – it just means you are getting a glimpse of their wild side. Covering food is an instinct cats have carried over from before they were domesticated.

So why do cats bury their food?

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Cats in the wild do this as a protective measure to avoid attracting predators in the area that might threaten them or their young. Another reason for burying food is to prevent prey in the area from detecting their presence. This isn’t an attempt to save it for later; cats aren’t scavengers, so they do not bury food to come back and eat it later.

This is a fairly common and harmless behavior, so no need to worry if your cat starts trying to bury their food. However, if it does bother you, there are a few things you can try to get them to stop:

  • Give them smaller portions – watch what they eat and make sure you aren’t over-serving them.
  • Distract your cat with play if you see them starting to bury their food.
  • Don’t leave the food bowl out once your cat is finished eating. Take the bowl away, clean up anything on the floor, and simply refresh their water bowl.
  • If you leave food out all day, try putting it in puzzle feeders instead. This way they will have to “hunt” for their meal, which will distract them from covering – and give them some mental stimulation!
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

These tips might help break your cat of the covering habit, but remember it is completely natural for a cat to scratch around their food bowl or try to bury their food – just a hunter’s instinct even an indoor cat can still carry with them.

Does your Ragdoll cat cover their food? Do you try to stop the burying? What tricks do you use? Share below!

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. This is the second floppy baby that has done it. It isn’t excessive just a quick scratch or two around the area, so it Doesn’t bother me (it’s dry food) but she loves her water fountain. And uses her paw to catch the water stream occasionally so I may get a puzzle feeder to keep her entertained. I love my Boo Boo

  2. Fascinating post, Jenny! I didn’t know ANYTHING about this at all! All the kitties I’ve had in my life have never exhibited this behavior before. Very interesting! Miss PSB doesn’t do this either….yet. But if she does then I’ll know that it is normal and follow your suggestions… 🙂

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  3. Teresa Reid says:

    Love the article and thanks for the helpful tips. So far none of mine try to bury their food except for times when we try a new food. Gracie is the chief digger and she always tries to cover up her “new” food, sometimes even before trying it. Silly, silly girl but love her so much!♥

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