Why Does My Cat Put Toys in His Food Bowl?

A reader recently sent in this photo and asked, “Do your cats do this? Suzie does this EACH time she eats, she puts a toy in her dish, sometimes more than one. I find it so comical but don’t understand the meaning, do you have any ideas? I have found as many as 8 toys in one day….!”

cat puts toys in food bowl

My cats don’t do this – so I went to the streets to ask!  Ha ha – I mean, social media to ask!

Here’s what readers said on Facebook:

And here’s what they said on Instagram:

Many readers commented that their cats do this too – and also that their cats put toys in the water bowl.

There were several responses, but the overwhelming reason why is because it’s primal and they’re doing it to bury their food from predators.

Petcha.com says, “Cats often put their toys away in a “safe” place after playing with them, and cats look upon their food area as a secure part of their territory. This behavior is similar to cats in the wild who often take their prey back to their nest area to hide it from potential predators.”

Do your cats bring their toys for collection at the food and water bowls?

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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. My male Ragdoll licks his chest the entire time I’m brushing him! He acts as though he thinks he’s helping me! He used to only do it when being brushed, but now licks his chest a lot even when he’s not being brushed. I do think his long mane bothers him a lot. Why do you think he does this?

  2. Rasmussen Jeanne says:

    No, not toys, but I used to have a cat that would catch a mouse in our basement, eat the body, and put the head in his food bowl. Thanks, Chauncey…..I thought it was a gift to me. Lol

  3. Carol Evans says:

    I think it’s to keep all of their possessions in one spot.

    1. My cat he dumps his bowls up side down or he puts my throw rug in the kitchen on top of it all. It’s so funny. Cats are very smart. Ok

      1. My furbaby, Merlin, e very day would drop at least one of his toys into his water dish, never the food only the water. Merlin so far is the only furbaby that has done this.

  4. Ellie L Sanborn says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Love your website and newsletters, always find some good and interesting facts about furbabies. PLUS, I get to see more videos with Charlie, Chiggy and the other family members

    1. Thank you, Ellie – I appreciate it – thank you for being here and adding to the community!

  5. Yes, one of my two cats does this. It’s the cutest thing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Was trying to figure out why my cat puts her toy humming bird in her food bowl. I came across this article And found that my cat has the same hummingbird as you

  7. What a great topic, Jenny! I find this behavior adorably quirky! None of the cats I’ve had in my life have done this before. Miss Pink Sugarbelle doesn’t do it either but she does hoard her pipe cleaner toys (the twisty ones I make for her) under neath our kitchen garbage can, which makes me laugh each time I’m cleaning and find them under there or when I notice she is sitting next to the garbage can with the “Ummmmm. I need those things I put under there. Get them, please.” look on her face. 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

    1. Hi,
      Our Jack has 6or 7 rubber mice with fuzzy/ feathery tails. He keeps his collection in his heated pet bed and doesn’t like when they are moved or touched by others with or without fur. He rarely takes them out to play but when he does he returns them to their exact spot in his bed.
      Our new cat who is almost two is putting her two favourite toys in her food and water dishes. We’ve never had a cat do that before. She gave birth several months ago and lost her kittens.

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