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Why does my cat try to bury her food?

All cat parents, at some point, have been completely surprised by some peculiar behavior of their little feline because sometimes cats can be so creative or just plain weird. One of their strangest habits is nothing more and nothing less than pretending to bury their food. There are even some crazy ones that go even further as to “dig it up” when they want to eat what was left over before. And then you’re there wondering, “why does my cat try to bury her food?

If your cat buries the food and you have no idea what she is doing, you have come to the right place because here you will find the answer to your question. Oh, and don’t worry, if your cat has this habit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she despises your food so much that she needs to bury it to never see or smell it again in his life, or does it? Let’s go find out!

Why do cats try to bury their food? 4 common reasons

The first thing you should know is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your cat, this strange behavior is instinctive, and she does it almost automatically without thinking much about it.

why does my cat try to bury her food - hiding it

And while this is natural, it has an explanation. Burying, covering, or scratching around their food is known as “caching” and is something big cats do to protect their food. These felines live exposed to the dangers of nature and the harsh weather, and both they and their food are easy prey for other predators, so they bury their food to hide it and keep it fresh.

When they want to eat again, they dig it up, and that’s it. They don’t have to go hunting again. Your cat is imitating this behavior, although the motivations aren’t the same because no hungry lion will steal his kibble.

1. Hiding it from thieves

Like their ancestors, your cat also “buries” its food to protect it from burglars. If someone steals a cat’s food, it would be the worst thing that could happen to them because remember that they are very territorial animals that defend their possessions fiercely.

When a cat lives in a house with more kitties, it is much more common that she tends to do this because she may think that if she has food left over, one of his roomies will eat it. This fear may be just in your cat’s imagination, or maybe you have a greedy cat that steals his kibble. Either way, remember that each kitty should have its food and water bowl. This way, you can avoid tension and stress between them.

2. Cleanliness comes first

I guess it’s no news to tell you that your cat loves cleanliness. Not for nothing does she spend most of his day grooming himself. Just as a cat will scratch outside his litter box to let you know it’s dirty, and you should clean it, she may do the same around his food bowl to clean the area once he’s finished eating.

In these cases, the cat is not burying anything. It is simply scratching around the bowl to clean the remains of food that may have been left. After all, the bowl and the area where you put it are his property, and as such, it should be squeaky clean. If your cat does this, put a gold star on his forehead for good behavior.

why does my cat try to bury her food - no danger

3. No scent, no danger

One of the reasons it is believed that big cats resort to caching is to hide the smell of their food so that no one can track them and therefore attack them. It’s like if you get up at night and eat a bunch of candy and forget to throw the wrappers away, of course, the following day, no matter how much you deny it, everyone at home will realize you’ve been there eating.

Your cat is no longer in danger of being attacked by a predator, but instinct keeps him in ninja mode, constantly vigilant, and it is this same instinct leads him to bury his food to hide the smell of kibble or wet food. Remember that cats are guided by their powerful sense of smell, so in this case, if no one can smell him or his tasty food, no one will be able to tell she was there.

4. They don’t like the food

I know I said it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like the food, but it may be true in some cases. Just like children tend to be picky eaters, some cats are too. Not just any food will be to their liking, and since cats are not subtle at all, they will let you know.

If you have just changed the kibble and your cat starts scratching around his bowl, chances are she did not like the taste of his new food.

How can I prevent my cat from burying its food?

If you’re worried that this habit might be harmful or dangerous for your cat, don’t worry because it’s not, it’s completely normal. If this habit isn’t causing you any problems, it’s best to let your cat keep doing it, but if scratching around his food bowl is damaging your floor or furniture, here are some tips to fix it.

  • Place a mat under the food dish so she scratches the mat and not the floor.
  • Remove the food bowl once your cat has finished eating, so she won’t have leftover food to bury.
  • Use an automatic feeder that releases the kibble little by little this way. Your cat will never have a bowl full of food to hide from thieves.
  • Don’t place their food bowl in areas that can be easily damaged or stained.
why does my cat try to bury her food - prevent it

Why does my cat try to bury her food? The bottom line

There you have it. Now that you know why your cat may be burying her food, you can rest easy knowing that it’s normal behavior for cats. However, if this habit becomes an obsession or a problem, there will always be solutions to help you and make everyone happy – your kitty included. So don’t worry too much, enjoy the show!

But most of all, remember that whether she is burying her food to hide it from other cats or simply cleaning up after herself, your kitty loves you and appreciates the excellent care you give her. So keep taking good care of your furry friend by giving her the nutrition and love she needs. She’ll thank you with purrs and cuddles.

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