Hey guys, it’s me again. I have a really cute topic for today. “Why does my cat eat with his paws?”. That was one of the questions that I recently had to answer. Are you ready to hear the explanation?
First of all, let me share my personal story with you. As it’s known by now, I’m a proud cat parent. Nora came into my home when I had no idea how to take care of cats at all. After spending a lot of time with her, I decided to share my knowledge with others.
Anyway, when I noticed my fluff eating with her paw for the first time, my heart melted. Turned out that the reason was not as cute, her food bowl was small for her. But, after a while, she adopted this adorable habit of eating her meals with her little paws.
My vet told me that she’s trying to imitate what I’m doing since we usually dine together. But those are just some of the reasons why your cat is eating with his or her paws. Do you want to learn more? If you do, stick with me to the end of the article.
Why does my cat eat with his paws?
How do cats eat their food? They bend their head down into their food bowls and enjoy the taste of magic served in front of them. But what happens when the feline is acting differently? Why does my cat eat with his paws? If this is something you’d like to know, you’re at the right place.
There are a couple of reasons why you asked yourself this question. You either saw your feline eating with his paws, or someone told you that it’s possible for cats to adopt this human-like behavior. I’m not going to ask what brought you here, but I’ll definitely help you to find the answers.
Honestly, there’s nothing to worry about if your cat eats with his paws. I mean, a couple of problems may explain why he’s using his paws, but it’s nothing that can’t be solved. Okay, enough babbling, let’s go through all the details.
1. His feeding bowl isn’t the right one
So, this is the problem that my furbaby had. She outgrew it sooner than I realized. So, instead of trying to fit her head in the tiny bowl to eat, she started using her paw to reach for food. It may be the same in your case, too.
If your fluffy companion is growing, he may need a bigger food container. Another reason can be that the bowl is too deep, so it’s quite impossible no matter how hard he tries to reach for food. He obviously doesn’t want to starve, so he finds another way.
Cats are brilliant creatures, but a bit picky as well. If his feeding bowl isn’t the right one, your furry ball of happiness won’t stick his head inside.
2. He has whisker fatigue
Whiskers are one of the main assets your feline has. Why am I saying this? Your cat is using his whiskers to find his way around. He’s using his whiskers to detect the temperature of the room and to measure the distance as well.
Because the tips of his whiskers are extremely sensitive, touching the walls of the bowl all the time while he’s eating won’t be pleasant. Overstimulation of this part of the cat’s body is called whisker fatigue or stress.
Every time when your fluff tries to reach for the food, his whiskers are sending information to his brain. To avoid this, he’s going to use his paws to reach for the food. Maybe he won’t eat as much, but at least it’s less painful.
3. He doesn’t like the location of his food bowl
You know how I mentioned that cats are pretty picky, right? Well, one of the reasons why, on earth, your cat is eating with his paws, instead of eating “regularly” is because he doesn’t like the location of his food bowl.
I know that this may be a bit weird for new cat owners and you may be wondering why cats care about where the food is placed. You see, cats like to observe every corner of the living space and they need to be alert.
So, when choosing the perfect place for his food bowl, don’t opt for corners even though they are the easiest to clean. Rather pick something that will allow your feline to see clearly what’s happening in front of her because cats don’t like surprises.
If the location is the main culprit, your feline will be eating with his paw because that position allows him to detect danger on time.
4. He wants to feel the texture of food
Cats are curious creatures and I think that there’s no need to explain that all over again. They’ll be sniffing and pawing around like it’s a normal thing. It is for them though, so that’s one of the reasons why your cat eats with his paws.
When you serve your feline a new meal, he’s going to touch it first to check the texture. Another thing that he’ll be checking is if the food you’re serving is safe. It’s not that he doesn’t trust you, but he wants to make sure whether he can start eating right away or if the meal has to cool down a bit.
Cat’s paws are very sensitive and when it comes to food that ends up on his paws the best solution is to eat it, right? This may happen more often if you’re experimenting with food and you serve her beans one day, turkey the other, and popcorn while you’re munching on them.
5. He’s practicing his hunting skills
I hope you know that wild cats were tamed back in the day and that’s the reason why we have our domestic felines now. For that reason, the gene of wilderness is still running through their veins. Okay, sorry, I don’t have to be this dramatic.
Anyway, when your cat decides to eat with his paws, he may be practicing his hunting skills. This is usually the case with kitties that don’t have previous hunting experience. They will play with their food, and poke it, even though it can’t run away from them.
6. He likes to eat with his paws
There’s nothing weird about this statement. Yes, your cat likes eating with his paws. Even though it’s hard to believe, he may be doing this simply because he likes the whole process. Firstly, he touches the food, he’s well aware of the texture and the temperature and he can go for it.
His whiskers are free and he doesn’t have to bow down his neck to reach for the food in his bowl. Add to all of these benefits the fact that he has a better view of the room while eating upright and you have everything that you need.
7. He’s imitating you!
If you’ve asked yourself the question, “Why does my cat eat with his paws” and none of the previous reasons was the right answer, maybe your fluffball is imitating you! This is the most adorable way that’s showing how strong a bond between the two of you is.
Also, if he’s eating with his paws more often than not, some experts believe that this means that your fluff is highly intelligent. He’s watching you do a lot of different things daily that seem a bit difficult for him, but he’ll gladly learn how to open the door and drink tap water when he’s thirsty.
Since he likes being around you and feels comfortable with you, he may try out the things you do, too. I mean, you’re still alive and repeatedly doing the same things, so why not? Yes, this may be the only reason why your cat is eating with his paws.
Should I be worried if my cat eats with his paws?
Truth be told, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Of course, felines are walking everywhere and can’t save their paws from being dirty from time to time. But they also clean themselves all the time, so if your cat likes to eat with his paws, why would you forbid him to do that?
Don’t be such a strict cat parent. Rather, enjoy the cuteness of the moment and take a couple of candid photos. However, if you think that there may be some underlying problem with why he’s eating this way, try to help him.
Your feline is the most vulnerable when he’s eating, that’s why he needs a perfect place to observe everything that’s happening around him. He is under a lot of stress if the bowl is not in a good place. And well, stress is the greatest enemy of these fluffballs.
In case you’re extremely worried, contact your vet and ask for advice. It would be even better if he or she knows your kitty, so they already know if he has a predisposition for some serious illness. That way, you may prevent the problem on time and help your fluff immediately.
What should I do so my cat stops eating with his paws?
As I’ve told you previously, this behavior is nothing you should be worried about. You could read all the possible reasons why this is happening. However, if you badly want to stop this and learn your fluff fine-dining catiquette, you can make some modifications to her food bowl.
From now on, serve his food in a shallower container, perhaps choosing a plate or a saucer will be a good idea. Also, keep in mind that cats don’t really like to eat out of plastic dishes, since the smell of plastic messes with the smell of their food.
Try replacing his plastic bowl with a stainless steel plate or ceramic bowl. In case he’s just eating wet food with his paws, perhaps you could put rubber padding under it because it’s possible that the bowl is moving when he’s eating.
Your feline simply wants to eat in peace rather than follow his food bowl all around the house. So, please, invest a bit of money to either buy him a heavier container or that rubber padding that I mentioned before.
Why does my cat lick his paws after eating?
You already know that cats are groom freaks and they clean themselves a lot during the day. If your feline licks his paws after eating, especially after ingesting wet food, don’t worry about it. It’s nothing bad.
Since his ancestors used to live in the wilderness, your fluff still has this, I’d say, inherited habit. Wild cats’ prey was never cleaner than them, so they needed to “wash” themselves after the meal. Front paws, whiskers, and most parts around their mouth would get at least a bit dirty.
Indeed, cats are flexible, but there are certain parts that they can’t simply reach with their tongue (something similar to the fact that you can’t lick your elbow). Therefore, your furball will use his paws as a “washcloth” to clean himself completely.
To do this, he’ll first lick his paw and then gently wipe the part that has to be cleaned. He may repeat this process a couple of times just to be sure that he removed all the dirt. Once he’s done with that, he’ll clean his paws too.
I guess that you know how cats’ tongues are really harsh because they have papillae on their surfaces. Those little spikes help them maintain healthy and shiny fur, as well as remove all the dead skin cells and excess hair from it.
So, don’t freak out if your feline starts licking his paws after eating, he needs to clean up himself.
I hope that I managed to give you a detailed answer to the question, “Why does my cat eat with his paws?”. As you can conclude, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about since that is pretty normal behavior in cats.
Sure, it’s possible that some issues are bothering your fluff, but they all can be solved in no time. So, allow your heart to melt when your cat uses his paw simply to take a bite and enjoy the process of, for some pet owners, a pretty unusual occurrence.
If you, however, have some concerns and think that something serious may be bothering your feline, don’t hesitate to contact your wet and express your concerns. That’s about it for now, I’ll write soon!