It was the beginning of spring, and the first day my kitty and I spent some time in our garden. Pearl and I played and cuddled for some time before I gave her her favorite treat. I sat there admiring her beauty until I saw her digging in the ground, and I wondered “Why does my cat try to bury her food?”
I suddenly remembered all those apocalyptic movies and even at one point considered burying some food myself because I heard that kitties can sense upcoming danger. And I’ve clearly watched so many dystopian movies that I’m pretty sure I would win the Hunger Games if I start training for them on time.
Luckily, before I started my doom’s day prep, I decided to check if there are any other possible reasons for my cat’s action other than a pending apocalypse. And surprise, surprise – there are actually some even more likely situations that can force your kitty to do the same.
No matter how much I like Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, and other dystopian movies, I still felt relieved when I figured out that I wouldn’t have to participate. And if you don’t believe me that the world as we know it is not ending, you need to continue reading to learn about the other possible reasons.
Let’s get back to the real world for a minute and get down to why some cats try to bury their food. I have five reasons waiting for you. Enjoy!
5 reasons a cat tries to bury their food
If you have an indoor kitty, you’ve probably noticed that she’s trying to bury some of her food. Unfortunately for her, there’s probably no ground that she can actually dig, so she’s just scratching around her food bowl.
However, if you feed her outside, you’ll probably get the chance to see her hiding some of those tasty pieces of meat somewhere deep in the ground. But why does she do it? Is she anxious about something or does she just like to plan her meals?
To help you understand your little digger more, I prepared the five most common answers to your question. They are just more proof of how smart cats are. Enjoy this interesting quick lesson!
I like to compare kids and cats. They really have some similarities. Both of them enjoy sleeping, playing, and eating their favorite meals. However, there’s something more that they have in common! And it’s a fact that most of them don’t really like to share their things with anyone.
When kids want to keep their things safe, they tend to hide them somewhere in the house where no one would ever think to find them. Well, cats are pretty similar to them. If your meower feels like she’ll be obliged to share her meal with any other cat, she’ll try to keep it safe.
And what better way to achieve that than to bury it somewhere? Unfortunately, if she’s an indoor cat, she might damage her claws and your wooden floor, and also make a mess around her food bowl. But don’t get mad at her, she just prefers to keep her belongings all to herself.
2) She doesn’t like it
Since we’ve just mentioned the connection between kids and cats, let’s stick to that for a minute more. Have you ever been forced to eat something you didn’t like just because you were too little and you couldn’t really make yourself any new meals? We’ve all been there.
But if you’re like me, and most of my friends, then you found a way to get rid of some of that food you didn’t really fancy eating. Most of the time, we’d put the undesirable part of the meal in a napkin and get rid of it when we leave the dining table. I’m sure you’ve done or seen someone doing that at least once.
Well, if your cat doesn’t like what you’ve prepared for her, she might try to bury that food. She assumes that you won’t go around digging to find the missing food, because you’ll think that she ate everything. Clever little kitty, isn’t she?
3) Your kitto is just saving it for later
There’s no other animal who knows more about survival than cats. When I say cats, I mostly refer to the big, wild ones like tigers and leopards. But your fluffy buddy is still their cousin. And that means they share some pretty similar DNA. That also means your kitty is actually much stronger than she seems.
Apart from shared physical strength, she also thinks like them. And what’s the number one thing in their mind? Survival! So every time they can save some leftovers, they will do so. That’s because you never know when something bad can happen and you’ll be left with no food.
Your kitty is just like them. So every time she can’t eat everything you’ve prepared for her, she’ll try to hide the rest of the food somewhere only she knows. And most of the time, her natural instinct will tell her that she should dig a hole and put her meal there.
4) She’s covering her tracks
Big cats are one of the most famous predators in the world. And they almost have nothing to fear on the food chain. However, your fluffy roommate is aware of the fact she isn’t as big and strong as her distant cousins in the wilderness. So she sometimes gets scared that she’ll be someone’s prey.
Just like she hunts for food, and she can smell it from miles away, she knows that other animals or even other cats can do the same. So whenever she has some food left after eating your super-tasty dinner, she’ll try to hide it. But why does she do it?
Your cat might try to bury the leftovers because she wants to cover her tracks. She’s afraid that a bigger and stronger threat will realize there’s nice food at her home, and that she’ll suddenly become someone’s prey. Cats easily get anxious and fear of being attacked is one of the most common reasons it happens.
5) Your cat is trying to keep her space clean
Every cat owner knows that if a cat is not sleeping, eating, or playing, there’s only one more thing she can be doing. Destroying your new flat-screen TV? Well, yes, that’s a pawsibility, but I wasn’t thinking of that one at the moment! The most probable thing she’ll be doing is cleaning herself.
They’ve earned a reputation for being the cleanest animals in the world and they work hard to maintain that title. And by working hard, I mean that they spend hours a day cleaning themselves, their kittens, even you, and the places they like to spend time.
If everything surrounding them is clean, they can rest assured knowing that there aren’t any threats to their title. So if there are any leftovers around her food bowl or anywhere she spends a lot of time, she’ll try to get rid of them. If she can’t eat it, your cat will probably try to bury the pieces of food she found.
How to make your cat stop burying her food?
If your kitty is constantly scratching the floor and risking damaging her claws and all the nerves located on her paws, you should rather make her stop. Don’t worry, I prepared some tips and tricks that can help you. Let’s check them out.
– Feed her smaller portions. Instead of giving her two big meals per day, you can feed her more often but in smaller portions. That way she’ll never be hungry, but there still won’t be enough food at a time for her to try to bury.
– Feed your cats separately. If you have more than one kitty, feed them separately. Cats don’t like to share their food, so if some other feline is eating next to her, she might get scared and try to bury more food.
That’s because she wants to feel safe knowing that there’s definitely enough hidden food waiting for her in case the other cats steal from her bowl.
– Make a feeding schedule. It’s easy for cats to create a habit and stick to it. So if you feed them around the same time every day, they won’t feel the need to hide and save any food for later. It’ll also make them feel more comfortable, which will reflect positively in their behavior.
– Pick up the bowl after she’s done eating. If you’re sure you’ll be at home and be able to feed your kitty when she gets hungry again, it’s totally fine to pick up her bowl when she’s done eating.
It’s also a good idea because washing the bowl immediately will help you keep it safe from all the bacteria. Especially because cats like to lick their bowls and the floor around them after eating.
Congrats! Now you know the answer to “Why does my cat try to bury her food?” and you even know a few tips and tricks on how to stop her from doing so.
A last note: It’s very important for her to keep her claws safe. She needs them for various reasons, and if she’s scratching indoors, she might temporarily damage them.
I know that as a cat owner, you always worry about something, but this is not one of those situations that should keep you up at night. Always keep in mind that it’s 100% normal behavior and it just comes from her natural instincts. There’s nothing to worry about!