Hey, hey, I’m back. Today I got an interesting question at work and I realized that I never shared my experience with you. The question was, “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?”. When one of our regular customers asked me that, I smiled and gave him the answers he needed.
Being a first-time pet owner can be, say it lightly, a bit tiring. Your ball of fur is running all over the place, and it absolutely seems like she has some extra energy. Then, when she has to eat you have to help her figure out where the food bowl is.
When Nora first came to my home, she was a calm kitty. I think she was a bit afraid after everything she went through. Changing the environment didn’t help either. Anyways, since she was pretty weak, I had to feed her most of the time.
Eventually, she grew stronger and started eating on her own. But there was a little catch. She refused to eat if I wasn’t present. That was a little weird in the beginning, but I decided to go with the flow. After all, she was extremely adorable while munching.
Later on, I realized that there was actually nothing wrong with that, especially because I used to feed her when she was little. So, do you want to know the answer to the question “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat” as well? Buckle up!
Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?
Since I already revealed that you don’t have to worry that something serious is happening with your feline, it would be nice to give you all the reasons why. If she wants you to watch her while she’s eating, that’s cute and you’ll see why.
As a pet owner, I learned that you can have an unbreakable bond with your fluff. If you work on it. I used to play with Nora all the time, and feed her from the bottle while she was just a little kitty and after some time, we were even sharing the bed.
We would eat at the same time of the day and those were, and still are, my favorite moments. Yes, I still watch her while she’s eating. What can I say, she’s my weakness. I’ve learned with time that my furbaby is a social eater. That’s why I’m trying to schedule our meals at the same time.
Anyways, here are a couple of reasons that perfectly fit as the answer to the why-does-my-cat-want-me-to-watch-her-eat question.
1. She needs to be caressed while eating
I used to believe that, since our domestic cats are related to those wild ones, I shouldn’t touch her while she’s eating. That was until I realized that most of these fluffs actually love to be petted all the time.
Of course, cats are territorial beings and in some other circumstances, they would definitely protect their food. But, they live with you, share the same roof, and, most importantly, they trust you unconditionally.
Because of that, your feline knows that you won’t steal her meal from her. Instead, while you’re caressing her during her food break, she’ll enjoy it completely.
In case her stress levels are high, anxiety kicks in, or she had some problems with eating previously, your touch will calm her down. Also, some cats may be a bit timid at the start and afraid of their new owners, so petting her while she’s eating will make her feel comfortable.
2. She got used to your presence
People say that it takes only 21 days to adopt something as a habit. Now imagine if you were nurturing her while she was still weak and could barely stand on her own paws. She definitely got used to your presence.
Next time when you roll your eyes at her desperate meowing and ask yourself, “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?” remember that you were there when she needed you the most. There’s no going back now.
If your fluff had problems with swallowing when she was still a kitty, you probably used a syringe or a spoon to feed her. I can bet that during that process, she was comfortably placed in your lap. See, you created a habit out of it.
I did the same with Nora, and I’m not complaining at all. In fact, I’m extremely proud of the bond the two of us share, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
But, because we used to spend a lot of time together while she was growing up, it’s kind of expected of me to be present. It may be the same with your cat too.
As much as we like to have the whole family at the dining table and socialize, so do cats. Yes, I know that when you think of wild cats, the last thing on your mind is that they may all gather and have a feast together, right?
However, since your feline has been socializing with you for some time now, she got used to it. Now, she’s an affectionate eater, as some people would say. Generally, cats are considered extremely territorial creatures that will sometimes act aggressively if their private space is compromised.
I don’t have to mention hissing and quietly disapproving of your presence when they’re not feeling like it, you already know that. But, after a couple of petting sessions, you kind of stole her heart. She’ll definitely want your attention.
That’s one of the reasons why your cat will want you to watch her while she’s eating. It’s pretty unreal how they’re adopting a lot of our hooman habits as they’re spending more time with us.
4. She doesn’t want to miss a potential action
There’s an old saying that witnesses a cat’s curiosity. You also know that cats will explore every new environment that they end up in. Therefore, it’s easy to conclude the answer to “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?”– she doesn’t want to miss anything.
When your fluff is eating, her head is in her bowl and her eyes are focused on the food in front of her. What if you take that amazing pen that has a feather on the top because you needed to write something down? How can she miss the opportunity to chase it a bit?
No, no, pal, she has to play with it. If you’re a cat parent to more than one cat, she’ll definitely live in a “fear” that something may happen while she’s absent. Even though she’s doing her second favorite thing.
I don’t know how many of you watched HIMYM, but if you did and you remember that episode (it’s called Blitzgiving if my memory serves me well) where someone was always the Blitz, that’s what I’m talking about. Your kitty doesn’t want to be the “cursed” one.
This “problem” will be the easiest to recognize. If she’s afraid of missing out, you’ll notice how she’s scanning the room to find you before she starts eating.
5. She wants your attention
If you asked yourself something like, “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?” the answer may be super simple. She wants your attention. In cats’ world, if you’re looking at them while they’re eating, it means that you love them.
I know that people usually say that cats and dogs are different. The premise is that dogs are more affectionate toward their owners. Even though this may be the case, cats can’t be called out for not caring either.
Yes, felines are needy as well. They enjoy receiving your attention and being pampered too, there’s no doubt about it. Some cat breeds need more of your time, like Ragdoll and Maine Coon, for example.
Your fluff may just jump into your lap and clearly show you that she needs attention. But, she’ll subtly request it with loud meowing, paw touching, or by simply staring at you until you realize what she wants.
6. She needs support
Okay, don’t look at this as emotional support or that you have to feed her one bite at a time. Remember how in some of the previous articles I’ve mentioned that cats are the most vulnerable when eating?
Back in the wilderness, cats are fully focused on hunting their prey and then eating it. Still, in those moments, they can be worried about other predators as well.
You’re also familiar with the fact that cats observe their environment constantly, even when eating. So, if her feeding bowl is in the corner, or it’s facing the wall, she may be a bit anxious every time she needs to have a meal.
If you’re leaving her to go to work, she’ll want to be by your side the whole time you’re at home. She may also be afraid of spending time alone, or she has separation anxiety.
Therefore, she’ll need someone to have her back, and she chose you. Instead of asking, “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?”, better ask yourself how to be a better hunting and support buddy. She needs her favorite hooman to be with her!
7. She trusts you
I assume that you know how two of the biggest problems for our little fluffs are stress and anxiety. Now, go back in time and try to remember if your little furbaby had some problems while eating.
Maybe something bad happened when she was younger or even recently that left trauma behind. For example, let’s say she was eating and a crumble went down the wrong tube. (This probably had happened to you plenty of times so you know what I’m talking about).
You were near her, so you helped her immediately. She didn’t forget that. Now, she got attached to you a bit more and she’s aware that you’ll rescue her if something goes wrong.
If your cat wants you to watch her while she’s eating, it’s because she trusts that you’ll protect her and her territory – no ifs, buts, and maybes. That’s the most important recognition in the cats’ world that you can only obtain with time.
You know how sometimes it’s just difficult to swallow one bite because you feel uncomfortable? The same thing may be happening to your fluff and she doesn’t know how to express it. However, she’ll tell you by asking you to watch her while she’s eating.
8. She may be sick
The last thing you wanted to hear is that your cat has some problems if she wants you to watch her while she’s eating. Unfortunately, that may be a problem as well. There are a lot of underlying health issues that can cause loss of appetite or vomiting.
If you notice that your cat is lethargic, don’t hesitate to take her to the vet and ask for help and advice. It’s true that some felines get better after home care, but don’t experiment if you don’t want her to go on a trip to kitty’s heaven.
As soon as you figure out that your furbaby is not eating much, at least consult with a specialist. He may give you the right answer to the question, “Why does my cat want me to watch her while she’s eating?” (especially if you haven’t found it on this list).
How can she drop this habit?
I know that there’s nothing you’d rather do than spend time with your feline once you get back from work. But, staying next to her in the living room and watching her while she’s eating is not something you prefer.
Since neither of the reasons mentioned above is serious (except for the last one), how can I help her change this behavior? Is it possible for her to drop this habit? Let’s find out!
1. Make her feel safe
One of the first things that you can do is to make her feel safe. As we’ve already stated, cats don’t like changes and even the slightest one can make her upset. If you’ve moved to a new place, got a new family member, or simply moved that big plant to another corner, she may feel a bit confused.
So, before you start complaining about her behavior, try to remove all the stressors from her surroundings. I know that you can’t go back to the home she got used to, but try to make it work in the new one.
If you’re introducing a new family member, take it slowly. Of course, some will get along right from the start. However, there are some pets that you’ll have to keep in separate rooms for a while. If some other factors may be upsetting her, modify them.
2. Move her feeding bowl
So far you know that the problem may be because of her food bowl’s location. So, try to move it around until you find the perfect spot, no kitting. Pet parents usually fit these containers somewhere in the corners, because it’s easier for them to clean the space.
Most felines don’t actually like that. Being in a corner doesn’t allow them to have a good overview of the situation and room in general, so they won’t feel comfortable. Also, if they have to face the wall while they’re eating, they won’t be very happy and you’ll have to watch them.
So, when choosing the perfect spot, try to find a place from where she’ll be able to see the whole room. That way, she can observe what’s happening around her. You’ll also be able to do chores or go to the toilet without her desperate meows.
3. Have multiple feeding bowls around the house
Another great solution for your fluff to drop this habit is to put multiple feeding bowls around the house. They don’t have to be something extremely special, but that way, you’ll give her the freedom to choose where she wants to eat.
She’ll opt for the one where she feels the safest or the one that’s the closest to you, but your presence won’t be “requested”. In case you have more than just one pet, you surely have more of these little food containers. So you just have to make sure that each feline has its own.
That way you’ll avoid conflicts for food and territory. And well, your cat won’t call you to make her company and watch while she’s eating.
4. Minimize the time you spend with her while she’s eating
If you asked yourself the question, “Why does my cat want me to watch her while she’s eating?”, you probably never thought that you could actually train her not to call you. So, the next time when she starts requesting your presence, try to kindly reject it.
Of course, cats won’t quite understand what you’re saying, but you can gradually reduce the amount of time you spend with her while she’s eating until you can leave her alone.
When you decide to start with this exercise, put down her bowl so she can start eating. You can stand next to her for some time, but then slowly walk away when she’s ending the meal. In case she starts protesting (some cats definitely will loudly tell you that they disagree), repeat it a couple more times.
5. Give her more attention during the day
If your cat wants you to watch her eat simply because you’re not spending enough time with her, try to do more bonding activities throughout the day. I’m sure she’ll enjoy dining on her own then.
Just spare some time during the day to brush her, play with her, or simply snuggle with her. Any form of affection and attention will mean the world to her. A happy kitty purring on your lap is always a good sign that she’s enjoying your quality time together.
You can also buy her some toys, scratching posts, cat trees, anything, in fact, that will keep her busy. Of course, interactive games, especially those where you’ll join her, are more than welcome.
I know that for some people this occurrence may be a bit silly, but it’s completely normal cat behavior. Before you start rolling your eyes again and repeating the question, “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?”, remember how cute that actually is.
She’s not going to need your attention forever, so why wouldn’t you use the time that you have right now? It’s normal that your furbaby craves attention, especially if you’re not sharing enough of your free time with her. So, change that.