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Cat pawing food out of dish

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
We aquired 2 orange tabby kittens about 2 months ago. Tiger and Jorin are adorable, and quite loving. They were barn cats, abandoned by their mother at 1 week. The person we got them from hand/bottle fed them since then. We got them at 8 weeks old. Tiger is the runt of the litter as well. Recently Tiger has started an odd behavior. He often paws at his water dish and swishes the water around. I'm getting him a running water fountain tomorrow, so hopefully he will stop that. But what concerns me is a couple days ago, he started digging all the food out of his dish. We free-feed them, with a 3 day supply of dry kitten food. He eats fine, he just makes a mess! Any ideas why he would start doing this all of a sudden?
post #2 of 14
We had this exact "problem" with our kitten. LOL!!! The replies I got were helpful with the food "burying." Sheldon also always stuck his paw in the water before drinking. We couldn't help laughing. We thought he was just making sure it was water or something! But he didn't kick much out of the dish: the dry food was the mess, not the water (although there was some soggy food. That solution was to simply move the water further away. Again, LOL!). We also got one of those fountains. He LOVES it. There was more water everywhere with that the first few days. We bought a PetMate, where the water kind of cascades down a ramp.

I ended up cutting a "bendy" straw to make it shorter, used a small piece of plastic to hold it in place, and pushed it into where the water comes out, so now water slides down the ramp and pours out of the straw. He played with it for a day or two, and now generally drinks out of where the water pours out of the straw, but the water mess has stopped.

Here's the link to my earlier thread, where you may find a suggestion that helps:


Good Luck!
post #3 of 14
Our Winnie is so lazy that she lays (lies?) down beside the food bowl, flips a kibble out towards her mouth and eats it off the floor.

Our kitten Elsa is still pretty short, so when she leans into one of the water bowls with a bit higher side, her chest pushes the side down and will soak her if it is full-ish. She (and all the other cats as well) feels the need to drink from the far side of the bowl. Both of my cats that I've had from baby kittens have stepped into the bowl at first when they were very small, just to drink from the other side of the bowl.

Clementine used to do this, and when she realized that her paw was wet after drinking, she decided it would be reasonable to use that to wash her face and ears, instead of wasting perfectly good saliva. She's like a bird at a birdbath.

My theory - cats are from space and we shouldn't try to understand them for fear of the repercussions... (just kidding of course), but they are always a mystery to me.
post #4 of 14
That is too funny! Our Sheldon doesn't do that with his kibble. And he really only likes the gravy in wet food, which we serve as a treat in the morning and evening. But when he feels like eating some of the pieces of meat in the wet food, he'll pick one up and relocate himself to eat it! Otherwise, he often sucks the juice off the meat and drops it on the mat next to the bowl. LOL!

I don't mind having to clean up. It makes me be religious about keeping their bowls and food area sparkling clean. :tounge2:
post #5 of 14
That reminds me of my ex-dog, Ted (live-in b-friend and I broke up, he got custody of the dog, I got the cat). We got him one of those foods that has different kinds of kibbles in in, and he would eat only the ones he liked and leave a pile of tiny bone-shaped kibbles that he hated. His dish was in the kitchen, and he didn't want to miss any of the "action" in the living room, so he would bring a mouthful of food out, drop it on the floor, eat it, and go back for another load.
post #6 of 14
Cats are never lacking in personality, are they??? LOL!!!!
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Got a picture of it yesterday.
post #8 of 14

Wow....that's a lotta food. I haven't got any advice to give except maybe put less food in the feeder and gradually add more as time prgresses. Tiger may just be wondering whether there's an end to all the food and is trying to find it. Russell used to get the food out of his bowl, deposit on his placemat and eat it. Though he's stopped it for now.

LDG....Russell loves gravy! He drinks all of it out of his wet food bowl, then looks at me and complains when it's all gone. A coupl hours later, he returns to eat the meat.
post #9 of 14
Oh my..... that's a lot of food (on the carpet!!!)

Consider yourself lucky, Cooper likes to hide her dry food around the house, I find little bits of food in the couch, under the table legs, IN THE FIRE PLACE, shes outta control!

LOL, its not like we don't feed her (she has a bowl full of dry food 24-7)

Guess she's just conserving!
post #10 of 14
It's funny you bring that up Lhezzza... when Spike was about 6 months old (he's almost 2.5 years now), I was cleaning out under my bed and found a pile of dry kitten food. I guess the little guy was storing it in case his food bowl went empty or something... he was more or less a stray when I got him, so I guess it sort of makes sense... made me sad to think he had to conserve food for days he didn't get any though...
post #11 of 14
Oh Myste point taken! I'm sorry for "lauging out loud (LOL)" ! That IS a mess. Our little guy just pawed 1/2 a cup out of the dish! My only suggestion would be to switch to an actual dish as opposed to a dispenser. We use a steel bowl. Just fill it up in the morning and then in the evening (assuming you work during the day. We work from home, and now I only put in about 1/2 cup of food at a time. We have two cats and two bowls. I fill them 1 - 3 times per day.) Then there just isn't the quantity of food to make the mess. And then you can try Hissy's handkerchief trick. (In the link in my earlier post), which might solve your problem altogether. It's worth a try.

And BOY do I feel lucky now! Our kittens aren't hording the food - and they were ferals!
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Don't be sorry for laughing, I find it quite comical myself. I wish I had a video camera so I could record it. He's getting better about it, still haven't figured out why he does it. I didn't get the fountain yesterday. Petco and petsmart were both $10 more than their websites, so I have to order it online and wait. Seems kinda silly, I had promised them we'd get it yesterday, but I was really upset that I had to break my promise to my "kids"
post #13 of 14
It's the "wild kitty" in him! He's burying his excess food so he can eat it later! I guess, in some weird way, you're lucky he doesn't "bury" all of it!!!!!

post #14 of 14
And one last thought - since your kitty likes to paw his water too, I wouldn't put the water fountain too near the food, or you'll have mush to clean up!!!!
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