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Why do the bury food?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've seen this before at the shelter, but Maggie is the first cat I've had that has actually done this. If she doesn't want some type of food, or is done with it, she will try to bury the dish. In the cages at the shelter cats will actually put the food in their box & bury it. Maggie was trying to bury a plate this morning and it make me think why do they do that?
post #2 of 11
My cats do that too. I think I read somewhere that its just like natural instinct to cover everything. I don't know for sure, so hopefully someone else can give you more information.

post #3 of 11
I once wrote an article about this on my blog. It turns out that it's common behavior for cats in the wild to hide their prey to protect it from predators. It could be that that particular instinct is strong in your cat.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
It turns out that it's common behavior for cats in the wild to hide their prey to protect it from predators. It could be that that particular instinct is strong in your cat.
It could be. Her Mom was a feral cat when she came to the shelter. I don't know if I'm right, but I always think that feral cats have much more of their instincts left than cats that come from a long line of house cats.
post #5 of 11
Stanley does this all the time. Sometimes the bowl is empty, but he still digs around it. It's like a ritual for him. Now, he did come from a 60 cat house where he had to fight for his food, and Bella will finish her's and immediately sniff at his bowl, so I'm sure it has something to do with trying to save it for later.

Sometimes it makes me kind of sad Poor little guy! I'll always feed you!
post #6 of 11
to save it for later, of course!
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Maggie also does it when it's food she doesn't like.
post #8 of 11
I've read that if they smell the food and immediately try to bury it, they are thinking "yuck!". But if they eat a decent amount and then try to bury it, it's being saved for later.
post #9 of 11
My Sebastian does something similar. Amadeus doesn't do it though. Sebastian will just paw around the bowl like he's covering it up. Of course, he's not really covering it. He does that with the water bowl sometimes too!
post #10 of 11
Seamus does that all the time... takes bits out, 'digs', and moves them all over the house... I wind up finding bits of food around the house when I'm cleaning... he goes through the trouble of spilling and shifting some food around, but never actually goes back for it later... he won't eat anything that's touched the floor... he'll sometimes find napkins he's played with and put them in the bowl to cover the food, but if I don't get it out he won't move the napkin and eat the food... strange how he's 'wild' in the sense that he instinctively digs and hides, yet so house broken that heaven forbid his food touches the floor or gets something on it! I never thought about it til now...
post #11 of 11
I'm new to this forum-- can I just say, what a great resource! You guys are great.

Anyway, I recently noticed this too. Last weekend we adopted a 10 week old kitten to be a companion for our 1.5 year old sweet little girl Elliot. The kitten, Dory, seems to have this habit, and it looks like she has taught it to Elly. Elly never had this behavior before, but I think they are both doing it to "save for later"... they both eat healthy portions of their food, and then paw the floor around the food bowls, like they're digging for something, or cleaning up after any spills.

I figure, as long as the girls continue to get along so well, a few quirky new things are fine with me!
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