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Covering food?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I adopted a little boy way back in February. He'd lived his first 7 months as a stray in a backyard of urban Cincinnati, Ohio. He's approaching a year old now, and we're doing really well Since he's the first cat I've had "on-my-own", I've been watching his behavior closely to make sure i'm doing right by him. Some funny things have come up, like his OCD for covering up his bowel movements or his explosion of vocals when the air conditioner kicks on, but i've been able to reason those away.

There's one thing that he's started doing recently though, and it's baffling me: He's taken to trying to cover his food and water dishes when he's had his fill. His dishes sit on a tray which i've placed on a blanket he's familiar with, and after he's eaten he'll paw at the blanket until it's covering both the water and food bowls. I'm wondering if anyone else has observed this kind of behavior, what it may mean, and if it's relatively harmless. It's not hurting anything, other than occasionally making a mess, but i'm hoping it's not symptomatic of something else?
post #2 of 7
My family's dog used to do that whenever he got the kind of food he disliked.
If somebody took his food bowl out & either added something else or replaced food, then nothing happened - he'd be just a happy dog, BUT, if nobody did anything, then he knocked the bowl & turned it upside down as if he was demanding us "This food sucks, change it!"
post #3 of 7
My Lucky does that too, I think it is an instinct , she was a bottlefed orphan so she didn't learn it from anyone.
post #4 of 7
My Kinky does that, he never used to until I moved. No idea why they do it though, the little goofballs
post #5 of 7
It is an instinctual behavior.
Some do it, some don't.

They bury uneaten food to eat later, covering the smell to avoid drawing predators.
They are also leaving a scent marking as they do this.
post #6 of 7
Mine paw at the ground & try to cover the foods....but the tray I have everything on is too hard. SO oh well. But when wet food is down on the towel, look out, it's covered as some are still eating it.
Cats, who can figure them out!?
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
hehe, thanks for the replies! Glad to know it's not some harbinger of mental trauma or something. We recently made a looooong move to the east-coast and Toulouse has had to deal with 14 hours in a cage in the car and then getting used to a whole new apartment. Today marks our first week here, and he's only started 'burying' his food in the last 3 or 4 days.

It makes sense that it's an instinctual thing to protect his food stash, especially given the change in his environment. The apartment here doesn't have AC, so the windows are open constantly (screened in of course!) and the smells and sounds of the unfamiliar outdoors (all that sea-salt in the air, and the ocean birds, and maybe the coyotes even) must have triggered the desire to hide his food-stores. I'll just chalk it up as one of my kitties personal quirks
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