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feral burying food

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody, so I've got a new question though a small one in the scheme of things.   When Hercules was in the trap I discovered his great love of Wellness canned food.   These last couple of nights have been unusually cold in the twenties, so even though I normally feed only dry I gave him a whole 5.5 ounce can last night and tonight to give him extra fuel and hyrdration.   Well tonight I go out to pick up the plate and he's buried it completely!   After I shook off the dirt I saw he had cleaned the plate fortunately.    Last night he did not bury but just ate.   Anybody know what this is about?   Does this mean he likes it or it gave him heartburn?

post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 

I shoulda done a search first - seems this is a common cat behavior!   I was still amazed though - he put a lot of dirt on that plate, I could barely see it.

post #3 of 35
laughing02.gif My indoor kitties "bury" their food if they don't want to finish. They, of course, just paw the air over and around the dish. I find it hysterical. Mine are all feral rescues - but I think many kitties do this, even if not feral for generations. It's not that they don't like the food - it's that they're saving it for later. Lazlo is my cancer survivor, so I spoil him in ways I don't with the other kitties. He doesn't want to finish a meal, I let him not finish. But I keep it, because in about 30 minutes he'll want the rest of it.... The difference between not finishing and not liking? If he doesn't like it, he won't even eat it, and won't bother burying it. Otherwise he eats, and buries it when he doesn't want to eat any more, but wants to finish it later. biggrin.gif

The funny thing is, none of the ferals outside do this! laughing02.gif
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 

That sounds so cute LDG!   They've got no dirt so they just have to pantomime burying the food poor kitties.   laughing02.gif

post #5 of 35
It IS so cute! laughing02.gif A long time rescuer found that some rescue kitties will get really frustrated not being able to bury their food (and sometimes flip over the dish). So she will put a handkerchief down under the small bowl, so they have some that will flip up over the food when they go to bury it! hearthrob.gif
post #6 of 35
that is too funny, burying it under a pile of air laughing02.gif i can honestly say that i have never had a cat, feral or otherwise, do that.

you should make a video of them doing that, it would get a million views on youtube.
post #7 of 35
Mine goes to great lenghts to get food hidden, roll of paper is in danger no matter where that is, Tiger goes and gets it, paws it and when roll unfolds a bit he grabs paper with his mouth and runs to food bowl where he covers the bowl, resulting paper roll being pulled across the room and unfolding quite a bit in the process.

He also stalks his food bowl and awaits hours there, if another cat comes from cat door he is immediately leaping in to defend his food.

Such strong desire he has to protect his food that he has to see it when I pick him up or he gets very anxious.

This of course does happen only with wet food, which I give them a bit, rest is dry food that they eat. Having six of them, there is bit of competition of course who gets bigger portion of wet food can.

There is also bit of territory between two rooms, most feral of them has limited rights to come to other room it appears and Tigers new greater effort hiding seem to be related to that somewhat.

Anyway this is better than earlier when Tiger did hide food from bowl to floor...
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

laughing02.gif My indoor kitties "bury" their food if they don't want to finish. They, of course, just paw the air over and around the dish. I find it hysterical. Mine are all feral rescues - but I think many kitties do this, even if not feral for generations. It's not that they don't like the food - it's that they're saving it for later. Lazlo is my cancer survivor, so I spoil him in ways I don't with the other kitties. He doesn't want to finish a meal, I let him not finish. But I keep it, because in about 30 minutes he'll want the rest of it.... The difference between not finishing and not liking? If he doesn't like it, he won't even eat it, and won't bother burying it. Otherwise he eats, and buries it when he doesn't want to eat any more, but wants to finish it later. biggrin.gif
The funny thing is, none of the ferals outside do this! laughing02.gif

My kitties do this as well, but at least they don't go as far as the dog.  He will search the house for something to stuff into his dish so that it's buried.  Towels and children's clothes are not safe!  He'll drag them across the house so he can cover his dish with it!

post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by socksy View Post

My kitties do this as well, but at least they don't go as far as the dog.  He will search the house for something to stuff into his dish so that it's buried.  Towels and children's clothes are not safe!  He'll drag them across the house so he can cover his dish with it!

I wonder if my Tiger actually is a dog in disguise now, he is as much straight to the point like dogs are, loves patting of side and he is very much like a dog, except he does not obey as well, but he does obey 'come' most of the time biggrin.gif
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 

Update....so Hercules' food burying has progressed.    He now buries his dry food as well, while there are still kibbles in the bowl!    He's clearly still eating more than half the kibbles but he puts a whole lot of dirt on the rest so I have to throw it away.  I have no other location to feed him at where there wouldn't be dirt.  I am in the process of mixing his old Purina with the Indigo Moon (IM) and just recently switched to 2/3 IM and 1/3 Purina.   Could this mean he dislikes the IM?   Or does it mean he fills up on it sooner and is burying the rest because he doesn't want anyone else to get it?    My two indoor cats love the IM and seem to tolerate it okay.

 

Thoughts?

post #11 of 35
I love when my girls "air bury" their wet food.

Summer of 2011 I had a feral momma (Skippy) give birth to her litter of 3 (Bobby, Chip, Sammy and Sally) in my backyard. She buried her food and the other ferals actually left it alone. She would come back later and uncover it and finish.

To keep her from putting dirt in the food, I strategically placed green leaves near the dish and placed the dish on a matt or cardboard etc.

It was super cute to watch from the window smile.gif

(All these guys have a stylish ear tip now)
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastfriend View Post

Update....so Hercules' food burying has progressed.    He now buries his dry food as well, while there are still kibbles in the bowl!    He's clearly still eating more than half the kibbles but he puts a whole lot of dirt on the rest so I have to throw it away.  I have no other location to feed him at where there wouldn't be dirt.  I am in the process of mixing his old Purina with the Indigo Moon (IM) and just recently switched to 2/3 IM and 1/3 Purina.   Could this mean he dislikes the IM?   Or does it mean he fills up on it sooner and is burying the rest because he doesn't want anyone else to get it?    My two indoor cats love the IM and seem to tolerate it okay.

 

Thoughts?


I'm pretty sure he's doing it as he doesn't want anyone else to get it.  My girl 'air buries' her food constantly, as the boy is such a little glutton.

I really don't know what you can do about it though headscratch.gif

post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 

Skor, yes why can't he stick to air burying???   The spot where I feed him needs to stay as incognito as possible so I can't really put stuff on the ground under the bowls like with your system which is a great idea.   But there is good news, he does seem to be managing to eat most of the kibbles through the dirt (hate to think how unhealthy that is) and the couple days where a lot of kibbles and dirt were left seem to be a one off.   

 

Mani, thanks for the reassurance that this means he probably does like the new food.   And as I just shared with Skor, it looks like this may be working out.   Poor fellow must have a cast iron stomach and immune system though.  

 

In other news, he's really drifting away from me since the TNR a month ago - I never see him at feeding time at all now.  sigh.gif   When I check the bowl a couple hours later though it's clear he's been there eating and burying.  

post #14 of 35
One of my indoor kitties, Presley, tries to bury his food bowl even when he is all done licking it clean. He will even flip over the placemat to cover his bowl. laughing02.gif I have not seen a feral cat burying their food though. That is a new one for me. laughing02.gif I would think Herculese is just not hungry and is hiding hide.gif the food for himself for later. Are there other feral cats that you feed? If so, try adding another feeding station or two. Although, I suspect he just has this burying ritual. A little dirt won't hurt him! I can only imagine what most feral cats eat so dirt would not be a problem. I usually add a bunch of leaves under my feeding station in the fall. IN the summer, I do move the station a few feet here or there so the grass stays fresh under the station. There are also feeding stations that have a floor to them, like the feral villa feeding stations. These can easily be built if you are handy, that is. biggrin.gif
post #15 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks Feralvr!   Maybe this actually represents success because the whole point of switching to Indigo Moon was to feed him a denser high protein food that he would need less quantity of....I wanted to put out less food and have him be at less risk to eat it as even the most private place I have to feed him isn't that private.  More bang per kibble.  Anywho, like you say maybe he's just full!

post #16 of 35
A little dirt never hurt anyone smile.gif very cute stories everyone!! I really have enjoyed this thread!
post #17 of 35
Burying food becomes annoying, when cat learns to tip bowl over, surely nice cover for food, but what a mess with wet food and especially indoors! Of course it is not enough to just tip it over, but then it has to be moved to 'hide' which means there is trail of wet food on the floor which then must be kicked around to hide that too. This recent development is not making me very happy.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTbo View Post

Burying food becomes annoying, when cat learns to tip bowl over, surely nice cover for food, but what a mess with wet food and especially indoors! Of course it is not enough to just tip it over, but then it has to be moved to 'hide' which means there is trail of wet food on the floor which then must be kicked around to hide that too. This recent development is not making me very happy.

OMG JTbo!   You just made me realize I should check the dirt near the feeding area in case Hercules kicked the food off the plate.   It is still cold winter here but if it warms up and the food is all mixed in the dirt it will rot and be horrible once warmer weather comes.    Oh these ferals.....they know we like a challenge biggrin.gif

post #19 of 35
JTbo, what about putting a handkerchief under the dish of food, so the kitty(ies) can actually bury the dish by kicking the handkerchief up over it? That has worked for others....
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

JTbo, what about putting a handkerchief under the dish of food, so the kitty(ies) can actually bury the dish by kicking the handkerchief up over it? That has worked for others....

This is what I do with my food-burying dog.  He gets a cloth that he stuffs in there and that satisfies him.  Actually, it was a cloth diaper in a previous life, lol.  If he has nothing to cover his dish with, he knocks it over and makes a mess.  

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

JTbo, what about putting a handkerchief under the dish of food, so the kitty(ies) can actually bury the dish by kicking the handkerchief up over it? That has worked for others....

End result is something of mixture of cat food and handkerchief that is halfly out from the bowl. It is only one cat that is this bad, which I think is an Alpha cat, after he has messed the food nobody seem to eat it anymore and not even himself until food is spoiled, but food is something he likes a lot.

He is hand eater too, paws the food and eats food from paw, but only sometimes. He also uses his paws bit like hands in many other way too, he waves for attention or if he wants to examine closer what I carry etc. He is just bit different from the rest.
post #22 of 35
One of my strays does this, her mom did it, and its funny because she looks like a twin of her mom and is the only cat that does it! My cat does it too and she is a former stray. I wonder if its dominant behavior because all the lesser females and males don't do it?
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugmankeith View Post

One of my strays does this, her mom did it, and its funny because she looks like a twin of her mom and is the only cat that does it! My cat does it too and she is a former stray. I wonder if its dominant behavior because all the lesser females and males don't do it?

 

Maybe so.....it's like they say this food is MINE, all MINE!!!!!

post #24 of 35

I have one guy who buries his food all the time. I will find paper, dish towels, socks in his dish that he has found to cover it up.

 

Last night I made Chili for Superbowl my son left his bowl on the coffee table while he went to get a TV tray so he could eat and watch the game. Frisky jumped up and took a smell and must have decided it was crap because he tried to bury my son's bowl of chili while he was getting the tray.

post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meowmmy_Aprile View Post

I have one guy who buries his food all the time. I will find paper, dish towels, socks in his dish that he has found to cover it up.

Last night I made Chili for Superbowl my son left his bowl on the coffee table while he went to get a TV tray so he could eat and watch the game. Frisky jumped up and took a smell and must have decided it was crap because he tried to bury my son's bowl of chili while he was getting the tray.

I'm not sure about that crap part, at least my food burying cat loves taste of sauce containing tomato, red pepper, garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt, those tiny black round peppers crunched, onion and hint of basil, this sauce goes with pasta and strewn meat, but he steals mostly pasta with that sauce, not preferring meat, so I guess it is probably sauce that lures him.

Problem is that I can't leave that stuff unattended for a second and sometimes he tries to steal bits when I'm eating, so it is defending your food with one hand and eating with another, there no any method that would stop him doing that, it is so strong desire for him to get that and it certainly can't be good for his health that stuff, which is bit shame as I'm sure it would help doing dishes if he could clear the plate...

So who knows, maybe your cat has a thing for chili, but was just not enough hungry at the time.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTbo View Post


I'm not sure about that crap part, at least my food burying cat loves taste of sauce containing tomato, red pepper, garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt, those tiny black round peppers crunched, onion and hint of basil, this sauce goes with pasta and strewn meat, but he steals mostly pasta with that sauce, not preferring meat, so I guess it is probably sauce that lures him.

Problem is that I can't leave that stuff unattended for a second and sometimes he tries to steal bits when I'm eating, so it is defending your food with one hand and eating with another, there no any method that would stop him doing that, it is so strong desire for him to get that and it certainly can't be good for his health that stuff, which is bit shame as I'm sure it would help doing dishes if he could clear the plate...

So who knows, maybe your cat has a thing for chili, but was just not enough hungry at the time.

 I just wanted to mention that onions and garlic are bad for cats. They can cause heinz body anemia. Even though he's been ok in the past, I wouldn't let him eat that sauce anymore. Just to be safe.

post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitten4kittens View Post

 I just wanted to mention that onions and garlic are bad for cats. They can cause heinz body anemia. Even though he's been ok in the past, I wouldn't let him eat that sauce anymore. Just to be safe.

Yes, I know those are bad for him and I have been attempting to prevent him from getting it, but he surely can be quick and stealthy at the times, so I don't need to do much than get water and he has helped himself already, then I must literally rip him away, vocal commands seem not to have much effect, he is that much drawn to stuff, like some addict of sorts.

Usually now days I tend to act with stuff like it would be my most precious and never turn even back to it, but even then it ends up with wrestling with poor cat that is attempting to get the stuff from my plate. And this cat obeys normally very well word no, he instantly stops what he was doing when hearing that word, there are just two exceptions, that sauce and burying food.

No issue with other ones, they are not quite as live ones though.
post #28 of 35
Lol! I wouldn't worry about it at all. Eating out of the dirt won't hurt him and burying it is just instinctual for him.
Don't worry so much. :-)
post #29 of 35
I love all these stories!! I'm now wondering about the nature vs. nurture with this behavior.
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 

We have the answer to the mystery now.....see my "overwhelmed" thread.    Hercules was rightly perceiving that there were hoardes of other cats surrounding him who might find his food so he was hiding it with motivation!    Last night he put over a cup worth of dirt on top of the food and barely ate any.

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