Why Do Cats Scratch Around Their Food Bowl?



why do cats dig around their food bowl?

Why do cats dig and scratch around their food bowl?

This is a common behaviour in cats that dumfounds a lot of pet owners. In fact, this is perfectly normal for a cat. There are several possible theories as to why cats scratch around their food bowl:

  • Wild members of the cat family, as well as feral cats, have all been observed burying any uneaten food. This keeps it safe from other animals until they are ready to go back for more.
  • Some cat owners have said that their cat only tries to bury food that they dislike. This leads back to the possibility of disposing of ‘unwanted/leftover’ food.
  • A final possible theory is that as cats in the wild tend to eat where they sleep, they don’t want a rotting carcass lying around which could potentially attract predators.

Domestic cats: 

Obviously, domesticated cats have no need to bury their food, but this behaviour is hard-wired into them. Most pet owners feed their cats in the kitchen, on tile or linoleum, so of course, the cat can not bury his food, but will still engage in the scratching behaviour. Some cats will try to cover up uneaten food with a tea towel if given the opportunity to do so.

There is no need to correct this behaviour as it is harmless. If your cat is leaving a large amount of wet food in his bowl, it may be an idea to revise how much food he is eating.

Do not leave wet food out for longer than 30 minutes or it will spoil.  If your cat is turning his nose up at the food entirely, try another brand, unless he is on a prescription diet. Alternatively, heating it up in the microwave for 30 seconds can sometimes entice him to eat.


  1. Our cat only “burries” the food he doesn’t like. It’s actually quite funny to watch. He sniffs at it, scrapes around he bowl, looks at me, breathes out heavily (like I am a moron), leaves the room. 😀


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