Caring for your fur baby demands extra care and vigilance to ensure that they are safe and protected. At times, even with the utmost care, your pet might exhibit behaviors that you are unaware of. These actions can be normal like licking themselves frequently or unusual like not eating the food being served.
Yet, it is to be kept in mind that the cat’s behaviors are not unreasonable. If you are concerned about your cat conducting itself like anything out of the norm, burying its food or covering its water, then your concern may be right. By keeping an eye on the behavioral pattern of your pet, you can judge if the actions are pointing in the direction of a possible problem.
So, what is the main reason why cats cover their food or water dishes with their paws?
Felines usually start covering food or water bowls because they might not feel secure, don’t like the food, water, dish shape, are overfed, or save their food for later. Sometimes it can be a sign of their instinctive habit or even a medical issue. Although such cat behavior can be quite natural, yet sudden changes should not go unnoticed. You need to find out the cause and implement a relevant strategy to counter it.
Read the information below to find out the detailed explaination of the unusual feline habits with an extensive insight about the cat’s burying behavior.
Is it normal for cats to bury or cover their food?
Sometimes pets ask for food and even when you present them with their favorite food, they do not eat it. Not only they refuse to have it, instead they behaviors are unexpected sometimes. One of them is burying their food despite being served with the food of their liking.
Cats can sometimes be seen burying their food and if you have begun noticing this behavior suddenly, it can be worrisome. But, as we already mentioned, not all cat behaviors are worth worrying about. To evaluate if your cat is acting so due to some stress or other reason, having a close look at the action and possibilities is important.
It is a universal fact that what is normal for one person might not always be normal for another person as well. However, if you consider the activity of cats commonly, burying food is not as uncommon as you think. If your cat has just started doing it, it can seem indifferent to you. To some cats, it is just a ritual and there might not be any underlying reason.
But, if your cat has adopted this habit just in the past few days, you should try to find out the reason behind this behavior.
Reasons for burying and covering food
There can be numerous reasons for a particular cat’s behavior, and understanding them can help you take better care of your fur baby.
1. Instinctive behavior
Your cat would not have been doing this in the past as burying food is a characteristic of big cats. Yet, sometimes your baby might also start doing this instinctively. Researches show that Felines cover their food, but canines don’t, showing that it is a cat’s innate behavior to bury his food. This kind of covering action is associated with wild cats that eat in the forests and want to keep some food for later. Pet babies also sometimes act this way, though they won’t be fed the same food later.
2. Caching food
Caching is the instinctive behavior of cats we are talking about. Out in the wild, members of the cat family cover their food (caching) to mark their territory and inform others about their presence. Doing so saves their meal from being stolen by another animal. Typically, animals like leopards are believed to practice food caching. Though your pet wouldn’t have learned it from his mother, the behavior is distinctive of the cat family. There are solid chances that your cat would stop doing it in a few days when he would realize that nobody would steal the food.
3. You’re feeding too much
Your cat eating some of the food and covering the rest can be an indication of having too much on the plate. It can be difficult to find the exact reason for your cat burying his food, but none of the possibilities should be left unchecked. Try offering a little bit less than you usually do and observe if he finishes all of it. This does not eliminate the chances of an issue, instead, highlight that your pat might be going through an underlying medical condition. Lack of appetite or inability to eat can be a result of any present health issue.
What if the cat buries food without eating any of it?
If you are wondering that cats only burry their food after having some of it and any other behavior is not normal, you might be mistaken. Some cats do not take a bite off their food and try burying or caching food. There can be several causes if your cat does not even taste the food and hastes to cover it as soon as it is given to him.
1. Distasteful food
We don’t mean to offend any of you, yet this can be a possible reason. Cats usually stay away from the food when they do not like the food they are being given. Your pet might have liked this particular kind of food for a long time and is bored with it now. So, don’t worry if your fur baby has given up on the food you are offering, maybe he is just looking for food that tastes different. Try adding his favorite treats to the food to make him like it. Such behavior is only always related to the taste of food, so it is crucial to check all aspects.
2. Food doesn’t look good
Not every time the cats avoid food based on its taste, sometimes they might not find it appealing enough to taste. You may be serving the most delicious food to your cat and still, they refuse. This problem can be overcome by making the food more presentable for him. Try these few things to ensure that your pet baby likes the food include
- Adding some broth to the food to make it smell good
- Topping the cat food with other meat
- Add a good amount of strong-smelling cheese to enhance the aroma
3. A cat might be eating somewhere else
It is not a common possibility if your cat doesn’t go out much, yet some cats exhibit this behavior. It is only possible when your cat goes out in the neighborhood or for a walk. Keeping your cat restricted to food at home is essential to avoid this attitude of burying food. The only way to make your cat finish his food in this scenario is to restrain them from going out anywhere.
4. Signs of Illness
There can be numerous underlying medical conditions related to ongoing such behavior. Cats are not able to express their pain and agony in words, which is why they depict it in other ways. Some of those actions include meowing loudly, or gagging, or refusing to eat food. When your pet does not eat food and bury it continuously for a long time, take the following conditions into notice,
- Dental pain does not allow the cat to chew food properly.
- Liver or kidney problems are more serious illnesses that do not allow the cat to eat to the fullest.
Why does my cat touch the water before drinking it?
The unusual activities are not only restricted to eating but also drinking. Sometimes, cats portray different kinds of behaviors while drinking water. Some of the reasons for touching water before drinking are,
1. Bowl shape
The shape of the bowl can be disturbing for the cat and not like the sensation of their whiskers touching the bowl. If you see that your cat is avoiding being near the water bowl, it is better to get them another one. The water bowl should be shallow for your cat to drink water without difficulty.
If you keep on changing the place of the bowl, it is possible that the cat feels insecure. Cats check the water first to feel secure and escape instantly if needed. Keep the cat bowl in one place and only allow familiar family members and friends near the cat’s feeding place.
3. Aging cat
When the cat gets older, they tend to lose their cognitive abilities and have weak eyesight. The inability to judge the presence of things around them is a reason for their attempt to touch the water before drinking it. Aging cats must be taken extra care of and ensured that they get everything in place properly.
Can food caching behavior be misunderstood?
It might not look like a possibility yet, it does happen. Sometimes the pet parents are really worried about their cats and take every gesture very seriously. An action that you might be thinking of as burying or caching, could be nothing specific. Kneading can also be mistaken for burying food often. So, always take care and understand the actions before inferring.
How to prevent your cat from burying food?
· Avoid food that your cat doesn’t like
As we discussed that a major reason for your cat burying his food could be disliking it, excluding such food from the diet can help. If the cat is showing disinterest in a particular kind of food, it is better to take that out and avoid it for some time. Adding other meats or adding treats should make a difference, otherwise, change the cat food for a while.
· Offer food in lesser portions
If the cat is exhibiting such kind of behavior due to eating more, decrease the food portions for your pet. However, remember that the cat’s daily nutritional requirement must be met. Concerning that, another crucial step is to take care of the whereabouts of your cat and restrict his movement out of the house.
Can burying food indicate neurotic compulsion?
Though the short answer is that you might not need to worry about your cat burying food, at times it might be problematic. Especially, if you have more than one cat in your house, this kind of repetitive behavior might be a neurotic compulsion. Keep an eye on the attitude of your pet in the presence of other cats and take necessary measures accordingly. If your fur baby is concerned in the presence of other cats and buries food, provide a separate feeding area for him.
Other unusual cat behaviors Explained
The most common cat habits are as follows:
1. Rubbing against you
Cats love to be pet by their parents and often show their liking through different gestures. Licking you or rubbing themselves against you is one of such gestures. They want to leave their fragrance on you and mark their territory. They own you and take pride in you, and show this by rubbing against you. So, if your cat does this, consider yourself lucky!
2. Random sprints
If you see your cat running around in the house and tumbling over the sofa, don’t worry. The cat’s body is designed to be flexible. Random sprints in the house show that your cat is just exercising and utilizing her energy. This can be avoided by allowing the cat to play or take her for a walk to release her energy without being aggressive.
Cats do not usually hiss and show their emotions by playing around you or licking you. However, if you see your pet hissing frequently, take care of their surroundings. Hissing sounds are commonly a sign of expressing anger, and sometimes also used to indicate fear. If you have a new person around that the cat is not accustomed to, he might feel endangered to them.
4. Pointed ears
If you see your cat with upright, pointed years and it seems like he is focusing on something, you might be right. Sometimes cats tend to be alert to their surroundings and be ready for any kind of fight. This type of behavior depicted by the cat shows that he wants to utilize his reflexes to save himself, or you in any dangerous situation.
5. Laying on your things
This is probably one of the things every cat owner can equally relate to. Cats love to lay on your stuff of daily use whether bedsheets, study tables, or books. They see you being busy with these things all day long and take them as a means to stay near you. Though sometimes we get irritated by this behavior, the only reason is that your cat demands love. So, the next time you see your cat laying on your study table or bed, caress him and make him feel loved. They love having the assurance of being your favorite!
Conclusion & Vet Advice
It is a well-known fact that what is normal for one person might not always be normal for another one.
If you consider the most common cat activities, burying their food bowl or covering the water dish is not as unusual as you might think. If your cat has just started doing it, you should not worry too much. It can be a ritual to some cats, and in most cases, there might not be any underlying reason.
However, nobody can guide you right about your pet other than a vet. We normally know our cats through their common behaviors, and anything other than usual seems suspicious to us. However, vets are aware of the cat’s different habits and know more than us. What may seem suspicious to us might be an everyday encounter for them. Observing your pet baby is important to be able to inform the vet about his behavior. Yet deciding without informing the vet might not be the best.
If you feel that your cat is exhibiting behavior apart from his normal routine, explain it to the veterinarian and let him guide you.
Or, you can get in touch with professional pet care services here.
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Happy Cat Care!