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After eating, my cat sometimes makes a noise with his food bowl which is him trying to bury the bowl in the house.

Why does he do this? The only two options we can think of are that he's:

  • Trying to save it for later
  • Indicating that he doesn't like it
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According to Pam Johnson Bennett:

In the wild, a cat may attempt to bury or cover any uneaten food in order to avoid attracting any predators to the area. It also is an attempt to not alert any other potential prey that a feline hunter is in the vicinity. Cats aren’t scavengers so they don’t bury the food to consume later – it’s strictly for protection purposes. Even an indoor cat who has never set foot outside retains this survival instinct; it’s just a matter of how much it concerns them and that determines to what degree the behavior is displayed.

In my experience, burying food behaviors have been displayed in cats who are also distressed by litter box cleanliness (one cat even would rebury the other cats' poo if it wasn't covered well enough for his tastes) and other anxiety-related behaviors.

If it becomes a problem, you can pick up the bowl(s) after the cat(s) have finished their meal (always leave clean water available). A cat with a range of anxiety related behaviors can also be helped with medication by seeing your vet, but if food burying is the only behavior he is displaying I wouldn't worry about it.

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One of my cats does the same thing. I read it is to hide the food from other animals that may come by and steal it. Oddly the cat's bothers and sisters don't do this. It appears to be genetic (an infrequently appearing gene, at least in this cat family).

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  • what evidence do you have that it's genetic, especially since your cat's relatives don't do it? – Zaralynda Apr 19 '14 at 20:50
  • It would be like fur color. Not all kittens will necessarily be the same color in the same litter. Behaviors are either innate (genetic) or learned. I just mention it because I am thinking it is not learned behavior, as this is an indoor cat with no wild animals to worry about. – Beo Apr 19 '14 at 23:07
  • oh i see, we're using the word genetic differently, i would say it's instinctual – Zaralynda Apr 20 '14 at 15:36

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