My cat will never eat if I'm not with him, keeping him company.

If I put food in his bowl and then leave, he will eat a couple bites and then leave.

Why does he do that?

P.S: I don't mind keeping him company, it's just that sometimes I don't have time to. I have to leave in a hurry and I will just fill the bowl and hope he eats.

  • 1
    Maybe he thinks you will take it if you are right there. So he never comes back and eats if you just put it down. I have several cats that eat a bit and nibble later rather than wolf it down.
    – Oldcat
    Jun 3 '14 at 17:07
  • How do his teeth/gums look? One of our cats used to do that because his mouth was really painful.
    – Zaralynda
    Jun 3 '14 at 17:46
  • @Zaralynda, I think that they look okay. He eats normally when I'm around Jun 3 '14 at 22:19

My guess is that means your cat only marginally likes the food you're feeding him.

Two of my cats are gluttonous eaters who would inhale all the food they could get. The third used to be that way but does not care for the food I give her. I have found she eats better if I'm nearby encouraging her. Sometimes I'll have her in my lap and give her a great petting, then I put her down by the food to say "please eat"... it seems to get her to eat more of the food (which she finds dull) than she otherwise would.

Once recently I gave her another type of food (not necessarily healthier) and found she loved it and needed no encouragement with that one... but that one is >6x the price and is not necessarily better for her.

Keep accompanying your cat at mealtimes unless it is overweight...

  • Perhaps a cardboard cutout of you would be close enough...
    – Oldcat
    Jun 4 '14 at 22:00
  • No a cardboard cutout would not work. 1) my "grrrls" inherently regard any 2D image (aside from a laser dot which they used to react to) as fake and not worth paying attention to. 2) they can feel, hear, smell... a person and that's what reassures them- a recording of my voice might give some comfort (I do know they respond to sound) but not as much.
    – Dan S
    Jun 5 '14 at 0:12

Some researchers believe domestic cats never really mentally grow up completely and they always look at you like their mom. Kittens like to follow mom around and do what she does when she does it. (They go off and do there own thing too though). If mom is eating the kittens may follow and get something to eat too.

Cats are a lot more communal than people think. While not considered pack animals like dogs they still spend a lot of time socializing with each other and hanging out with the clowder (pack of cats).

My cats mostly follow me from room to room, and are attached to the point two of them like to go to the bathroom when I do even. A couple of the cats are more independent and are usually off doing their own thing.

Does your cat follow your around the house and is usually close by? If so your cat is probably strongly attached to you and may view you as "mom" and likes to eat when you are by the food, presumably eating.

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