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Why Do Cats Scratch Around Their Food Bowl?

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Are you a cat parent? Are you also surprised why do cats scratch around their food bowl?

If yes, then you have come to the right place. Cat pawing at floor or food bowls is due to natural instincts. Their ancestors sometimes do it for anticipating pleasant experiences!

It is not unhealthy, however, if she is excessively doing it, then it is a matter of concern, and you must contact your veterinarian.

We have covered all factors related to why do cats scratch around their food bowl? And also how to stop this behavior.

why does my cat scratch around her food bowl

Why Do Cats Scratch Around Their Food Bowl?

We have all the reasons why do cats scratch around their food bowl reasons below. You can know your reason by reading the list below.

1. To Hide Smell Of the Food

Cats’ ancestors were wild animals. And, they hunt their food in the wilds. They used to hide their extra food so that predators won’t trace them back. Because buried food can be traced easily by its predators, similarly, your house cats may live in your home, but some traits of her ancestors are still living with her.

Cat scratching around the food bowl is her natural instinct. She is basically recreating her survival instinct nature by pawing her food dishes.

If you have recently adopted a feline friend, then both of them will scratch their food bowls. Do you find it cute? Don’t worry this behavior is not harmful.

You should not much worry about it until it becomes her obsession. If she is excessively scratching or trying to kind of behavior, then it could be because of stress.

It is their way of hiding the smell that comes from the leftover food. So, other animals cannot detect her food.

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2. To Guard Her Kittens

Both male cats and female cats try to bury food. It is for their little young kittens. They protect their offspring.

cat guard her kittens

It is female cats’ maternal nature as little cats are weak and can not find food of their own. They need their cat mom for that. If you have a female cat who has recently given birth to new kittens, and you ponder why does my cat tries to bury her food, it is because of newborn babies.

Therefore, make your cat mommy feel safe and secure. Keep her and her kittens in a warm reclusive space. In this way, she may feel comfortable and may stop scratching behavior around food.

Even though if she still does it, don’t you worry. Suppose she eats properly and regularly, then nothing to bother about!

3. To Keep Her Eating Place Clean

If you don’t understand and ponder, why does my cat scratch around her food bowl?

Then it’s because cats are naturally clean animal species. Kitties learn from their parents how to stay clean. They are self-sufficient when it comes to hygiene.

If you wonder why do my cats scratch the floor around her food, then this may be because she is obsessed with hygiene. They want all things clean, right from cleaning their fur to their toilet business.

They clean themselves for protection purposes. If your cat cleans her eating place, then is it because she doesn’t want her predators to know about that.

In this way, she keeps all threatening animals away from her. This might bother you, but she will keep it neat if her food bowl is near her living space.

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4. She Doesn’t Like the Food

One more reason why do cats scratch around their food bowl is that they don’t like the food. You can try out the Ceramic cat dish.

When a kitty doesn’t like that food you have recently bought for her, she will try to inspect that, bend his neck to check the food, and may leave the room later.

cat does not like her food

This behavior is similar to the litter box, and it’s a huge disappointment! Especially when you get her the best cat food product and best food bowls.

A cat may scratch around the food bowl and might not even take a single bite. It is simply because she doesn’t admire her food. She will either scratch the food bowl or try to bury food and dispose of it. This is similar to scratching litter box behavior.

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5. To Save Her Food

Now, another reason why do cats scratch around their food bowl is that she is trying to save her food.

Some cat owners think, why does my cat bury her food or cover their food. But it is vital for both male and female felines.

Cats’ instinctive behavior lets them do this all. They save their leftovers. It is similar to food caching. They paw the floor nearby food dishes; all whiskers do this, be it wild cats or house-trained cats. They leave food and store it for later. Hiding it from scavengers.

Wild felines hunt for their food. They hunt together, and once they are done eating their meat, they keep their leftover food to eat after. They cover the meat to hide their tracing points. All wild felines do this, and well, it is true for pet cat animals also.

6. When Food Is Too Much

As mentioned earlier, cats cover her food once they are done eating. The answer to why do cats paw around their food can also be their message of telling you she can eat this much food in one go.

When food in the bowl is more, the cat will start scratching at the floor or cat scratching around the food bowl.

You must schedule her feeding time and give her food to eat in a fixed proportion. It will help you avoid her scratching behavior. It is best and helps you to keep her healthy and to keep her away from obesity and other health issues.

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How to Stop Your Cat From Scratching Her Food Bowl?

We can help you to stop your cat scratching around food bowl habits. However, floor pawing in cats is common. We have listed below the major factors on which you can avoid her action.

stop your cat from scratching her food bowl

1. Keep the Bowl Away After Her Meal

Cat scratching around the food bowl can stop by simply keeping her food or water bowl away from her living space or when she is done eating. This will reduce scathing food behavior in cats.

2. Distract Her

You can also distract your feline when she scratches the food. You can stop your cat scratching around the food bowl by giving her a toy whenever she scratches the floor or food. Also, praise her; this will try to stop her from doing such things. The cat water fountain can also be a good idea.

3. No Negative Reinforcement

Don’t use negative reinforcement or clear signs like hitting or scolding; it only makes the situation go worse! Scolding your kitty for scratching the floor, or when they knead the floor, or when they scratch the floor around their food can have a negative impact.

Do not ever punish the cat when kneading the floor or hitting it will spoil your bonding. And may lead to problematic behavior.

4. Stay With Her as She Eats

You can stay with her when he starts eating her food till she finishes it. It is advisable to put wet food away from her if she has eaten it in the meantime as she can spoil it all!

Know the right way to feed cat using food bowl & Do you know that the cat food bowls are the 4th germiest place and can be very harmful to you and your cat.

The Final Verdict

Answers to why does my cat scratch around her food bowl are several. It can be because of her natural instinct or could be because of maternal nature.

The fact is they still have their ancestors’ genes left in them which trigger this behavior. But it is natural and common for cats. She may be anticipating a pleasant experience, but if she does unreasonably then, it is time you take her to your vet.

Well, we have listed all reasons why do cats scratch around their food bowl; you can read to know yours.


  1. Common Cat Problems and How to Solve Them – Pet WebMD
  2. 5 Cat Behavior Problems and How to Solve Them – ASPCA
  3. Destructive Scratching – ASPCA

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