9 Reasons Why Cats Try to Bury Their Food?

why does my cat try to bury his food

Cats are very interesting animals. They have the instincts that they follow, and you may find your cat doing some strange things. One of these strange behaviors can be seen when your cat tries to bury his food in the litter box or elsewhere in the house. 

You will love to read this piece if you are wondering why does my cat try to bury his food?

Cats do this for a couple of reasons, but they don’t want other cats to know where their food is or because they feel like there isn’t enough food, so they need to hide what’s leftover so another will not eat it. 

If you think this might be happening with your cat, try moving his feeding area, so he feels less inclined to cover up his food, or provide more than one bowl of dry kibble at each meal time since your feline might be trying to pack away the food, so he has something for later.

Let’s get into detail and discuss all the reasons and solutions to address the behavioral issues.

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1. Cats are Hiding Food For Later

Domestic cats retain instincts leftover from their wild ancestors even they are cute and fluffy outside. For example, when they bury food or try to bury it, that is called caching.

In the wild, cats use caching to protect the meal from scavengers and other cats so they can use it later on.

Solution: Maintain a feeding schedule and feed all cats in separate bowls; it will develop confidence in cats that others will not eat their food.

2. They Are Trying to Conceal the Scent of Food

In the wild, cats bury their food so other cats cannot smell the food; in this way, it remains safe from predators. It helps in two ways at first other cats are less likely to discover the food, and secondly, it helps to disguise the scent from prey animals.

When prey animals get a smell of meat or blood, they usually avoid that area, so the wild cats get fewer chances to make another kill.

Hunting and eating portion-wise is an instinct of cats.

Solution: Only serve the quantity that they can finish at a single time.

3. They Don’t Like It

This can be why you may switch to a new brand, and your feline does not like the taste of that food. In this way, your cat tries to bury the food because he does not like it.

It is possible if you recently switched between dry and canned meals or changed from high-quality food to a low-quality one, or you are feeding the same food for a long time.

Solution: Do not change the brand without consulting an expert. It will be better for both of you to consult a vet or animal behaviorist who can guide you on how to proceed. You also need to eliminate the food from his diet, which he does not like.

4. To Protect the Kitten

Female cats may bury their food to protect the kitten from predators, as when predators come to a smell, they might attack kittens.

Solution: Serve a small quantity that she can finish quickly, make sure there is no leftover.

5. Cat Is Bored

Cats are solitary animals, and they spend most of their time alone. They can get bored with the same routine; therefore, they bury their food to get out of that boredom.

Solution: Try to find ways to make daily routines exciting for them, like playing games like hide-and-seek with your cat, which will make them happy and avoid burying his food.

Hiding the food responds to an environment that does not give enough stimulation, so it is highly recommendable for owners to interact more often with their cats.

6. You Give Her Too Much Food

Cats scratch the leftover food, and it might create a mess on the floor. When you see a feline burying food, it’s a signal that she gets more than she consumes. Cats see an excess meal, something she is not going to return.

Solution: As a responsible cat parent, you need to control how much food to feed your cat to eliminate undesired cat behavior.

7. She is Burying to Keep Her Place Clean

They are true esthetes when it comes to their toilet business. Cat owners state is just like hiding the feces.

It is another reason they inherent neatness from their ancestors. It’s their passion for cleanliness, so they try their best to keep the place clean.

Solution: When you see your cat trying to tidy up her territory, you need to take this responsibility and limit food serving.

8. Cat Maybe Treating His dish Like it’s Litter Box

This might happen if you offer something new to eat, and he suddenly starts pawing around the bowl just like he is covering something. Usually, to scratch up the invisible dirt, he might spoil the food.

Solution: Keep the litter box away from food dishes and make sure both look different. Moreover when offering a new type of meal introduce it slowly.

9. Bad Food For Cat

Burying food may seem irritating or strange to you, but you need to identify some problems. For example, the food your cat does not like may be associated with something not good enough and should be buried. Similarly, she buries feces regularly.

Solution: Do not offer such a meal which she dislikes.

Some Useful Tips to Curb This Behaviour

  • Take the bowl away once your cat finishes the meal.
  • When feeding wet meal clean the bowl once and never feed leftovers.
  • Make sure the cat has free access to clean and fresh water; it is necessary to keep the moisture balance in her body.
  • Distract your cat when she tries to bury her meal.
  • Serve in small portions, and do not leave the food with the cat.
  • Serve meal on a flat surface that cats cannot cover her meal.
  • Use a puzzle feeder and encourage her to hunt.
  • Allow your cat to play a lot.
  • Separate meals from playtime.


  • Do not punish your cat for scratching or pawing.
  • Do not spray water on the cat to stop her.
  • Do not hit with the bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Prevent a Cat from Scratching?

Leave your cat alone, and do not stop her from scratching, pawing, or scratching around the food is not harmful neither for cats nor for owners. It’s their instinct to stay safe and hide the traces of their presence from predators.

This behavior seems cure to me but not the scratching which is on furniture.

Should you stop your cat from pawing the floor after eating?

Let him scratch if your cat is merely expressing an instinctual behavior. But in case he is damaging or ruining objects around your home, then surely there is a need to discourage such behavior.

Is your cat’s food covering behavior neurotic?

When the instinct turns into a neurotic compulsion, there is a need to step in to put a full stop. This happens in multi-cat households; you must take action when you see cats become obsessive in an attempt to hide the meal.

Is Your Cat Sending You a Message?

Many pet parents think that cats are sending some messages, saying they do not like the food.

But, it’s not the case. Even changing the food may not solve this problem.

To educate new furkid parents we recently added a few new resources; is it cheaper to make your own cat food? and Why do dogs eat cat food? That discusses what dogs like in cat food and why they prefer to grab it as well as how you can stop them and find out what cat food tastes like?

Lastly, we make a list of 30 human food that cats can eat besides cat food so we can choose to feed when out of cat food.

Wrap Up – (why does my cat try to bury his food?)

If one of the reasons for pawing the floor near a food bowl is an attempt of a feline to get rid of food then analyze this issue keenly.

Instead of complaining about the issue, try to notice whether this behavior is regular or occurs when you offer your feline a certain food.

Pay attention while buying cat food and consider quality and price; always, before purchasing a large back, get a trial pack so if your cat dislikes you can discontinue quickly.

Lastly, never force-feed your cat; thanks to a massive collection of quality cat foods, you can find alternatives easily which your cat-like.