Why Does My Cat Try to Bury Their Food?

why does my cat try to bury their food

If your cat buries their food, don’t worry because it is normal behavior. Yes, burying food may seem like an odd thing for cats to do, but there is a good reason for it. This is a behavior which most wild and outdoor cats will exhibit, although some indoor cats will do this as well. So, why does my cat try to bury their food?

Reasons for a Cat Burying Food

A logical thought would be that cats bury food in order to save it for later, just like a squirrel hides away nuts or a dog buries a bone for later on. However, this is not the case when it comes to cats. Cats are not scavengers and they don’t save food for later. The reason why a cat may try to bury its food has to do with survival.

The funny thing is that some cats will even try to do this indoors with their food dish. They might paw and scratch at the floor in an attempt to bury food or they may even start pushing the bowl around. Whatever the case may be, it’s all about survival and getting to eat a meal.

Avoiding Other Predators

One of the reasons why a cat might try to bury its food is to avoid other predators. If another predator sees the cat’s kill or the food in general, it might come along and try to steal the food. A cat burying its food is an attempt to avoid this from occurring. Cats will eat whatever they can, and then bury the rest to hide the smell and the sight of the food from any other animal that may come along and try to steal it.

Keeping Prey Around

The other reason why a cat may try to bury its food is because they don’t want to alert future meals of their presence. In the wild, if an animal such as a mouse, small rabbit, or a rat gets killed by a cat, if other prey animals then see the half-eaten carcass, it’s going to alert them that there is a hunter in the midst. A cat burying its food is a way to stop their future meals from being alert of their presence and running away.

How to Stop an Indoor Cat from Burying Their Food

This behavior is not harmful or serious in any way, but it might annoy you. At the very least, you might end up with scratches on the floor around the cat’s food dish. It’s nothing too serious, but if you want to stop it, there are some steps you can take.

Try to feed the cat a bit less. Cats will only bury the food that they have not consumed. If there is only enough food to feed the cat, but not more, there will be nothing to bury.

Do not leave the food out for the cat once it is done eating. Once you can tell that the cat is not hungry anymore, this is when you should take the food away. If you leave uneaten food laying around for too long, the cat will probably try to bury it.

If your cat still tries to bury food, distract them with some play and it should stop, at least for the time being.


Whether a cat buries food to avoid predators or to avoid alerting prey of their presence, they don’t bury food to save it for later. Don’t be alarmed if you see your cat doing this, because it is perfectly normal.

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