cat scattering cat food all over

Why Do Cats Make a Mess With Their Food?

If you’ve ever had a cat, then you know that they can be quite messy when it comes to their food. From leaving bits of food scattered around the house to making a mess with their water bowl, cats can be quite challenging when it comes to keeping your home clean. But why do cats make such a mess with their food?

There can be a number of reasons why cats make a mess with their food. Some cats are simply meticulous eaters and take the time to pick up small pieces of food. Others may paw the food out of their dishes or smush their faces into it. Additionally, tooth and gum issues can lead to cats mincing their food into lots of small pieces and scattering it around. In some cases, cats may drool water or food may drop out of their mouths due to breed-specific facial conformation issues. Some cats are even naturally sloppy eaters, while others may be rejecting food due to allergies or stomach upset. Feral cats may bury leftover food to avoid being tracked down by predators. Lastly, cats may also pull food out of their bowl and play with it as much as they are eating it.


Meticulous Eating Habits

Cats are meticulous eaters, and they can be very particular about their food. With smaller prey, they may eat the head first and then devour the rest of the body, including fur or feathers and bone. Some cats are picky eaters and won’t touch their dinner if it isn’t served fresh or there is a hair in their bowl. Stress, illness, metabolic disorders, and infections can all lead to changes in eating habits, too. If your cat is having unexplained weight changes despite eating normally and enjoying their food, take them to the vet for a checkup.

Tooth,Gum,and Mouth Issues

In some cases, cats may make a mess with their food due to tooth or gum issues. Feline gum disease or gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque. This can be painful and can lead to difficulty in eating, drooling, and even refusing to eat. In extreme cases, cats can develop gingivostomatitis, which is an overreaction of the gums and surrounding oral tissues to dental tissues and plaque. To reduce the risk of dental issues, make sure your cat’s teeth are regularly checked and cleaned, and feed them a diet that is appropriate for their age.

Flat-faced Breeds

Flat-faced breeds, such as Persian cats, are particularly prone to making a mess with their food. This is because of their anatomical differences. Their short snouts may make it difficult to reach every last piece of kibble and they have a normal number of teeth that must fit into a space that is comparatively smaller than in other breeds. This means they can have misaligned teeth and they quickly tire when exercising. As a result, it can be hard for them to eat their food properly and they may end up making more of a mess than other cats would. To help prevent this issue, owners of flat-faced breeds might want to invest in a bowl designed specifically for these breeds and ensure that their food is closer to them, making it easier to eat without creating a mess.

Playing with Food

When it comes to playing with food, cats are natural hunters. They have a hard-wired instinct to protect their food, so they may paw and dig around the food bowl while they’re eating. Cats also often pause their eating to hunt, according to some studies. This could explain why cats play with their food, as they’re trying to catch it just like they would catch prey in the wild. Aside from entertaining themselves, cats may also be trying to show their human companions how much fun they can have with their food. If your cat seems to be playing with her food instead of eating it, it may be time to switch up her toys and offer something new and exciting.

Carrying Food to Human Companions

Despite the common misconception that cats are aloof and indifferent to their owners, cats are actually social creatures who appreciate the companionship of their humans. This is why some cats may carry their food away from the food bowl to share it with their owners. Though it may seem like an odd behavior, it is quite normal for cats to do this as it is a way for them to show affection. Furthermore, it could be a sign that your cat wants to bond with you and is looking for a way to do so. So, if you ever find your cat carrying its food away from its bowl, it may be an indication that your cat loves you and wants to make a connection with you.

Pawing and Digging Around Food Bowls

Have you ever noticed your cat scratching around their food bowl before or after eating? This pawing and digging behavior is an instinctive behavior for cats. It is believed that cats do this to “fake cover” their meal, as they would in the wild. Scratching around the food bowl can also be an expression of instinctive behavior, helping cats to hide the scent of their food and protect it from predators. This behavior may also be a way for cats to play with their food, or a sign that they are rejecting what you have offered them. In any case, it is important to remember that this behavior is normal and should not be discouraged unless it becomes disruptive.

Rejecting Food

Rejecting food is often a sign that something isn’t quite right with your kitty. Cats are very open to trying new food in nature, so if your cat is finicky, it could be a sign of an underlying issue. Cats can take a while to adjust to new types of foods, and motion sickness from the journey home or other environmental changes can make them reject food. Your cat may also reject food because of its flavor, or because they are constipated and eating food has become uncomfortable. Finally, cats may become fussy or bored with their food and refuse a meal occasionally. If your cat is consistently rejecting food, it’s important to take them to the vet to ensure they don’t have any serious health issues.

Burying Leftover Food

For cats with wild instincts, burying leftover food is an instinctive behavior. Cats in the wild often kill prey that is larger than themselves, so they will eat what they can and bury the rest, returning to it later when they need a meal. In your home, cats may try to bury their food if they are done eating and there is still food left in their bowl. This is a way of saving it for later, and it also helps to cover their tracks so that no other animals can find it. In some cases, cats may also scratch at or bury food or other items that they don’t like.

Allergies and Stomach Upset

Sometimes, the mess cats make with their food can be attributed to health issues. Cats with food allergies or food intolerances can develop gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhea, in addition to skin irritation. If your cat is exhibiting signs of a food allergy, it is important to speak to your vet and find out what type of food will suit them best. Food intolerance can also cause your cat to reject their food, as well as other signs of digestive upset. Cats with sensitive stomachs may have allergies or sensitivities that develop over time from eating the same foods and ingredients. It is important to pay attention to your cat’s eating habits and contact your vet if you suspect any allergies or stomach issues.

Cheap Cat Food

Cheap cat food is often of a lower quality than more expensive brands and may not have enough nutrition for cats. If cats are not getting the nutrition they need, they may become finicky eaters and start playing with their food instead of eating it. Some cats may even start burying their food as a way to hide it away for later use. To ensure your cat is getting the nutrition they need, it is important to feed them quality cat food that is specifically formulated for their needs.