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Why Do Some Cats Carry Food Out Of Their Bowls to Eat It?

Some cats carry their kibble to another spot to eat it.

Have you ever seen a cat use his paw to scoop some kibble out of his bowl? Maybe he eats it from the floor right beside the bowl, or maybe he takes it all the way across the room before he drops and eats it.

What is this behavior all about? Why do some cats carry food out of their bowl to eat it?

Cats Have Good Reasons for Carrying Food Away from Their Bowls

Experts believe there are several reasons for the common feline behavior of removing food from the bowl and eating it elsewhere. These include:

  • The behavior is a remnant of living outside and needing to use paws to grab and hold onto prey. Your kitty may simply be incorporating his paws into feeding time as an evolutionary instinct.
  • Cats in the wild often take a piece of food and remove it from the feeding area where the rest of the pride is, to make it less likely that another cat will steal it. Even if there is only one cat in your home, this instinct may still be strong.
  • If your cat's food bowl is near his water bowl, he may wish to remove the food to a different area. Cats don't like to eat near their water, probably because, in the wild, bodily substances from their prey could contaminate the water source.
  • Kittens may learn to grab food and take off with it while they are competing for it with the rest of their litter. This behavior can become ingrained even once the rest of the litter is gone.
  • If a cat's food bowl is too deep and narrow, a cat may be more prone to pulling the kibble out of it to eat. This is because the bowl pushes his whiskers back, which can be painful. A shallow, wide bowl is a better option.
  • Cats that bring their kibble over to where their human is to eat it may be seeking protection. After all, you're the head of his pride, so you should be able to keep others from stealing his food.

Is Food Carrying a Problem?

Most of the time, your cat's habit of pulling kibble out of his bowl and moving it elsewhere before eating it won't be a problem. However, if you have multiple cats that frequently fight over food, you will need to make some modifications.

You can feed your cats meals instead of free-choice, giving them their food in different areas or even separate rooms. You can find more ideas here: "Tips for Feeding Cats in Multiple Cat Households."

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