Why Does My Kitten Try to Bury His Food?

Kitten eating

Have you ever caught your adorable kitten in the act of trying to bury his food and wondered why they engage in such peculiar behavior? If you’ve been baffled by this behavior, you’re not alone. While it might seem like a mystery, there are valid reasons behind this fascinating action. Let’s explore the instincts and factors that drive kittens to bury their food, shedding light on their motivations and offering insights to help you better understand and care for your feline companion.

Why Does My Kitten Bury Her Food?

Your kitten may bury her food due to a combination of instinctual behaviors and specific triggers. These include the preservation of food, avoiding attracting predators, insecurity in a new environment, dissatisfaction with the type or taste of food, overstimulation or stress, and medical reasons or health concerns.

Instinctual Behaviors in Kittens

Kittens, like all animals, are governed by instincts passed down from their ancestors. These deeply ingrained habits have evolved over millennia to aid in their survival.

  1. Preservation of Food: Burying food is an instinctual behavior that can be traced back to their wild feline ancestors. By concealing their food, these resourceful creatures could safeguard their leftovers. This keeps them hidden from rivals and ensures a later meal.
  2. Avoiding Attracting Predators: Additionally, food burial practices helped to diminish the smell that might attract potential predators or scavengers. In this way, felines were able to protect themselves and their territory by maintaining a low profile.

Reasons for a Kitten’s Food Burying Behavior

While the instincts outlined above remain ingrained in modern domesticated kittens, there are various specific reasons why your furry friend might exhibit this behavior:

  1. Insecurity in a New Environment: Kittens may feel vulnerable in unfamiliar surroundings. As a result, they might attempt to bury their food as a means of self-preservation, just as their ancestors did.
  2. Dissatisfaction with the Type or Taste of Food: If your kitten isn’t particularly fond of the meal you’ve provided, they may try to bury it, signaling their disinterest in eating it.
  3. Overstimulation or Stress: A kitten might bury their food when they are overwhelmed or stressed. This reaction could be triggered by various factors, such as loud noises, other pets, or too much activity in their environment.
  4. Medical Reasons or Health Concerns: In some cases, a kitten might attempt to bury their food due to an underlying health issue, like dental pain or gastrointestinal problems.

Observing Your Kitten’s Behavior

To better understand your kitten’s food-burying habits, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on them:

  1. Frequency and Context of Food Burying: Take note of when and under what circumstances your kitten buries their food. This information can provide valuable insights into the root cause.
  2. Changes in Your Kitten’s Overall Behavior: Observe whether there are any other unusual behaviors that accompany the food burying. This could indicate stress, anxiety, or a medical issue.
  3. Signs of Stress or Anxiety: Look for indications that your kitten may be feeling overwhelmed. This can include excessive grooming, hiding, or reduced appetite.

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Burying His Food?

To discourage your cat from burying his food, you can implement the following strategies:

  1. Secure Environment: Create a calm and consistent feeding space for your cat, away from noisy or high-traffic areas, to help them feel more secure during mealtimes.
  2. Feeding Routine: Establish a regular feeding schedule to provide your cat with a sense of predictability and security. That may reduce their need to bury food.
  3. Food Preferences: If your cat consistently buries a particular type or flavor of food, try offering different options to determine their preferences.
  4. Avoiding Drastic Changes in Diet: Sudden alterations in your kitten’s diet can lead to digestive issues or even cause them to reject the new food entirely. Be sure to introduce new foods gradually to avoid upsetting their stomach and allow them time to adapt.
  5. Clean Feeding Area: Ensure the area around the food bowl is clean and tidy. Cats may be more likely to bury their food if there is debris or spilled food nearby.
  6. Portion Control: Offer smaller portions of food more frequently throughout the day. This can prevent leftovers that your cat might be inclined to bury.
  7. Monitor Behavior: Observe your cat’s overall behavior and health. Look for any signs of stress, anxiety, or illness that may be contributing to their food-burying tendencies.
  8. Consult a Veterinarian: If the food-burying behavior persists or you have concerns about your cat’s health, consult your veterinarian for guidance. They can recommend the best course of action to address your cat’s specific needs. That may involve modifying their diet, providing medication, or implementing behavioral interventions.

Stress and Overstimulation

Reducing stress and overstimulation can also help discourage your kitten’s desire to bury his food. Offer interactive toys, scratching posts, or puzzle feeders to keep your kitten entertained and engaged. This can reduce their stress levels and minimize the likelihood of food burying. Ensure that your kitten has access to hideaways and elevated perches, where they can retreat and feel safe. This can help alleviate anxiety and consequently curb food-burying tendencies.

Joey eating

Oh, like you’ve never hidden a box of cookies to save for later? Seriously… #HypocriteHumans #I’llBeHungryLater #NeverMissAMeal #CookiesAreForKitties


Other Related Questions:

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor Around Her Food Bowl?

When your cat scratches the floor around her food bowl, she is exhibiting a behavior rooted in her wild feline ancestry. Here are some possible reasons for this action:

  1. Instinctual Food Burying: Cats inherit the instinct to bury their food from their wild ancestors. This behavior serves to hide leftovers for later consumption and diminish the smell that might attract predators or scavengers. Although your domesticated cat may not need to worry about such concerns, the instinct remains.
  2. Marking Territory: Scratching the floor around the food bowl can be your cat’s way of marking her territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws, and scratching allows them to deposit their scent, which signals ownership of the area.
  3. Dissatisfaction with Food: If your cat isn’t pleased with the taste, smell, or texture of the food you’ve provided, she may scratch the floor around the bowl as a sign of dissatisfaction or an attempt to bury the undesirable meal.
  4. Cleanliness: Some cats are meticulous about their environment and might scratch around the food bowl to clean up any spilled food or debris, maintaining a tidy eating area.
  5. Seeking Attention: In some cases, a cat might scratch the floor around her food bowl to draw your attention. This can be to communicate dissatisfaction with the food or to signal that she wants something different.

To address this behavior, ensure that your cat has a clean and secure feeding area, monitor her overall health, and experiment with different types of food to determine her preferences. If the behavior continues to be a concern, consider consulting a veterinarian or a feline behavior specialist for advice.

Do Cats Bury Their Food if They Don’t Like It?

Yes, cats may attempt to bury their food if they don’t like it. Cats might try to bury their food as a sign of dissatisfaction with the taste, smell, or texture. By attempting to bury the undesirable meal, they are essentially treating it as something they don’t want to eat or have around.

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Do Kittens Get Bored of Their Food?

Yes, kittens can get bored of their food, just like adult cats. Cats are known for being finicky eaters. Their preferences for taste, smell, and texture can change over time or even from day to day. If a kitten is consistently fed the same type of food, it may become less interested in it and seek variety.

To keep your kitten engaged and ensure they receive adequate nutrition, you can try the following:

  1. Rotate between different flavors, types, or textures of kitten-appropriate food to maintain their interest and provide them with a varied diet.
  2. Make mealtime more stimulating by using puzzle feeders or interactive toys that encourage your kitten to work for their food.
  3. Gradually introduce new food options to avoid upsetting their stomach. Sudden changes in diet can lead to digestive issues.

Monitor your kitten’s eating habits and overall health. If they are consistently disinterested in their food or exhibit signs of illness, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

It’s essential to provide your kitten with a nutritionally balanced diet that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Offering variety in their meals can keep them interested and help ensure they receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development.


Your kitten may bury his food due to a combination of instinctual behaviors and specific triggers. Understanding the reasons behind your kitten’s food-burying behavior is key to fostering a healthy relationship with your furry companion. By observing your kitten’s behavior and addressing any potential stressors or health concerns, you can help curb these tendencies and ensure his well-being.

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