To answer the question of “Why does my cat scratch the floor after eating,” we have to consider that domesticated cats share many of their instincts with their ancestors. As such, it’s not uncommon for them to indulge in those instincts at home, and scratching the floor after eating is one of them.
If your cat is pawing the floor around its bowl after its meal, it’s trying to bury the leftovers. Cats do this in the wild to cover their tracks and protect themselves from predators. So, even though there are hardly any predators at home, your domesticated cat follows its feline instincts.
Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor After Eating?
Cats may scratch the floor after eating for various reasons.
It could be that they are trying to mark their territory, as cats use scratching to communicate with other cats in the area.
Or it could also be a way of cleaning off extra food and water from their paws before they groom themselves.
Additionally, cats may scratch as an automatic response to feeling full or satisfied after eating, as if hunting prey and trying to dig their claws into the ground.
Finally, it could simply be that scratching is a way for cats to release excess energy and stretch out their muscles.
Regardless, providing your cat with appropriate scratching objects, such as scratching posts or cardboard scratchers they can use instead of furniture, is essential.
That way, your cat’s instinct will be satisfied, and your furniture won’t be harmed.
If you are concerned about why your cat scratches the floor after eating, it is best to consult a veterinarian to address the behavior.
They may recommend desensitizing techniques to help your cat become more comfortable in its environment or suggest products such as cat pheromone sprays that can reduce cats’ stress and anxiety. Understanding why your cat scratches the floor after eating is essential for providing them with the best care possible.
But They Aren’t Hiding the Food, Are They?
Domesticated cats aren’t able to hide their food by simply scratching the floor around their bowls. Food caching (food storage) isn’t possible since they cannot dig into the ground, right? But if there is some newspaper underneath the bowl or a towel, the cat may cover its food instead.
Covering the leftovers is also quite common in the wild, but no deeper meaning exists. In general, it just means the cat goes the extra mile to hide its food from other predators. It wants to make sure its whereabouts remain a mystery.
Is My Cat Saving Some Food for Later?
Since this behavior is common among domesticated cats, many feline owners think it goes deeper than the basic instinct. After all, we all know that some Garfield’s out there love their food and will keep eating until they cannot get up from the sofa.
However, even if your cat has a big appetite, it isn’t scratching the floor after eating or covering its leftovers with paper or towels to save some food for later.
Cats aren’t scavengers, and they are rather careful when it comes to not-so-fresh food. However, it is in their nature to avoid things that may get them sick, which rotten meat can contribute to.
Therefore, they will never bury or cover leftovers to eat them later; they only do it to hide from predators.
Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor After Eating? Should I Do Something About It?
Though it may seem that your hard flooring is bound to suffer a bit, the scratching isn’t harmful at all. In the end, it’s pure instinct, and it helps the cat stay in touch with its wilderness roots in case it ever has to fend for itself out there.
However, if it’s particularly annoying to you and the cat has destroyed some of your floor or carpet, you could discourage the behavior in a couple of ways. Keep in mind, though, that you should never yell or punish the cat for it. That may have a counter effect and destroy your relationship with your cat, not to mention lead to other problematic behavior.
If you don’t want your cat to paw the floor or cover the food bowl with stray towels or paper:
Remove the Bowl Once the Cat Is Done Eating
We’ve determined that your feline will want to bury or cover the leftovers. Therefore, the easiest thing you can do is remove the temptation from the equation. If the food isn’t there, there won’t be anything to hide. Besides, if it’s wet food, you’re much better off throwing it away — it will start to smell soon.
Determine How Much Food Your Cat Needs
Since cats will only hide their leftovers, you may be pouring a lot more than your feline needs. First, determine the right amount to stop the behavior. Alternatively, stop leaving dry food out for free grazing. If there’s some food out, and the cat cannot finish it all, there will always be leftovers to bury!
Distract the Cat
Whenever you see your cat scratching the floor after eating, try to distract it with toys or even a laser. That should keep its mind off the leftovers and its instinct. And while you’re playing, you’ll get a chance to get rid of the food fast, without your feline ever noticing a thing!
Keep the Food Bowl on a Hard-to-Damage Surface
If you place the bowl on concrete, it’s unlikely the cat will be able to destroy it. Therefore, if you can feed your cat outside, do it. At least that way, your floors will remain scratch-free, and your cat can indulge in its instinct!
As you can see, the answer to Why does my cat scratch the floor after eating? It is pretty simple and entirely harmless. Felines are instead in tune with their instincts, which is likely just one of the many behavioral patterns they’ve inherited from their ancestors. However, if it bothers you and you’d like to stop the pawing, there are some simple solutions you could try. Ultimately, what matters is that there isn’t anything sinister behind the behavior — it’s only natural!