Why does my cat spill her kibble out of the bowl and onto the floor?

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Does your cat paw at her food, swat her water and even leave toys in her bowl?There are several reasons why your cat does this. This instinctual behavior may be due to the following reasons:

• Self entertainment: This is probably the biggest reason. Cats are solitary hunters, not pack animals, so they swat and push. Your cat might swat at her water so she can see the ripples and, if you have two cats, it might even look like they’re playing hockey with a piece of kibble.
• Examining it: She might be checking to make sure there are no bugs or other foreign objects in the food. From an evolutionary point of view, kittens relied on their mothers to tell them what to eat; now she’s on her own, so she has to investigate. If it’s on the floor, she has a good view.
• Hiding: She might actually think she’s hiding it, if she takes it out of the bowl. Some cats have a natural instinct to hide their food and cover up the scent of it to keep predators from finding it. This behavior goes back to their wild roots.
• Hunting: It’s very common for a cat, especially a female one, to leave a toy in her bowl; it represents bringing food back to their young when cats lived in the wild. Since cats are mostly domesticated now, they exhibit this hunting behavior with things like toys to represent a kill that has been taken to a safe spot for their young to eat.

What can you do if your cat exhibits this behavior? Not much. The best thing is to get one of those feeding mats, preferably the kind with the ridges on the sides, so the bowls can’t move around.

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