Georgina and Bianca

Why does my kitten paw the ground by her food dish?

One of my kittens sometimes will paw the kitchen floor by her food dish. It looks the same as when she paws the litter in the litterbox before she urinates. The first time I saw her paw the ground, I thought she was going to pee there! She didn't though. Do cats have scent glands in their feet? Is she perhaps marking her territory with her paws?


Asked by Georgina and Bianca on Jun 4th 2008 in Behavior & Training
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I assume that Kitty is doing this AFTER she eats? And that she paws the litter in her litterbox AFTER she goes to the bathroom, as well as before? If so, your cat is exhibiting an extremely common (especially in kittens) behavior that can drive their owners batty. It's basically Kitty saying either "I've had enough!" (if she ate her food), or "You expect me to eat THIS?" (in the case that she took one sniff and refused to eat). In either case, she's "burying" her food, just as she buries her pee and poop. In my experience,kittens tend to be a bit fussier about their food than adult cats, and therefore tend to do this behavior (especially the "You think I'm going to eat THIS?!?" one) more often than adults. She'll probably stop doing this as she gets older. I'd never thought of the marking the cat's territory thing; it sounds like a good idea, but generally this burying behavior is considered to mean "Thanks, but no thanks."

Lola answered on 6/4/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Leila is right for sure. Phil does this after hes eaten all the wet food he can. He usually sniffs, paws, sniffs, paws, sniff again..paws again. I think he can still smell is and see it so he keep trying to cover it up, especially since our other cat Clawdia will try to eat his leftovers sometimes, so he's probably trying to hide it too. (its got his medicine in it though i try to take it away and clean it off once hes done so she doesn't get into it)

unfortauntly he's not going to cover anything up with a hardwood floor. haha! My boyfriends cat also does it when shes not going to eat something.which is oddly enough leftover cereal milk. We call it her "dance" but its just her being like "eww cover this up!"

Philbert answered on 6/4/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Oscar J. Cat

She's "saving the leftovers for later." Believe it or not, dogs do it too. My elderly chihuahua does the same thing when she doesn't finish all her food. She tries to bury it for later.

Oscar J. Cat answered on 6/5/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Mysty (The Princess)

I do it too-mommy sits and laughs because she says it is cute. Now that my food is on my condo I scratch the carpet instead of the floor, but it still sounds and looks funny...or at least mommy thinks so.

Mysty (The Princess) answered on 6/5/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I saw this behavior in big cats on TV( Leopard and tigers too!). This is a natural action wherein they cover the food and save it for later so that no other scavengers can find it. If they do it at their litter box, that means they are not convinced that it is covered properly and they want to cover their scent to save themselves from predators. These are natural cat instincts.

Cherry answered on 6/6/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer