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5 Ways My Cats Tell Me It’s Mealtime (They’re Not Subtle)

They stare, fight, and run when their "food alarm" goes off -- and there's no snooze button.

Angie Bailey  |  Oct 20th 2014


Cats have crazy-accurate internal clocks, and my kitties’ alarms start going off about an hour before breakfast and dinner. I know their alarms have sounded because they give me not-so-subtle clues. And there’s no hitting the snooze button when the pre-meal alarms sound.

Here are five ways my cats tell me it’s mealtime — I’m sure you can relate with more than a couple of these.

1. The stare

Sometimes when I’m working or watching TV, I’ll look up and see all three cats staring at me. I call them the “Purrmuda Triangle” because they usually surround me in a feline triangle of hungry glares. I think they believe they have psychic powers that will plant the “feed the cats” thought in my head. It’s kind of unnerving, but I’ve learned to work around the Purrmuda Triangle. I’m petrified of entering the Triangle, for fear I’ll never be seen again. Don’t mess with psychic cats, especially hungry ones.

2. The rumble

For whatever reason, my cats act like wild animals just before I feed them. They swat and tumble around the general feeding area. It’s like they’re lions fighting over who’s gets the zebra. Or maybe they’re like me and get “hangry,” a not-so-pretty combination of hunger and anger. If that’s the case, I totally get it. I have to carry snack bars in my purse or I’ll likely swat the nearest person when hanger hits. I get the zebra! Um, I mean snack bar.

3. Running in circles

This one primarily refers to Cosmo, who races in circles around the kitchen table when he sees I’m preparing his food. It feels like a combination of delirious excitement and trying to stay occupied so the time goes faster. Either way, it’s kind of hilarious to watch him. If he were in some kind of Olympics for cats, he’d win the gold in a running event. That cat can take corners like nobody’s business, and vocalize the entire time. He’s an extraordinarily talented fellow.

4. Vocals

Speaking of vocalization … if the staring doesn’t work, Cosmo usually starts meowing — a desperate meow that sounds like he hasn’t been fed in days. He can’t just meow sweetly like he normally does. No, they’re high-pitched and frantic. Poor baby — he’d only had treats an hour earlier. He must be starving!

5. Standing by their bowls

Sometimes my cats like to be completely obvious in their demand for food. They’ll stand by their empty bowls, staring at the bowl and then glancing at me. This could go on for quite some time. I’m sure they’re thinking, “Since the staring and meowing isn’t working, I suppose we have to be more direct in our request. Don’t worry — we know humans can be simple and need more direct communication.”

How do your cats tell you it’s mealtime? Give us some examples in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.