Why does my cat put his favorite toys in his food bowl? He has done this since he was a tiny kitten. He even does it if he has to jump on the counter with the toy in his mouth. (We had a dog for a while, and she would eat his food if it wasn’t on the counter.)
My answer is going to involve speculation. I don’t know for sure why your cat is engaging in this behavior, and I certainly can’t ask him. But I have a hunch.
Your cat’s food bowl is undoubtedly a very special place for him. If he enjoys eating as much as I do, then he associates the food bowl with good feelings.
What’s more, the food bowl is a place that is uniquely his. I suspect that in his mind it is the heart of his territory.
So when he moves his favorite toys to the heart of his territory, he is helping to keep his most prized possessions in a spot where it is easy to account for them.
I realize that this explanation involves speculation and a bit of anthropomorphism. Another possible explanation is that he likes to carry his toys around the house, and he drops them in his food bowl because he can’t hold a toy and eat at the same time. But I like the first explanation better.