My cat's bizarre dining ritual . . .

jakabedyJune 15, 2009

We took this cat in back in the fall when his owner (our stepson) moved away. He's a great chatty and personable neutered male cat, about 6 years old. He's indoors only -- we'd let him go out if he wanted to, but he just doesn't seem interested.

We noticed that he was a messy eater, with (dry) food being around the dish on the floor and sometimes in the water dish. We figured he had it in his mouth and dropped it in there. But it wasn't until last week when I was working in the same room as his dishes that I saw what he was doing. This only works when the food dish is pretty full:

He will push the food dish until it touches the water dish. He will then take a paw and try to scrape food into the water dish. (Most of it falls on the floor, but a few get in the water dish). He'll then let the food sit in the water maybe 15-30 seconds. He then fishes out one piece onto the floor and eats it. He'll then go back for other pieces. The pieces that get left in the water too long and start to dissolve -- he ignores those and then bothers me to get him fresh water.

He eats well even if the food is "low" in the bowl, but if he starts to see the plastic on the bottom of the bowl he yells at me to fill it up. I thought maybe he wanted softer food, but he turns up his nose at wet food, or even shrimp, chicken, fish, etc. we might have as table scraps. I really don't mind his little ritual -- I just find it odd. Anyone had a cat like this before?

Of course as I sit here writing this from my brother's house, his cat is asleep on the bed behind me . . . snoring. That's a first for me as well. Maybe we just have odd cats in our family.

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Hmmm...I wonder if that is how dry food ends up in my cats' water dish? I've never witnessed that, though. My male cat doesn't like his wet food to get flattened. So, as he licks it up and there is a flat amount left he cries for me to come over with a knife and put it back into a little pile for him. Yes, I stupidly do it, because if I don't he bumps his sister off her food (she eats slower and hers will still be a little mound). She also has weird little food rituals. Strange little creatures!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:29AM
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LOLOL ... Cat's are just plain weird, and they have us all trained very well! I know, I have 5.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 4:27PM
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Oh goodness, that is so funny. They are a kick aren't they? LOL Sounds like your baby wants some wet food, literally.

I have a couple of cats who never put their face in the dish, but rather like to pick the food with their claws and eat it from their paw. Too funny. I want to offer them a spoon but, realize they wouldn't use it anyway!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:36PM
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That sounds quirky and cute.

We had a cat who always ate first when we put down wet food. When he'd had enough, he would take a big mouthfull and walk, meowing, to where our girl kitty waited, and drop the food on the floor in front of her.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 12:44AM
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I love that cats are weird. One of mine scoops water up with her paws and drinks that way. Another one likes her wet food mounded up and won't eat it when it's flat, and the fattest cat will meow like crazy if she can see the bottom of any of the dry food dishes. Horrors! She just might run out of food. This cat lived in my house since she was 2 weeks old with her mother so why is she so insecure about food?. All five have their "station" when getting wet food. Three on the floor in a certain row and two on the island .

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 1:24AM
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lily-That is funny about the food.My cat would only eat a certain dry food.I would fill her bowl and when it would get down to about 1/3 full she wouldn't eat anymore until I refilled it to the top.For a long time she wouldn't drink water except from a bowl in my bathroom lavatory,but I broke her from that by getting one of the fountain type watering dishes.She would rake the top of the water with her foot before she would drink and sometimes would lick the water off her paw.
We had a cat when I was young that liked to drink out of the commode.I know,probably not a good thing but my mom cleaned it often.LOL He would sit on the seat and meow loudly until someone came and flushed (whether it needed flushing or not) then would watch the water go down with his head moving in a circular motion,then watch the bowl fill up before he would drink.Cats are truly funny creatures.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 2:39AM
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Actually, somewhere in the genetic past of your cat, a raccoon got into the family. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:24AM
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Two things come to mind when I read your post, one is that your kitty could have dental problems. The other is that there was a show on the Animal Planet where they showed these monkeys (dont remember the specific kind or the place) but one of the female leaders would take her food down tot he beach and stick it in the salt water before eating it. I guess she had a more discerning palate. It turns out the other moneys started to copy her and awhile later they went back to film the group and sure enough more monkeys than not were dipping their food into the salt water. Some creatures are just more refined than others when it comes to taste. Can she say: "Do you have any grey Poupon???"

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 7:42PM
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Bizarre to us, perfectly normal to the cat, like so many things . . . .
Our Feliz likes to go to the shower stall after my husband takes his morning shower and lick the water off the stall floor. He rinses the stall well so she won't be blowing soap bubbles. Feliz does not do this when I take a shower. She also lets us know if she can see the bottom of her food dish, and if she wants her water changed. Oh yes, she has a water bowl that she drinks from also. Humans are so trainable.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:54AM
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The shower thing reminded me.DD had a cat that would jump in the shower or tub when she was taking a bath or shower.She loved the water and a bath.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 1:26AM
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DH decided to mess with the cat last night and put his dishes down in the opposite position -- food on the left and water on the right. Count Basie simply squeezed behind them and pushed them out so he could still sweep the food from right to left with his right paw -- smart cat!

This triggered a memory of a big cat my mom had for years -- he would only drink water out of a tall plastic cup. And he wanted it filled to the top with ice cubes.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:56AM
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My mother had a couple of cats who would only drink from a running faucet. She had to turn it on numerous times a day so they could refresh themselves.

I have a cat (it as my mother's) who will not drink from a bowl, but scoops up water with its paws. All of my cats like to lick the shower stalls when they're wet. My big Tom Cat won't eat moist food if it's flat, either. I have to mound it up for him, halfway through each meal. None of my cats will eat the newer canned catfood with pieces of meat in it. It has to be pate'.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:59PM
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My snow shoe siamese is just a pig, plain and simple. She had figured out how to open the cabinet the food is in. There ear only hinges and no clasp to close it. Luckily food is in airtight container.

We feed our shephard only in morning and evening. But he loves to run to where her food is upstairs, whenever the gate is unlocked at the stairs, and gobble up whatever is left in bowl.

So I guess both my pets are pigs.

My first shephard used to only eat when we were home. He would take a mouthfull of food and run across room, drop it on floor and then proceed to eat it. Just like a pack animal would do. Really funny but cool to see him do.

My first kitty would come running if a faucet was turned on. She also loved to nibble on my mom's hair. Just mom's. Mom would sit on sofa and kitty would come running. We figured it was her meds affecting my mom's hair, she took lots of meds for arthritis and such.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 4:05AM
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My cat Basil comes running whenever he hears the toilet flush: he wants to see it "go down" and loves the water swirling. His favorite water is toilet water, a habit I'm trying to break! But he looks so disappointed when I close the lid.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 6:58AM
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My youngest (spoiled thing!) will only eat wet food off of paper plates. She refuses to eat it off a dish. She will however eat it off the floor. Also those tiny cans of food- she eats Natural Balance- and she will only eat about three mouthfuls of it. However, if you hand feed her (I know I'm the one who SPOILED her) she will eat the entire can. This same cat has to have her water bowl literally chained to the wall. If you give her a bowl of water, she plays in it and loves to knock it over when she's finished drinking. She picks up the bowl in her mouth and dumps it and watches in delight as the water splashes everywhere.

Another one of my cats will stick her paws in a bowl of water and lick the water off them. She also likes to dump bowls (we keep a bowl of water in one of our bathroom sinks for her) in the sink. She does this with her paws. She will tip it over and watch it run out slowly. Or she will nudge it with her nose and jump back.

My male cat will only eat dry food out of his dish. And the dish has to be full. My oldest female will cry and bite your toes if you do not take her to her food when she demands it. She could have just eaten ten minutes ago but if she wants more we have to walk her downstairs (as though she's afraid of the dark) My male cat (not related to food) HATES clutter. If you leave something on a table or the couch that does not belong there he jumps up and "removes" it. He will take his paw and knock any offending object on the floor. Before I adopted him I was told he used to eat Doritoes. I don't know if he still would as I won't feed them to him. Any cat I have owned before these four, was crazy about turkey (after thanksgiving we'd give them leftovers) My four look at you like you are trying to poison them if you offer them turkey.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 3:47PM
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i love cats! the more personality the cuter. my cat daisy and a stray cat i have fed for five years that won't come inside both scoop up dry food with their paws out of their dishes and eat it out of their paws like a person! you'd think they'd only do that if the food was in a bowl. because cats really need flat dishes. the sides are hard for them. gonna throw in my pet psychic profession thing here like i did on all my other nosey postings :-) i would say your cat doesn't like the food so hard. most cats prefer dry food even though wet is better for them because cats don't drink as much water as dogs do and they can get dehydrated too easy. all in all, it's a good habit cuz he gets more wetness that way. i think it's adorable! like someone else posted, the wierder cats are, the cuter they are. just means they are unique and special. not run of the mill

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 4:02AM
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You may find that placing her food into the water is a marking behavior. It's not uncommon for a cat to put her particularly favorite toy in her water bowl either. I recall there was a short article about this I read years ago in Animal Sheltering magazine (If i recall correctly). This was back when I worked at the shelter and we had cat rooms to manage. It explained why my own cat would take her little fake mouse and put it in the water bowl. I suspect your cat may be doing the same to "protect/mark" the food as hers alone.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 2:09PM
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