What Are Some Common Cat Eating Habits?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this blog post, we will explore some common cat eating habits and delve into the reasons behind them. 

Welcome to our blog, where we will dive deep into the world of feline eating habits. If you’re a cat owner, you may have already noticed the quirky and sometimes puzzling behavior of your furry companion when it comes to mealtime. Whether it’s the way they meticulously pick at their food or the occasional habit of stealing table scraps, cats have a fascinating array of eating habits that can leave us both amused and perplexed. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common cat eating habits, shed light on the reasons behind these behaviors, and provide tips on how to ensure your feline friend maintains a healthy and balanced diet. So, grab a cup of tea, settle in, and let’s unravel the mysteries behind your cat’s unique culinary preferences together.

What Are Some Common Cat Eating Habits?

Cats have a plethora of distinctive eating habits, which may differ between individuals but typically include:

  • Small, frequent meals: Cats naturally prefer to eat multiple small meals throughout the day.
  • Water intake: Many cats obtain much of their hydration from their food, especially if they consume a wet diet.
  • Chewing on one side: Cats often chew food on one side of their mouths due to the structure of their teeth.
  • Leaving food untouched: Cats only eating a little bit if it’s not to their liking or if they are feeling unwell.
  • Hunting instincts: Even well-fed domestic cats might show the instinct to hunt, reflecting their wild ancestry. 
  • Food covering behavior: Some cats may attempt to cover uneaten food for later consumption. 
  • Preference for privacy: Many cats prefer to eat in quiet, undisturbed areas.
  • Avoidance of water and food bowl edges: Cat have whiskers so they don’t like touching the edges of their food or water bowls, a behavior known as “whisker stress.”

Do Cats Need A Specific Type Of Diet?

While cats may exhibit a variety of eating behaviors, their dietary needs are fairly specific due to their unique biology. As obligate carnivores, cats require a diet high in animal protein and certain nutrients, such as taurine, arachidonic acid, and vitamin A, which they can’t produce on their own. A balanced diet is essential to maintain their health and prevent diseases associated with nutritional deficiencies or excesses. It’s important to note that while cats might show a preference for certain types of food, their nutritional needs should always supersede these preferences.

A cat eating out of a bowl in the grass. Cat food bowl. - PICRYL - Public  Domain Media Search Engine Public Domain Image

What Are Some Signs That My Cat Is Not Eating Enough?

If your cat isn’t getting enough food, there are several telltale signs you should watch for:

  • Weight loss: This is often the most obvious sign. Rapid and unexplained weight loss in cats is a serious concern and should prompt immediate veterinary attention.
  • Changes in behavior: Cats that aren’t eating enough may become lethargic or exhibit changes in behavior, such as increased aggression or unusual clinginess.
  • Poor coat condition: A cat’s coat can offer clues about their nutritional status. If it becomes dull, matted, or thin, it may indicate that your cat isn’t getting enough nutrients.
  • Changes in eating habits: If your cat is suddenly showing less interest in food or leaving meals untouched, it’s a clear sign that something may be amiss.
  • Bad breath: Unusually bad breath can be a sign of malnutrition or other health problems in cats.
  • Visible bones: If your cat’s bones become more prominent (particularly the hip bones or spine), it suggests that they may not be eating enough.
  • Changes in litter box habits: Cats that aren’t eating enough may produce less waste, or the waste may look different than normal.

How Can I Encourage My Cat To Eat If They Are Picky?

It’s not uncommon for cats to be fussy eaters. If your cat is picky, there are several strategies you can try to encourage them to eat:

Variety: Introduce various types of food to find out what your cat prefers. This could include different flavors, textures, and forms (wet, dry, semi-moist). 

Small portions: Cats typically like to eat in small, frequent meals. Instead of offering one large meal, try giving them smaller portions throughout the day.

Quiet, undisturbed area: As mentioned earlier, cats often prefer to eat in peace. Ensure their feeding area is quiet and not subject to sudden noises or disturbances.

Avoid quick changes: If you’re introducing a new type of food, do it gradually over several days to allow your cat to adjust.

Check food freshness: Make sure the food you’re offering is fresh. Cats often avoid food that’s stale or has been left out too long. Also remember to clean cat bowl regularly.

Consult a vet: If your cat continues to be picky, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues. They can also provide advice tailored to your cat’s nutritional needs and preferences.

Heated food: Some cats prefer their food warm, as it enhances the aroma and can make it more appealing. Always make sure the food is not too hot before serving.

Related: How To Warm Up Cat Food?

How Do I Prevent My Cat From Overeating?

Overeating can lead to obesity and other health complications in cats. Here’s how you can help prevent your feline friend from overeating:

Measure Meals: Instead of free-feeding, measure out your cat’s food to ensure they’re getting the right amount of food each day. Your vet can help you determine the appropriate portion size based on your cat’s age, weight, and overall health.

Scheduled Feeding: Feed your cat at specific times each day to establish a routine. This can prevent your cat from “grazing” throughout the day.

Slow Feeder Bowls: Slow feeder bowls are designed to make your cat work a bit harder for their food, slowing down their eating pace and helping to prevent overeating.

Divide Meals: Instead of giving your cat one or two large meals, divide their daily food intake into several small meals throughout the day. This can help them feel satisfied without overeating.

Monitor Weight Regularly: Regular weight checks can help you spot any weight gain early on, allowing you to adjust your cat’s diet before it becomes a problem.

Provide Plenty of Exercise: Regular playtime and exercise can help keep your cat in good shape and prevent weight gain.

Choose Nutritious Food: High-quality, nutritionally balanced cat food can help your cat feel fuller longer and reduce the desire to overeat.


In conclusion, cats are fascinating creatures with unique eating habits that have evolved over centuries of domestication. From their preference for small, frequent meals to their unusual taste preferences, every cat has their own quirks when it comes to food. However, as responsible pet owners, it is important for us to keep a close eye on our cats’ eating habits and make sure they are getting the proper nutrition they need. Whether you have a picky eater or a cat who loves to graze all day long, understanding common cat eating habits can help you provide the best care for your furry friend.