Why is my cat scratching her placemat after eating?

  • My kitten (Mia) is a bit of a messy eater, so I place her food bowls on top of a pet placemat. After she's done eating (sometimes she eats everything, sometimes she leaves a few bites), she starts scratching/pawing like crazy at the placemat and surrounding floor. At first I thought maybe that was her way of telling me she was finished, so I started picking the food bowl up when she did that. However, she would start meowing shortly after to tell me she was still hungry. I would sit the bowl back down, and she eat more, but then start scratching at the placemat again. Why do you think she's doing this?

  • Hi Hannah,

    It is instinctual for cats to scratch/paw around their food area after eating (finished or not). This behaviour is done in the wild, where cats bury any remaining portion of their meal and/or it's scent from their predators. She also may be just expelling excessive energy and finds this action soothing now that her belly is full. Since she is a kitten, she may grow out of this behaviour in time or she could continue this throughout her life. 

  • My cat does the same thing, but before eating! Why is this?

  • @Crystal Trapasso In the wild, cats bury any remaining portion of their meal to hide any traces of scent and leftovers from predators. To perform this behaviour beforehand is just another instinctive way to "claim as their own". This scratching around the bowl leaves territory marks from the scent glands of the paws. It's as if they are protecting their meal before they eat it and afterwards. Sending a message to everyone around them...this is mine. 

    Your cat may also just find this action...fun. 😊 

  • My cat just started that. Thank you for clearing that up for me. My mind was going someplace else!!

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