If you’re lucky enough to be a cat owner, you’ve likely noticed that cats, unlike dogs, rarely if ever eat all of their food. So why do they do this? Well, there are two reasons.
Reason One: Saving Food for Later
The first reason, instinctually, like in the wild, felines hunt and save some food for later. This is done just in case a fresher supply of food doesn’t present itself later in the day. Your house cat, like a lioness, prefers fresh food over food that’s hours, if not days old. Can you blame her? We wouldn’t eat an old piece of sushi, so don’t expect your picky cat to not turn her nose up on some old kibbles and bits. Always better to place less food for your cat than too much food that they’re turn down later. Like humans, cats are excited about the prospect of fresh food. It’s not like you’re jumping off the couch to eat last week’s leftovers.
Reason Two: Delicate Whiskers
The second reason cats tend to leave some food behind in their bowl is that their whiskers are simply too sensitive to be burrowing through a narrow bowl of food. Cats’ whiskers are rich in nerves and sensory cells making it rather painful to have them continuously rub against the wall of a bowl. Imagine whiskers so sensitive, they can feel the slightest breeze or air movement. Whiskers are important tools for cats that help them hunt, steer clear of predators, and navigate in the dark. Whiskers help the cat figure out if they can fit somewhere. If the whiskers fit, they will fit, but pressure on those whiskers means they are in danger of getting stuck. Only a foolish cat would ignore that kind of warning.
What you can do…
If you notice your cat leaving behind some food, try switching out her deep bowl for a shallow one or a saucer. Your cat will totally love you for it- But obviously won’t show it. Make sure to wash your cat’s food utensil after every use. You wouldn’t eat off a dirty plate- neither should your cat.