Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
About a month ago, one cat (Moe) in a 2-cat household started to eat his wet food by scooping it out of his dish with his paw and licking it off his paw, with no signs of distress or anything. His brother doesn’t do this. The two of them are very much friends, and nobody seems upset, and their food hasn’t been changed or anything – it’s just like Moe decided that this was the way to eat wet food. I have never known a cat (and I’ve known lots of cats) to do this (I suppose one could train a cat to, but this was totally unprovoked). Anyone else ever heard of a cat doing this?
Siouxsie: We have heard of a number of unusual eating habits and styles in cats, including the old “scoop the food out of the bowl” method. But this is the first we’ve heard of scooping and licking food off the paw.
Thomas: But aside from basic hygiene concerns, we don’t think it’s anything you need to worry about.
Dahlia: Speaking personally, I wouldn’t want to eat food from off my paws. I know where those feet have been! And even though I (and the rest of the Paws and Effect gang) are very keen about keeping ourselves clean and shiny, we can’t help the fact that our feet are always touching the floor and our kitty litter, and anything else we’ve managed to walk through in our daily excursions.
Siouxsie: On the other hand, we do clean our paws regularly, even if they have been touching the floor and other dirty places.
Thomas: There are a couple of reasons Moe may have decided he doesn’t want to eat wet food out of the bowl. Some cats don’t like to eat out of vessels where their whiskers touch the sides. You could try giving him food in a shallower and wider dish — perhaps even a plate or saucer — and see if he eats his food in a more typical way.
Dahlia: Moe also may have decided he doesn’t like the way his wet food smells when it’s in the dish. We cats do prefer not to eat out of plastic bowls. Mama gives us our food in ceramic dishes, and other cats eat out of stainless steel dishes.
Siouxsie: If Moe eats dry food from his dish in the usual way, his wet food eating preference may be due to the fact that his dish “crawls away from him” as he licks at his wet food. Using a heavier dish or a steel dish with a rubber “foot” will prevent this from happening.
Thomas: But basically, we think Moe’s odd eating preference is nothing to worry about. Some cats just prefer to eat with their “hands,” I guess. Perhaps he’s taking after his humans in this way.
Dahlia: Just so you know that Moe isn’t alone with his peculiar eating behavior, we’ll point you to a column we wrote some time ago about a cat that compulsively digs and scratches around his food dish. This behavior is not at all uncommon.
Siouxsie: And then there’s the column about the cat that likes to take showers and splash water all over the place! That was a fun one to write about.
Thomas: And here’s another column about a water splasher, this one a senior citizen kitty. We took some time in that column to discuss the special needs of older cats, so if you’ve got an elder feline, you may find some good information there too.
Dahlia: Before we go, we’d like thank our readers all around the world and wish you all blessings for Christmas, Hanukkah (we know we’re late for that one, but we didn’t forget our Jewish friends!), Eid’ul-Adha, Yule, Kwanzaa, Omisoka, and any holiday you celebrate during this season. Thank you all for your support and your letters, and many purrs to you all!
My kitteh only eats with her paw if, like Thomas mentioned, the sides of the bowl are too tall. We always make sure to give her a shallow dish.
My family had another kitty many years ago that when we would give her some tuna (I know, not the best, it was a treat and she didn’t get it often), she would only eat it in this manner – as if to eat slowly and savor it.
my cat does that too but with dry food..we think its cute..
I think the cats just trying to mimic human gestures, we eat with our hands and they see that and try to do it too.
Our cat is about 17 yrs old. She has pretty much gone deaf and as best we can tell, has feline dimentia (we no longer let her in the bedroom at night, we like our sleep). There are many new issues that we are having to deal with. Some no problem, others a problem. She is more needy in the attention category-not a problem. She now thinks she is allowed on any surface, including the tables-not too much of a problem. She isn’t cleaning herself very well-not a problem either, we are bathing her. But, as of last week she has started feeding herself using her paw in the wet food. We changed the stainless steel, rubber bottomed bowl to a shallow porcelain plate hoping this would stop. She still does it. The problem we have is that she is making an absolute mess. She will have food on her paw and will shake it loose…..it flies across the room and gets everywhere.
Got anymore ideas??
My cat sits on the table when we have our meals. He started with scooping things off our plates but now I cut up meat and give it to him on a saucer. His favourite is duck. He eats these delicacies with his paws when he is on the table but eats with his mouth at his feeding bowls on the floor. I do think he is trying to join in human behaviour as has already been suggested by Chris. (I don’t think cat cutlery would work that well though!)
Our cat sometimes eats with his paws. His bowl is very shallow, so the deepness isn’t an issue. It’s wet food only, and he often reaches in, scoops out some food onto his paw, and eats the food off his paw. He’s done this for years, he’s 10 yrs old. We’re not worried or concerned, it’s just odd, that’s all.
My cat, Sam, does this as well…. I have tried every dish above mentioned. I have come to the conclusion that he just prefers to eat with his RIGHT paw. He covers his poo with his LEFT. And refuses to drink out of his water bowl. He sticks his head under our leaky faucet and licks the drip as it trickles from the top of his head to his nose. I too think cats are evolving. And mess is also an issue in our home!
my cat has been eating with his hands for the last 2 years,he picks the food out of the bowl and puts it in his mouth.its quite funny,but i am not concerned about it,i know he is a happy cat,i think its because he has seen me eating with my hands and he has picked it up from me.cats are a lot cleverer than we think
My kitty girl scoops food and eats with her paw…she’s studies every move we make and loves the kitchen, where we cook and bake all the time. She even tries to mix like we do in mixing bowls but just makes a mess…very funny. She is so polite and maybe taking the next step in the process of evolution…um just sayin’.
My cat does this with his wet food. I think it’s cute, although it makes a mess. I take it as a sign of a feline’s superior intelligence and wanting to be like a human – he sees me eating my cereal with a spoon and wants to imitate. Smart kitteh!
All of your cats sound so clever and neat. I wish my cat did these things. He’s just a plain cat no qirks EXCEPT whenever he drinks something or eats something wet he shakes his paws. Its funny at times because he cAn be standing on all fours but will still shake his paws even if he almost looses his bAlAnce. LOL. That’s my Simba.
I prefer to eat with my paws, i don’t like my whiskas or fur touching the sides of the bowl. My pet feeds me on a plate now, which is much better.
My cat Nicco who is now 6y/o, sometimes also scoops his food and eats it from the floor. Now I know that I’m not alone on this! But I need to understand the following.., I feed him dry food.. but he always MOVES his plate (various times a day!) so that the water literally gets in his food! This is done even if his food is already wet and no matter the amount left in his plate! I’ve tried changing different brands and flavors, lowering the amount of water.. But he continues with the strange behavior! I’ve mentioned it to the vet.. He has no clue either.. His teeth are good and all in all he is in good health! So please shed SOME light on me! =/
My baby girl does this. She only seems to do it if there’s not a lot of food left in her dish or if she waits to eat until the food dries up. She also burries her food when she’s done, she’ll drag things across the room to put them over her food. And when she eats with her paw she usually throws a few pieces across the room, so I’ve been taking her food away when she starts to burry it and I’ll just leave dry food down. I haven’t seen her doing it since I’ve been taking her food when she’s done.
My does the same until we give her a plate instead of a bowl but i think it shows animals intelligence to adapt to situations and shows that they are not that different to us
my cat does that with her dry food….when the bowl starts to get empty, she’ll scoop a piece out and eat it off the floor. The main problem I’ve been having is she sticks her paws in her water dish which causes the water to get dirty and her to have wet paws. What makes it really bad is she’ll go use the litter box and then gets litter stuck to her paws….does anyone know of a way to get her to stop doing this cause she also makes the carpet wet wherever she walks.
My cat eats with her paws too.. the funny thing is, She hasn’t yet mastered the skill or eating with her paws. so She ends up tossing her food here and there and then funnily goes back looking for her food as to where it fell. It has become a regular routine of hers and i think she enjoys it too. Because when she actually gets tired of playing her games, She comes for a second serving which she eats very obediently.
My cat does this at various times but with no consistency. He grabs food off our plates and eats it with his feet and sometimes even sticks his foot in his water and licks it. It seems he started this soon after I raised a coon in the house with the dogs and cats.
I have 12 outside cats and 3 inside. I have a lot of woods around my house and I think I’m the drop off for cats. A few months ago, a calico kitten came up to the house and after 2 days, I caught her. She was very small, about 8 weeks. I kept her and put her in the house. She gets along great with the other two in the house but she is so messy. She eats out of a heavy large saucer and also eats out of the other cats dishes, but she drags her food across the counter and makes a complete mess. She stands at her dish and eats with her paw, then she get it on the furniture and everywhere. I have never seen a cat like her and I’ve had a lot of them. She is a happy cat, she has been spayed and she has the right dish but I can’t figure her out.
I just adopted a 4 month old kitten that was hanging around outside of my workplace. She does the same thing with the canned food. Scoops it out of the bowl then eats off her paw. We tried different style bowls but still the same thing. I wasn’t concerned so much as that there was a problem as I am with the mess she makes!
Hi I lke cats alot theyier cute alot :DD XD
We have two cats that are sisters. One has started to eat with her paw and makes a mess. The other eats right next to her on the same kind of flat heavy plate and does not exhibit this behavior. I would prefer she not do this for sanitary reasons.