Why Does My Cat Want Me To Watch Her Eat?
Does your cat need you right next to her when she’s eating?
While it might seem odd to you, it turns out that this behavior is actually more common than you’d think.
It's so common that there’s even a name for it: affection eating.
To learn more, The Dodo reached out to Dr. Marci K. Koski, a certified feline behavior and training consultant at Feline Behavior Solutions in Vancouver.
Why does your cat want you to watch her eat?
According to Dr. Koski, some cats prefer the company of a companion while feeding — something known in the cat world as social or affection feeding.
And while your cat might want you to watch her scarf down her meal, some cats actually like to be pet while eating!
While it might sound strange, there are a couple of reasons for this.
“First, many cats grow up being fed by their mother and may simply be used to having some sort of guardian present while feeding,” Dr. Koski said. “Second, when a cat is in a new, scary or stressful environment, they may want to have someone around them to help them feel more at ease.”
According to Dr Koski, because cats are both predator and prey in the wild, a cat consuming a meal might not see a potential threat lurking in the distance — so she’s basically relying on you to stick close by and make sure nothing is coming to attack her.
How can I make my cat more comfortable eating alone?
Of course, sometimes you’re busy, and you want to make sure your cat can still eat when you aren’t standing guard or giving her pets. So what can you do?
According to Dr. Koski, establishing a daily routine of play, feeding and enrichment activities can help your cat feel more secure in her environment — all of which should encourage her to eat without you.
Of course, if you suspect that your cat’s constant need for you is because of something more serious — or if she doesn’t seem to have an appetite even when you’re around — you should reach out to your veterinarian to see what’s going on.