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Why Does My Cat Move His Food Bowl? (Strange or Savvy?)

If your cat is moving its food bowl you may be scratching your head wondering why this is happening and what you should do about it…

Why does my cat move his food bowl?

Your cat may move its food bowl for several reasons such as dislike for the current location, wants it away from its water bowl, or just by accident. If it’s the former, the location, you may have to try a few locations or get a second bowl and test to see how it responds.

So, now you know. But, what is the best location for your cat’s food bowl? How can you stop it moving it around? Should you consider moving your cat’s bowl? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…

3 top reasons a cat will move its bowl:

Why does my cat move his food bowl?

A cat eating from its bowl and lickings its mouth.

In the previous section, I briefly mentioned some reasons why your cat may move its food bowl. Therefore, in this section I will explain each one in greater detail:

01. Want it away from their water

Some cats prefer to have their water bowl away from their water. This may sound backward, and to us, that is generally right. But, for cats that lived in the wild, this was a survival choice.

Basically, the theory was that the water source could be contaminated by predators, and eating away from their water could help them survive another day.

I get it, most domesticated cats should not have that concern. But, some instinctual behaviors are hard to shake off, like covering their poop to avoid detection by predators.

02. Hates the location

Some cats are picky about the location of their bowl in general. In fact, it can be confusing why they prefer one place over another. Why? Well, there have been reports of cats moving a bowl from one side of the room to the middle, with no obvious reason.

So, rather than trying to decipher this situation, you may just have to accept it as a part of being a cat owner and find a happy place for you, and your cat.

03. By accident

If you have noticed that your cat’s bowl has moved but, it’s just a one-off, the chances are it’s a genuine mistake. If that’s the case, just move it back and move on with your day.

Obviously, if it happens again, you have your feedback, and it’s not happy with the location.

What is the best location for a cat bowl?

The best location for your cat can be complex. Why? Because every cat has its own preferences. But, here are some pointers to consider:

  • Make sure it’s peaceful
  • No litter box insight
  • Keep it consistent

Make sure it’s peaceful

Cats like to eat in peace, as you can imagine. So, if you are considering a new location make sure it’s not noisy. If this happens it may affect its appetite, if you get my point?

No litter box insight

Litter boxes are smelly (click here to see if a hooded box helps) and cats know this. Therefore, they may refuse to eat from their food bowl if it’s right next to, or nearby their litter box.

Keep it consistent

Whatever you do, when you find the location that works, keep it constant. Meaning, don’t keep moving it because you fancy it, or tidying up, etc. This will unsettle your cat and could affect its eating habits.

How can you stop your cat from moving the food bowl?

If you are sick and tired of your cat moving the bowl then you may be looking for some solutions to stop this. Here are some tips for you:

01. Get a heavier bowl

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Sometimes you will notice that your cat may have moved its bowl by accident, as discussed earlier. When this happens you can get around it by simply getting a heavier bowl.

This can happen when the bowl is too light and your cat is eager to get as much food down its neck as possible, and this can help.

02. Change the location of the bowl

If your cat is not happy with the location of the bowl you can consider changing the location. This may sound simple, but in practice, it can be hit or miss.

It will need some trial and error to get it right. This is why it’s important not to move it once you hit a sweet spot if you get my point. Also, you may find it easier with 2 or more bowls in different locations.

This way you can see which location your cat gravitates to and keep the favored location as its main feeding spot.

03. Place it away from their water bowl

Earlier I mentioned that some cats do not like their food bowl next to their water bowl, remember? Well, if this is the case then you will need to make sure they are located in different places.

Also, this does not mean they have to be a million miles apart. It could be in a different room, or on a level of your home, for example.

Can I move my cat’s food bowl?

You can move your cat’s bowl but you have to be careful how you do it. Meaning, you should not just move it overnight and expect your cat to be happy, do it in stages.

This can be done by placing a second bowl in the new location and gradually wean your cat off the old location. This will stop it from getting confused or annoyed with you.

Should I elevate my cat’s food bowl?

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Elevating your cat’s bowl can be helpful. Especially if it has issues digesting food. When it is elevated your cat may improve its eating experience and help with its digestion.

You can purchase elevated bowls that can help you if this is a problem you have with your cat.

Should I keep my cat’s food bowl full?

Keeping your cat’s food bowl full can lead to overeating or even obesity. So, if your cat can’t control itself then this is not a good idea and not recommended.

However, some cat owners use the free feeding method which relies on your cat’s self-discipline. Mainly for its convenience because they do not have to be present for each meal.

If you feel that your cat can control themselves, and free-feeding is appealing to you, then it could be worth a trial, otherwise, adopt a feeding schedule that works for you.

Another consideration is using an automatic feeder (click here for my best one). This can allow you to schedule your cat’s meals without you having to be there.

Does moving your cat’s food bowl affect their eating?

Most cats won’t stop eating if they move their bowl. This is because if they are hungry they will find and eat it. However, some cats can be affected by this. If this is your cat it could either move the bowl or refuse to eat in its current location.

These types of picky cats can present problems. This is why it’s not ideal to move a cat’s bowl once they are happy eating there.

Why does my cat move his food placemat?

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A cat may move its food placemat for several reasons. Some of the common reasons are it’s too close to its litter tray or just generally unhappy with the location.

Fortunately, it’s quite an easy fix by relocating it and testing to see how your cat responds. The feedback is relatively quick. It will either eat in the new location or not.

If it doesn’t, simply try a new place, test the response, and so on.

Why does my cat push its food and water bowl away from the wall?

If your cat pushes its food and water bowl away from the wall then it is a clear indication that it’s not happy with its location. Therefore, the simple solution is to either test a new place or leave it where it chooses.

I understand that the place your cat chooses may not be the best for you. Therefore, you may want to try a couple of other locations yourself and see.

Lindsey Browlingdon