Is your cat refusing to eat unless you’re next to her? Is “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?” the only question on your mind? If yes, join the club! My cats love me watching them eat, so I have done a lot of research into this strange and fascinating behavior and written this guide for other pet parents facing the same worries.
You’ll be pleased to hear that although quite concerning for cat parents, this behavior is common and shouldn’t ordinarily be a cause for concern. It is usually a sign of habit, that they love and trust you, or that they are just extremely sociable kitties. However, there is a possibility it’s down to illness.
Unfortunately, regardless of whether your cat is sick or not, this behavior can become a problem for pet owners as some cats will refuse to have food. They won’t touch it for hours during the day if they’re home alone! To help you out, below you’ll also see several tips and tricks that can help overcome the problem and have your furry friend eating again without you being there for each meal.
Reasons Why Cats Like Being Watched When They Eat
In general, cats that like being watched when they eat is not a complex matter that requires immediate help. In fact, the more difficult part of the job is getting your cat to eat without you watching her. However, it is still interesting to understand the best we can about this strange behavior, so let’s find out why these feisty fluffballs decide they cannot eat without you by their side.
1. It’s A Habit
One of the most common reasons felines prefer having a human next to them while enjoying their lunch is that it’s a strange habit. Cats are often labeled as needy, but they just develop habits like most other living creatures.
This all stems back from when our cats were tiny kittens. Pet parents raise small kittens with lots of love and affection. Many of them either feed kittens with syringes or stay right next to them to make sure they’ve eaten all the food. Some even feed their kitten while holding them in their lap or arms.
When kittens are fed in this way, they sense the love and enjoy it, and this slowly turns into a habit as they grow older. It’s the only way they know, and they’re under the impression that their humans have to be watching them when they’re having breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Some kittens will get over this habit, but some will decide to keep it and nourish it even when they’re fully grown cats.
If you haven’t had your feline since she was a kitten, maybe the breeder or her cat mom was next to her, watching and showering her with love. Routines are essential for these fluffy creatures, and they will do anything to go by them, even if that means abandoning their bowl of tasty food just because you’re not there.
Is your cat not eating much but acting normal? If so, it might be because you’re not there. Try to follow her behavior and see if she’ll eat better when you’re keeping her company. Getting your cat to abandon this eating habit can be challenging. However, it will be much easier to treat it once you recognize the problem.
2. Trust & Safety
Felines can feel fragile when having a meal because they can’t be as aware of their surroundings as usual. The fact that they’re safe at home when eating doesn’t mean much to cats because hunting and being hunted is in their nature. Way back in time, when cats weren’t domesticated, they had to be aware of their surroundings.
Your little ball of fur might be the sweetest thing in the world, but she’s still a predator. In nature, things are wild and scary, and domesticated cats still have that gene that makes them alert. In other words, the feline might be afraid or cautious about being attacked while having a meal, so she wants you to be right next to her as a safety measure.
Another reason why a cat can act fearful when eating and wants you to watch them is if something stressful happened to them at home while they were eating. For example, it can be something that scared them, the presence of another animal, things falling and making loud noises, the list goes on! In these cases, they can start relating food to shock, so they’ll want you to be there for their safety.
And when cats are fearful of their surroundings, and guess who they will turn to watch their back? Their favorite human! If your cat wants you to be by her side when she eats, it might be because she trusts you, and you’re the person who will guard her territory. Although not all furry felines will show it, they trust you unconditionally and believe that you’ll protect them no matter what. So, next time your cat refuses to enjoy her tasty meal because you’re not there, consider it a sign of trust and affection.
3. Social Eaters
Did you know that some cats are social eaters? Just like people, they don’t like sitting alone at the table and prefer to have company. And who better to be there than their beloved pet parent? Many people find this reason so strange, but it can happen quite often. Although felines are fierce predators and guardians of their territory, some are also so sociable that they want to have meals with you.
4. Want to Be Petted
Many felines want to be petted while eating, and so they need you to be by their side. Although cats are territorial, they won’t be afraid that you’ll steal their food. Instead, some of them want to get a little extra love and petting in the middle of their lunch to make it even more enjoyable.
5. Afraid Of Missing Out
Many cats won’t be bothered that you’re away from them while they’re having their lunch, but some are very sociable and will fear not being present right next to you for fun activities. Some feline breeds simply enjoy being the center of attention, and when they’re not, they get stressed out and worry.
You can notice that missing out is the reason why your ball of fur stopped eating if she’s continuously lifting her head and scanning the room to find you. And if you can’t find another answer to why that beautiful creature needs you to watch her while eating, then this might be the reason.
Cat parents that eat in the same room and during the same time their felines do often notice that their cats stop eating when humans stop eating. If you get up, go to another room, then chances are your furry friend will follow, even if she didn’t finish the meal in her bowl. You know what they say – curiosity killed the cat. They do this simply because they don’t want to miss out on what you’re doing.
This also happens in households with multiple cats. For example, if one is eating and wants your attention while having her meal but you’re not next to her, she might be worried that you and the other pet members are having fun.
6. A Sign Of Love
Cats consider you watching them eat a sign of love and affection. Although most people are under the impression that cats don’t care and aren’t affectionate towards their owners, that’s not quite the case. These impressive creatures love being pampered, and many of them enjoy you following all their steps.
Some cat breeds are often house clowns, and they crave all the attention they can get. You watching them means you love them, so they’ll feel at ease munching on their dinner. In addition, cats get lonely while they’re alone at home. If you spend many hours at work, your best friend will want to be with you even when she’s having dinner.
Although in most cases there’s no need to worry that your furry friend only eats when you watch her, there are some situations when you should be worried. For example, is your cat is throwing up food but acting normal and won’t eat unless you’re around? If so, you should consult a vet. Common vomiting is not a good sign, so always seek professional help.
Loss of appetite is another common symptom of many illnesses. People who work in cat shelters report that felines with illnesses enjoy eating from the hands of the employees and volunteers. These poor sick cats love the company and are much better at having their meals when being next to a human – a sick cat is more likely to have food when it feels the warmth of your hug or affection.
In these cases, many pet parents are so worried and that they choose to stay next to their cats when they are eating and do anything to help get their appetite back to normal. Some even feed them with syringes while the felines are on their lap to ensure they’re getting all the right nutrients they need to be nursed back to health.
What to Do if Your Cat Won’t Eat Without You Watching
Watching over your cat several times a day while she’s eating is not always an option. Imagine a feline not eating two meals in a row just because you were at work and she had no one else to watch her! Sounds crazy, right? Many cat parents get worried when they have to leave their felines alone at home because the chances are they won’t even touch their meals without being guarded.
If you’ve had this problem, you probably already know that this level of dependency is not healthy. Here are a few simple solutions that can help you change your furry friends’ habits and get her to eat without monitoring her.
1. Make Her Feel Safe
Cats can easily feel threatened or scared each time something new happens in your home. For example, bringing another cat or dog, welcoming a baby, painting the walls, and moving to a new home can all be stressful. In these cases, your beloved feline will feel insecure and stressed out.
Start by trying to find out the source of the problem and eliminating it where possible. Yes, moving back to your old house is not an option. However, you can make the new environment safer and more familiar by bringing all their beds and toys and keeping as much else the same as possible. When introducing a new pet, do it slowly, and keep them in separate rooms for a while.
If you can’t think of any changes that caused this behavior, it might be the location of their feeding station. Ensure that the bowl is in a well-ventilated, quiet room where the cat feels secure.
2. Elevate The Bowl
Another way you can help your cat feel more at ease is to elevate your cat’s bowl, which might give your cat a greater sense of security. When eating from a raised bowl, your cat has a better view over the room to spot any oncoming danger! There are many elevated bowls to choose from, so it’s an investment worth making. Besides, it might end up solving your problem and you won’t have to sit right next to her while she’s eating, making it worth every penny!
If a raised bowl doesn’t do the job, there’s another trick you can try. Place the bowl high up on a kitchen counter or your dining table. Some owners prefer to put it on the cat tree, and it works wonders. Felines love watching things from above, and they feel much more confident when they eat on an elevated surface.
4. Add More Food Bowls
A simple solution that won’t cost you a fortune is to add more food bowls around your home. It will make your gorgeous feline feel more secure, besides giving them a choice in where they can eat – choosing the place they feel the safest or that is closest to you.
Households with a single cat should place several bowls in different rooms. You can place at least one in the room where you usually stay and throw a glance once in a while. This is a great way to let your cat know she can have her food closer to you and not only in the designated area where she’s away from all the action. The extra bowls can be smaller so that they don’t take up too much space.
If you own multiple cats, it’s only understandable that you have various bowls around the house. Some pet parents have just one or two bowls, but they have to consider having at least one for each cat to minimize conflict when it comes to feeding time. The stress about getting attacked or getting their food stolen by their furry friends will be lessened, so they will be eating more often and with confidence. In addition, they won’t require your company and backup for each meal.
5. Find The Right Location
You can also try switching up the location of the bowl. Felines are predators and are always on the lookout for possible dangers. If their bowl is placed right next to a wall, they can feel trapped and refuse to eat unless you’re there to guard their back.
You’ll easily notice that your furry friend feels threatened and is stressed out because she’s facing a wall while eating. She’ll make long pauses during eating to hear what is happening around her, will lift her head to see if anyone’s around, and will look to different parts of the room.
In this case, you can try switching up the bowl location. You should practice placing the food and water bowls in quiet parts of your home, away from a wall, and in spots where you know your cat loves lounging.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
If you’ve been riddled with the question “Why does my cat want me to watch her eat?”, I hope you got all your answers. Understanding what your cat wants and why she does things can be tough, but you’ll learn a lot about their behavior with this guide.
When your cat is not eating unless you’re next to her but is acting normal, usually there is no need to worry. It is usually because they love and trust you and are feeling slightly anxious or fearful about feeding time. However, if you ever notice strange symptoms such as vomiting or complete refusal to eat, you should get in touch with a vet right away.
There are various ways to change this behavior to ensure your cat is getting all the nutrients they need. This is the bigger problem of this strange behavior, so try by finding a better bowl, playing around with the bowl placement, and elevating them to help your cat feel at ease when tucking into their dinner.