Why Do Cats Want You To Watch Them Eat? Reasons Explained!

As cat owners, we are all familiar with the odd behaviors our feline friends can exhibit, but have you ever noticed their peculiar behavior when it comes to mealtime? Many cats have a tendency to stare at their owners while they eat, or even demand that their owners watch them eat. But why do cats want us to watch them eat?

Is it simply their instinctual behavior, or is there something more to it? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior, signs that your cat wants you to watch them eat. Understanding this unique aspect of our cats’ behavior can help us strengthen our bond with them and provide them with the care they need.

Reasons Why Cat What You to Watch Them Eat

Cats are known for their independent and aloof nature, but they also exhibit unique behaviors that can be quite endearing to their owners. One such behavior is their desire for their owners to watch them eat. While this behavior may seem odd, there are several reasons why cats want us to watch them eat.

  • Instinctual Behavior: Cats, as natural predators, may display similar behaviors when eating in a domesticated environment that they would in the wild, this includes wanting to be watched during their meal. This is likely because it allows them to show off their hunting skills and feel secure within their pack or family.
Cat Going To Have Food
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  • Seeking Approval: Cats often look to their owners for approval and attention, and eating is a major part of their daily routine. Providing positive reinforcement by observing them while they eat can help to bolster their confidence and security.
Cat Seeking Approval
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  • Bonding: Mealtime is a social activity for cats, and they often seek to share this experience with their owners. By watching their owners eat, cats may feel more connected to them and view them as part of their social group. This bonding experience can strengthen the bond between cat and owner and provide a sense of comfort and security for the cat.
  • Health concerns: Sometimes, cats may have health issues that affect their appetite or ability to eat. In such cases, they may want their owners to watch them eat to ensure that they are eating properly and to provide any necessary support or assistance. Watching their cat eat can help owners detect any potential health issues and address them promptly.
  • Territory marking: Cats are territorial animals, and mealtime is one way they mark their territory. By eating in front of their owners, cats may be marking their territory and indicating that they view their owners as part of their social group. This behavior can be particularly pronounced in multi-cat households, where cats may compete for resources and may use mealtime as a way to assert their dominance.
Cat Marking Territory
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  • Training: Cats can be trained just like dogs, and watching them eat can be an opportunity for owners to reinforce positive behavior. By watching their cats eat, owners can provide verbal praise, treats, or toys as positive reinforcement for good behavior. This can help cats develop better eating habits and make mealtime a more positive experience.
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What To Do If Your Cat Won’t Eat Unless Your Watching

If your cat has developed a habit of not eating unless you are watching, there are several steps you can take to address this behavior:

  • Keep a Routine: Establishing a regular feeding schedule can help your cat develop a routine around mealtime, which can reduce their anxiety around eating. Stick to the same time and location for feeding and ensure that your cat has a consistent supply of fresh water.
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  • Encourage Self-Feeding: Provide your cat with dry food that they can graze on throughout the day. This can help your cat feel more in control of their eating habits and reduce their dependence on you being present at mealtime.
  • Seek Veterinary Assistance: If your cat’s refusal to eat is causing concern, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. They can assess your cat’s health and provide guidance on how to encourage eating habits.
Cat Consulting Vet
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  • Provide Comfort and Attention: Sit with your cat while they eat and provide comfort and attention. Offer verbal praise or gentle stroking to reinforce positive behavior and help your cat feel more relaxed and secure while eating.
  • Seek Behavioral Training: If your cat’s behavior is related to anxiety or stress, seeking behavioral training may help. A professional trainer can help you identify the root cause of the behavior and provide guidance on how to modify it.

Signs That Your Cat Wants You to Watch Them Eat

According to healthy journal, “While every cat has a different personality, the general signs of separation anxiety in felines are: Excessive meowing, crying or moaning.” Cats have their own unique ways of communicating with their owners, and there are several signs that your cat may want you to watch them eat:

Cat Staring
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  • Staring: While eating, cats may stare at their owners or approach them, which can be a sign that they desire their owner’s attention and approval.
  • Vocalization:Cats may meow or purr during mealtime to communicate their desire for attention, and they may vocalize again once finished eating in order to get acknowledgment from their owner.
  • Nudging: At mealtime, cats may nudge their owner’s hand or leg to gain attention and approval, especially if they have a strong bond with their owner.
  • Refusal to Eat: Cats may refuse to eat if their owner is not present or if they feel uncomfortable or anxious while eating. If your cat refuses to eat unless you are watching, this can be a sign that they want your attention and approval.
  • Body Language: Cats may exhibit body language that indicates their desire for attention while eating. They may arch their back or lift their tail, indicating that they feel comfortable and secure in the presence of their owner.
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Is it normal for cats to want their owners to watch them eat?

Yes, it is not uncommon for cats to exhibit behaviors that indicate their desire for their owner’s attention during mealtime.

Why do cats sometimes refuse to eat?

As per IcatsCare, ” When cats are not feeling well or stressed they may suffer from a lack of appetite.” Cats may refuse to eat for various reasons, including anxiety or stress, illness, dental issues, changes in diet or routine, or environmental factors.

Can I train my cat to eat without me being present?

You can train your cat to become comfortable and secure while eating alone by developing a regular feeding routine, keeping the food in one spot, and gradually increasing the amount of time they spend eating without you.

Should I be concerned if my cat wants me to watch them eat?

Not necessarily. However, if your cat’s behavior is causing concern or disrupting their eating habits, it may be worth seeking veterinary assistance or behavioral training to address the issue.

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In conclusion, cats are amazing creatures that possess special traits and methods of interacting with their owners. It may seem strange to some pet parents when their kitty wants them to watch as it eats, but this is a regular occurrence that can be an indication of a close relationship between cat and owner. If your cat does this, ensure you give it enough attention and care while eating so they have a sense of security. With patience, understanding, and proper handling techniques you can assist your feline friend in forming healthy feeding habits while simultaneously strengthening the bond between them both.

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  1. Oliver, W. (2023, March 3). Why Do Cats Want You To Watch Them Eat? Reasons Explained! – CatNeedsBest. CatNeedsBest – Because Pet Parents Love Them. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.catneedsbest.com/why-do-cats-want-you-to-watch-them-eat/

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