Reasons Why Your Cat Starts To Eat Then Runs Away (And How To Help!)

What are the reasons for why your cat starts to eat then runs away?

It’s a unique predicament to find yourself in. No one likes seeing their cat running away in the middle of a meal, but it is more common than you think!

It’s one of those concerns that will leave cat owners confused. It seems odd that a cat would avoid eating food and simply run away after taking a few bites. However, it does happen and it’s important to understand why.

This guide will take a look at the reasons why your cat starts to eat then runs away and how to help moving forward. You want to take action as soon as possible to ensure the cat doesn’t end up eating less than it is supposed to.

Best Raised Food Bowl for Cats (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

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Reasons Why Your Cat Starts To Eat Then Runs Away

Cats will often run away after eating due to a natural instinct to leave food behind. It’s a hunting habit where a cat will rush to its prey, take a bite, and then leave it. A cat can also exhibit the same behavior when it has been spooked.

Fear is a common concern with cats, especially in a new environment. If you are bringing in an adopted cat or moving to a new house, this may be something you notice. There’s nothing to worry about as long as you make adjustments.

There are several issues that arise when a cat starts to eat then runs away. You have to be aware of them at all times.

These issues include:

  • Not Eating Enough
  • Associating Eating with Fear
  • Becoming Territorial

Your main priority has to be to understand why the cat is running away and how often this behavior happens throughout the day. Are there triggers that are leading to this type of behavior or does it happen all the time?

When you start picking out trends, it will become a lot easier to manage.

Be diligent when it comes to understanding why a cat starts to eat then runs away. You will get a better understanding of how to manage the situation and what to avoid with your cat.

The wrong approach may put the cat in harm’s way and lead to additional concerns heading into the future.

Tips On How to Stop Your Cat From Running Away When Eating

Tip #1: Use a Raised Food Bowl

The main adjustment you need to make is to buy a raised food bowl for your cat.

A raised food bowl is great because it will help when a cat starts to eat then runs away. The reason has to do with the raised food bowl being set at the right height.

Cats don’t find it easy to eat from a regular bowl. They are too low and oddly shaped. However, a well-situated raised food bowl for cats is going to have a different effect. It is going to be easier to eat out of and is going to make the process more enjoyable.

The benefits include:

  • Easier to Eat From
  • Helps the Cat’s Digestive System
  • Keeps the Food Fresh

Take the time to find a good food bowl that is going to improve your cat’s time when it’s eating. The food will become easier to digest and that is going to make eating convenient.

Of course, cats will eat anything out of a traditional bowl, but it’s important to make these adjustments when the cat is running away.

The simple changes you make here are going to go a long way.

The cat will start to eat properly and is going to spend its time finishing the cat food. This is key when your cat starts to eat then runs away.

Cat Starts To Eat Then Runs Away

Tip #2: Stay Away When Your Cat is Eating

Let’s assume you put the food out for your cat and then wait for it to eat.

This may seem like a normal thing to do, but it doesn’t always work. In fact, this may be the absolute wrong thing to do when your cat is new to the house.

Why is that so?

It has to do with the cat wanting security in its environment before eating. If the cat doesn’t trust you enough to stay away from the food, it is going to become protective. This means either growling at you or taking a few bites and running away.

Cats may become territorial and you being nearby may activate that instinct in them.

Cats will often run away when they are fearful of their owner too.

It is going to take a bit of time to earn their trust, which means you should step aside for the first few days. Just let the cat eat in peace without you being nearby.

This will put it at ease and that is when the cat is going to eat as much as it is supposed to.

When a cat starts to eat then runs away, you always have to account for where you are. These details matter a lot in the grand scheme of things.

Tip #3: Keep the Food Bowl in an Accessible Space

Where is the food bowl being placed?

If the cat finds it difficult to eat where the food bowl is located, it may take a few bites and then run away. It is a natural reaction to either not liking the room or simply being afraid due to where it is situated.

This happens a lot when it is set up in a room that has a lot of loud noises and/or odd scents. If the cat isn’t cozy, it isn’t going to want to eat.

Of course, it will take a few bites but that is all you are going to see before it bolts.

Experts Say...
If the eating space is unclean, this may bother the cat and cause them to quickly eat and then run away.

So, what should you be looking to do?

You should be focusing on setting up the cat’s food bowl in a safe part of the house. This means an area that is going to be easy for the cat to access and it is going to be clean. This will go a long way in putting the cat’s mind at ease.

Of course, you may have to play around with where the food bowl is placed, but eventually you are going to find the right fit.

This is key when it comes to making a smart change.

Cat Starts To Eat Then Runs Away

Tip #4: Separate Food Bowls for Different Pets

Are there other pets roaming around at home? Are you giving them food at the same time in the same place?

This is a concern depending on how instinctive your cat is. In fact, a lot of cats will even protect food from their family members in the wild because it comes naturally to them. The goal is to eat first and that is only going to happen when you are protecting your hunted food.

By making adjustments to where the food bowls are placed, you are going to put the cat at ease over the long haul.

The benefits include:

  • Reduced Hoarding
  • Less Territorial Behavior
  • Reduced Anxiety

When a cat starts to eat then runs away, this means it may feel boxed in. The other pets in the household may make the cat want to protect its food and/or take as much as possible before running away.

This is not a good psychological state for the cat to be in, but it can happen.

The goal remains to move the bowls apart and have them situated in different rooms. This will make it easier for all of the pets to eat peacefully without having to look for the others.

Tip #5: Create a Routine

When a cat starts to eat then runs away, you have to focus on building a routine.

This means the cat needs to know you are going to be eating at a certain time during the day and this is never going to change.

By doing this, you are starting to build a schedule that is easy for the cat to understanding. Plus, its digestive system is also going to sync with this schedule making it hungry at the right time. As a result, everything is going to become much easier for the cat psychologically

There are multiple benefits of setting a schedule for your cat’s diet.

The benefits include:

  • Peace of Mind for the Cat
  • Consistent Feedings
  • Builds Good Habits

A lot of cat owners will randomly put out food whenever they can.

This is okay when your cat doesn’t run away as soon as it takes a few bites. With a problem like this, you are going to have to think about creating structure around the cat’s eating habits. This is the only way to make sure it doesn’t run in the opposite direction.

It is going to take a while to nail down the schedule, but it will work out in your favor.

Be focused and make sure you are paying attention to when the cat likes eating.

Final Thoughts

These are the reasons for why your cat starts to eat then runs away.

Whether it has to do with its hunting instinct or simply being fearful, the experience is always going to be the same. Your cat is going to take a few nibbles and then rush in the opposite direction as if it has been spooked.

This is a disconcerting sign and something many cat owners deal with around the world.

By figuring out why a cat starts to eat then runs away makes it easier to find a solution. The tips listed here are a great way to make sure your cat doesn’t run away when it eats.

To make your cat’s life easier, here are a few articles to go through – benefits of raising a food bowl for cats, leaving food out for a cat at night, giving Greenies to your cat at home, and using the right treats for kittens.