Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like your cat is watching you?
When you have a feeling that your feline friend is not just there for the free meals and warm lap, but for something more?
Well, we've got a story that will have you chuckling, nodding in agreement, and awww-ing in equal measure.
Is Anyone Else's Kitty Like This?
Meet Estrella, the cat who won't eat alone. Yes, you read it right.
This adorable furball, whose story was shared by Reddit user u/Sassy_kassy84, has a unique habit.
She won't touch her food unless her human is in an eyeshot.
If her human dares to leave the room while she's having a meal, she'll follow them until they're done with their business, and then she'll continue with her meal.
This isn't a one-time thing either - it's her regular dining habit!
Cats And Their Quirky Dining Habits
Funny and adorable as it may be, Estrella's habit isn't entirely unusual among cats.
Many cat owners chimed in with their own tales of quirky feline dining habits.
Reddit user YupIzzMee shared, "We are their guardians & they are ours. Has she ever sat near the entrance to the room you're in while facing away from you?
She's watching your back. And while she is eating & vulnerable, she trusts you to watch her back."
A Compliment From Our Furry Friends
Cyanotoxic further enlightened us on this cat's behavior, "This is the truth. Small cats are prey, and they’re aware of that fact instinctively.
You’re her den mate, and she just watches out for you and trusts you for the same.
Cats are quite social, they’re just not like dogs about it, or like humans really, but they’re adaptable. It’s a compliment."
So, this behavior of cats not eating alone could be their way of saying that they trust you.
They view you as their guardian and protector, particularly when they are in a vulnerable state like when eating or using the litter box.
The Lone Diners
Of course, not all cats are the same. Introvertsdoitbetter shared, "yeah mine just eat they don't care if I'm alive or not lol."
This just goes to show how diverse and individual our feline friends can be!
The Helicopter Parents
But for some cat owners, like Bake-Plant-Sew, it's a daily routine.
"My youngest does this, and I have always suspected my older cat to do this on occasion.
But yes my youngest always starts eating then stops to come find me or my husband, then goes back to eating again."
And it's not just her. DeliciousMud7291 also shared, "Mine is the same way.
Every morning, we both go to the kitchen and she will yell at me until I stand next to her and pet her so she can eat."
Understanding 'Affection Eating' in Cats
Understanding why cats prefer to eat with their owners can help pet owners provide a more comfortable and secure environment for their feline friends.
Animal behaviorists and veterinarians often attribute cats' behavior to their natural instincts and behavior patterns.
Several factors can contribute to this behavior, and here are the primary reasons why some cats prefer to eat when their owners are present:
Feeling of Safety
Cats often feel vulnerable while they're eating because they are so focused on the food that they're not able to pay attention to their surroundings.
When you are around, your cat trusts you to watch its back while it eats. This makes them feel safer.
Domestic cats are still predators and need to know what's happening around them.
Having someone they trust nearby enables them to let their guard down and eat peacefully.
Some cats will only eat when observed because it makes them feel safer, a behavior known as "affection eating".
This is when cats are dependent on their owner's presence to eat. It is tied to their instinctual need to be on guard against potential threats while eating.
Cats can get used to routines easily.
If your cat has developed the habit of eating only when you are present, it might be because it's become accustomed to this routine and any change in it might be too big of an adjustment.
If a cat feels weak due to sickness, it may feel too vulnerable to eat alone and may prefer your presence to feel safer.
Some cats that have had traumatic early years, were separated from their mother too early, changed owners, or moved houses tend to develop separation anxiety.
These cats might need constant assurance through your presence or touch while eating.
Bond and Trust
Cats are intelligent and recognize that having you around will make them feel safer while they eat.
This is a sign of trust, indicating that you and your cat have a strong bond.
The cat knows that you won't hurt it while it’s vulnerable, and if something goes wrong, it trusts you to defend it.
Sensitivity to Changes
Cats are highly sensitive to any kind of change.
If there is a change in the environment, such as a stranger in the house, new furniture, or a noise outside, a cat might feel too frightened to eat alone.
Being with the cat during such times will help it feel safer.
Even while eating, cats are naturally cautious and always on the lookout for danger.
Different noises, both inside and outside the house, may grab the cat’s attention while it eats.
As such, it will look around to see what it is. They might look around to make sure that you are still in the room because you’re its source of comfort.
It's important to note that while being an affectionate eater can be seen as a sign of a bond, it can also make your cat too dependent on you.
This can be a problem especially if you work long hours or if you have to leave home for a few days.
It’s always good to observe your cat’s behavior and consult a vet if you notice any drastic changes or if you believe that your cat might be ill.
Strengthen Your Bond with Your Cat's Unique Dining Habits
Whether your feline is a sociable diner or prefers solo meals, these quirks are part of what makes them so endearing.
They may baffle us at times, but they add to the mystery and charm of living with a cat.
So, the next time you find your cat tailing you to the bathroom or pausing their meal to find you, remember - you might just be their trusted guardian.
In the world of cats, that's a compliment of the highest order!
Discover more about our feline friends by reading the facts below.