An affection eater is a term used to describe a very interesting behavior in some cats. Sometimes this behavior can be concerning and confusing, so let’s look at what this behavior looks like and how to help.

An affection eater is a cat that enjoys being pet or receiving attention while eating. This behavior can be seen in cats who may not always seek out affection but will appreciate and even request it during mealtime. Some affection eaters may even require hand-feeding, while others will completely refuse food if their owner isn’t nearby.

It’s not fully understood what causes this behavior in some cats. Mealtime for cats is a vulnerable time, so it’s possible they need to feel the safety and security of their owner in order to eat. Other theories include the possibility that a cat may have been weened too early or was not socialized as a kitten.

Whatever the cause, this behavior can be concerning and confusing. Initially, many cat parents wonder if their cat is ill because they won’t eat their food. They usually realize pretty quickly that their cat’s appetite is actually fine… Just as long as they stay close while they eat. Worth noting that if this behavior starts suddenly, it’s important to get a wellness exam to make sure there’s not an underlying health issue.

A few things that can help an Affection Eater:

Feed from a plate or platter. Cats will be more comfortable eating if they can better sense their surroundings. Feeding from a bowl reduces their peripheral vision and can cause whisker stress.

Feed in a safe location. Especially in multi-pet household, feeding in a safe location – away from other pets and people – can help increase their sense of security.

Gradually increase independence. Once a comfortable and safe feeding location has been establish, slowly start distancing yourself. Start stepping away once the dish is down, and a few pets have been given.

Patience and compassion is important for affection eaters. Take the time to better understand your cat help build your their confidence. This will increase your bond and make mealtime less stressful for you both.

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