Why Do Cats Shake Their Heads When They Eat

Why Do Cats Shake Their Heads When They Eat?

Cats are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors that often leave us wondering about their motivations.

One such behavior that cat owners may have noticed is head shaking during mealtime.

While it may seem peculiar, there are several reasons why cats shake their heads while eating.

In this blog post, we will explore these reasons and shed light on this common feline behavior.

Reasons Why Do Cats Shake Their Heads When They Eat?

Cats may shake their heads when they eat due to the following reasons:

1. Clearing Debris

Have you ever noticed your cat vigorously shaking its head while chowing down on its food?

One possible reason for this behavior is to clear debris. Cats have sensitive whiskers and fur around their face, and during the process of eating, they can inadvertently get food particles or other debris in those areas.

By shaking their heads, they attempt to dislodge any unwanted substances and maintain their facial hygiene.

2. Cat Shake Head to Adjust Food Position

Cats have a unique way of eating. They use their tongues to lap up their food, and sometimes, they may need to adjust the position of the food in their mouths to ensure smooth swallowing.

It is not uncommon for cats to shake their heads in an effort to reposition the food in a more comfortable manner.

3. Shaking Heads to Dislodge Stuck Food

sometimes cats shake their heads to dislodge a piece of food stuck in their teeth or gums.

Cats have a tendency to use their tongues to clean their teeth, and occasionally, a particle of food can get wedged in an inconvenient spot. Shaking their heads helps them free the trapped food, providing them relief from discomfort.

4. Cats Shake Heads if They Don’t Like Food

We all know that cats can be finicky eaters. If a cat encounters something in their food that they find unpalatable or a texture they dislike, they may shake their heads as a sign of displeasure.

This behavior could be their way of expressing dissatisfaction and rejecting the offending element in their meal.

5. Shaking Head as a Habit

In some cases, head shaking while eating may simply be a habit or reflex that a cat has developed over time.

Similar to how humans might have certain idiosyncrasies during meals, cats can also exhibit behaviors that are unique to them. Head shaking might be one such behavior that some cats adopt without any specific reason behind it.


Observing our feline friends’ behaviors can be endlessly intriguing, and the head shaking phenomenon during mealtime is no exception.

While cats shaking their heads while eating is generally harmless, excessive shaking, signs of discomfort, or other abnormal behaviors could indicate underlying health issues.

If you have concerns about your cat’s behavior, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation. Understanding our cats’ behaviors helps strengthen the bond we share with them and ensures their well-being in the long run.

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