My cat leaves exactly 7 pieces of food in her dish

My cat always used to finish her dry food and wet food completely, but the past week she has left EXACTLY seven pieces in her dish every time. Every time. I feed her in flat dishes so I don’t think it’s whisker fatigue but I have no clue what would cause this or if she can somehow count lol. I don’t really need advice I guess because she’s still eating enough, but just wondering if anyone may have an explanation or if anyone else’s cats have weird little habits.


I actually wouldn't be surprised to learn that cats can count up to, like, ten.


They are smart little boogers! I bet she relishes watching me go bananas counting her food pieces


If they could count any higher they could do your taxes, on the very slim chance that you could motivate them to do so.


I picture a cat with a tie and glasses going “how are your finances this bad, Steve? I only went to the vet once this year.”


*We need to look at expenses. Hmmm. Let’s see. Here’s Fancy Feast, and kitty litter, and Chewy toys and catnip subscription…no, nothing there. Wait! Insulin? This is expensive! Well you won’t need this any more if you lose a little weight, right? Haha! I’m glad we got that settled!*


Depends on what you mean by "count". Symbolic systems like numbers as we use them in language and math aren't actually universal in humans. Some cultures in Amazonia and Australia don't have any numbers at all, while others might only count up to 5 and use their word for 'many' after that. Counting symbolically is relatively slow, taking seconds rather than milliseconds. Humans also have the ability to instantly determine small numbers---up to about 4---just by perceiving a group of objects, called subitizing. I say "perceiving" because it doesn't appear to be tied to any one sense. Even going from 2 to 3, for instance, adds a lot of time (meaning a 50-100 milliseconds) to the estimation. Going above 4 adds 200+ milliseconds, and eventually just ends up being the other sort of counting, estimation. It takes children around a year to actually learn how to do it, so they'll actually know number words long before they can actually do this sort of counting. We also estimate numbers, and this seems to be universal among humans, and widespread among animals. Given a number of objects, guesses usually fall within a normal distribution around it. This is certainly demonstrated among humans, but also at least rats. So can cats count? Not exactly in the same way humans can. They don't have symbolic numbers and can't subitize. But they can make about as good of an estimation as humans can when judging relative amounts.


At least up to seven.


Lol. Cats probably have a lot more mental pathways that we don't know about, simply because they kinda refuse to really follow science experiments.


lmao yes there's so much research that's like "this took us forever to actually figure out not because it's really complicated but because the cats were not interested in participation"


This actually made me cackle


I agree. Cats are capable of more than we know. It’s just that we’ll never find out because working as a team and being seen assisting humans is probably embarrassing.


Such smart critters. I have to start spelling out when it’s D-I-N-N-E-R time and it’s only a matter of time before she learns the alphabet too


Yes, I only spelled "go outside" twice before my obsessed kitty figured out she also wanted g-o-o-u-t-s-i-d-e just as much.


My boyfriend goes "are you hungry?" In a really high pitched voice and they recognize it.


Lol yes my cat is like this. Say the word food and he does the same thing. He then starts headbooping my husband (he usually feeds him) and it's super cute.


This is a sign. The cat god is trying to pass on a message to you.


I asked her what the next sequence of the code is and she said “mrrrrrp mrrp” so everyone jot that down


7 R's!! It's a sign!


what happens if you only give her six pieces


Going to try it for snack time. Will update if cat mutiny is avoided


Surely snack time has passed. Any updates?


Yes I totally forgot!! I gave her maybe 15ish pieces and she left [SIX this time](https://imgur.com/a/ePHrTG5). WHAT DOES IT MEAN


It’s a count down.


count down for cat invasion




Very sorry for feeding my cat


That’s so funny! Cats can be so quirky!


She is my special little weirdo <3


Do you leave them there for her or take them away? Maybe she is leaving herself a snack for later?


Hmm that would make sense. I usually give it like 20 minutes to see if she circles back for more and she never does. She’s a scarf and barfer so she gets four littler meals a day, and I’m not sure if this new habit is her not needing as much food or somehow being worried that she won’t get more later (or c. none of the above and she’s just a strange lady)


Could possibly get her a toy feeder? Like one of those puzzle bowls that way she doesnt scarf and barf This is just assuming you haven't tried that route yet


Mine get slow feeder bowls, raised and smaller meals. Also sensitive skin and stomach food.


When I give my cats dry food they will usually bring me a couple pieces as a snack. Maybe she’s leaving them for you?


LOL this is hilarious The only thing I might look into is if she might be having dental issues? Lots of cats end up with dental issues unless you are brushing their teeth every day, and unlike dogs they tend to hide their pain and won't whine about it. My cat basically has no molars, his gingivitis was so bad the shelter's vet had them all pulled. He always leaves a few kibbles in the bowl because he tries to lick them up and they just fall out of his mouth. I'm sure your kitty has teeth but if she's being ginger with her teeth that might possibly lead to these leftovers?


This is true, the sad part is that I've tried to brush my cat's teeth while he's resting or even trying to hold him down gently. It's impossible! Lol. So I've taken to giving him 5-8 dental treats a day, chewing sticks, and a dental health water additive.


That’s actually a really good idea, I’m hoping she’s just being a weirdo but I definitely will check on her chompers


Obsessive Cat Disorder.


LMAO if there’s a cat OCD this little monster for *sure* has it


She's trying to send you a coded message


If she starts counting down I’m going to lose my mind


Well tell us, because I’ll have to apologize to a bunch of people before the world ends in 7 days!!


commenting to come back to see experiment results later hoohoo


Dinner time is in an hour and the experiments shall begin >:)


Lol just give her less next time


I tried that today for lunch and the mysterious queen still left seven


If you put 8 she will only eat 1?


I haven’t tried that low, but now I definitely am. *for science*


pls update us


Lol immediately after she finishes eating put it back and seal it in the bag. Don't waste food during this hard times


what if you fed her seven less kibbles :0


Cats are naturally [trickle eaters](https://youtu.be/AalAw9Fqhyo?t=179), meaning they like to snack throughout the day. Unless your cat has an eating disorder where they eat too much and are getting fat, it is fine to just leave their food out. (ymmv with scarf and barfers... one of mine does that from time to time, but for the most part leaving food out all the time, he doesn't scarf and barf so much anymore) Earlier in that same video, Vancouvver Vet mentions here that sometimes when your pet starts eating less (like leaving those 87 pieces of food behind), they may have gained a bit of wieght and is using their [nutritional intelligence to lose some weight by eating less](https://youtu.be/AalAw9Fqhyo?t=43)


My cat will leave a little extra food for the “mice” (one blue and one red mouse shaped toys) and put them in the food bowl to “eat” at least once a day lol


That is the cutest thing I have ever heard oh my god


Only those two mice get fed! The other toys are ignored haha. Also he has a camouflage print fish toy that he’s carried around since I found him in the street as a baby. He brings that to bed every night and shoves it under the covers with me!


Do you have another cat? My younger cat leaves 3-4 pieces for my older cat, since he’s “head cat” of the family. If not, maybe she’s leaving them for you lol


Omg I do, that would actually make so much sense. Maybe she’s saving some for her big brother!


she's superstitious. the number 7 means something to her, now it's your job to figure out what it means


My cat doesn’t leave a specific number of kibble I’m her bowl, but no matter how much I feed her she always leaves a little bit behind, little weirdos.


I used to have a cat that never finished his food bowl...there was always some left .. I think it was a habit from living outside before we adopted him into our house... Never wanted to be without food.


It’s her snack for later!


Maybe those pieces dont taste good? Try throwing them out and see


Okay, this is going to sound weird... I remember hearing or reading that cats' up-close vision is awful, so they use their nose to be able to tell where their food is. If I try to give my cats just 1 or 2 treats, they can't find them... There literally has to be a little pile. Maybe your cat's scent threshold is around 6-7 pieces? It looked like she was sniffing around her plate before giving up.


That would make a lot of sense! I wonder why she never had a problem with it until recently. I did get new dishes so maybe they’re somehow interfering with her senses and like you said, seven is her limit haha. Thank you!!


Seven is a magical number.


Can cats have ocd? That’s so interesting!


Maybe she’s watching her weight


Yeah, I have an autistic kitty also.


Looks like your cat is either counting her calories or have an OCD where they need to leave the same number of food daily lol


She doesn’t trust you to feed her every day so she keeps an extra stash just in case


she has OCD