"THE SOUL OF A CAT by Margaret Benson.
It is odd that cats show an intense dislike to anything destined or set apart for them. Mentu had a basket of his own, and a cushion made by a fond mistress, but to put him into it was to make him bound out like an india-rubber ball. He liked to occupy proper chairs and sofas, or even proper hearthrugs.
In the same way, the well-bred cat has an inconvenient but aesthetic preference for eating its food in pleasant places, even as we consume chilly tea and dusty bread and butter in a summer glade. A plate is distasteful to a cat, a newspaper still worse; they like to eat sticky pieces of meat sitting on a cushioned chair or a nice Persian rug. Yet if these were dedicated to this use they would remove elsewhere. Hence the controversy is interminable."
We once had a cat that would nearly always remove his meat from the plate but fortunately only to eat it on the floor and not on any of our furniture. He (Gus) would pick up a piece of meat with his paw and put it where he wanted to eat it. Candy is a very clean eater and there is usually little mess around her dishes for which I am very grateful.
P.S. I couldn't resist the picture of this cat when I found it on Google.