Any solutions for getting a cat to stop begging for food? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Any solutions for getting a cat to stop begging for food?

Hello all,

Well, my name is savoirfaire, which in French, means "know-how". Well, ironically, I know nothing about how to deal with my kitten, and her never ending list of trouble making problems. I'm rolling them out every few days so as not to overwhelm this forum.

Today's topic, is trying to steal my food. Now, let me start out by saying I have NEVER EVER given her a scrap of my food. The only "human" treats I have ever given her are tiny pieces of cheese that I was putting a little pill into when I first got her (she loves cheese), and I gave her a couple of kernels of popcorn when she was very young (she liked them alright, but more recently throwing a kernel or two and all she does is bat it around).

So, anyway, she is 5 months old now, I got her at around 10-11 ish weeks old. and yeah, Every time I am in the kitchen, she is meowing and begging for food. I feed her premium wet food (usually Wellness or comparable brands), and she has premium dry food (wellness kitten), all the time for snacking, which she isn't crazy about, but munches on every now and then.

So she jumps on my leg and meows, and leans on the cupboards whenever I try to make stuff. Then when I actually eat my meal at the kitchen table, she jumps up on my lap and constantly tries to get on the kitchen table and shove her face into my food. Usually when I try and touch her she acrobats her face away from my hand or runs away and hides like I'm a serial killer, but when I'm eating and I push her face away from my food she just tries to push back.

In any given meal she jumps on my lap 3 or 4 times to steal my food. My general way of dealing with her before is as follows:

1) Kitchen: Ignore her. If she persists, I pick her up and put her in front of her food dish, and walk away. Success rate: 0%, she just comes back into the kitchen.

2)Table: If she jumps on my lap, let it happen. If so much as a paw goes on the table, pick her up and put her on the floor. If she stays on my lap but leans over my plate with her face, put her on the floor.

Success rate: 5% on first put down, 50% on second put down, 75% on third put down. However, this has in no way deterred her from trying to get at my food every day.

I have been "training" her that she doesn't get to eat my food for two and a half months now, and she hasn't even slightly reduced her attempts at stealing it. Any suggestions from anyone? I just want to eat in peace.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 03:46 PM
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I have the same problem, we realized when neko and gato were young that they hate foil and we used it to line the kitchen counters and the table edges to teach them not to try to get up there and it worked but now that the foil is gone... they will on occasion hop up on the counters. They will NEVER do it when we're around and you'll never catch them but like the other day I was making burgers and I went to the bathroom and when I got out I was missing a burger.... It was lying on the floor next to the cheese which had been stripped off. They didn't eat even a nibble of it but they apparently jumped up onto the counter drug my burger off the hot stove, drug it into a corner, pealed the cheese off... and left the cheese and meat sitting there untouched...

Neko and Gato will also beg like you described, when I'm cooking they will meow none stop at my feet, even Gato who is a very nonvocal kitty! They'll paw at my legs and follow me around the whole time!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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My cat is driving me nuts with her counter climbing, but I've pretty much given up on it. I just leave no food out. But if I'm in another room, and I go to check on her (she has a little bell on her collar that gives me cues to what she's doing), as soon as I get up I will hear a thud and she will be staring at me in the hallway. If I rush out to the hallway I will often catch her frozen on the counter or jumping off, and she KNOWS it's wrong but does it anyway. Sometimes she jumps on the counter when I'm in the same room but distracted, and if I notice her, and make a noise, ANY NOISE, she high tails it off.

But that's a totally different subject. We're talking about food begging here.

Last edited by marie73; 12-02-2011 at 10:47 PM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 03:56 PM
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I've said it before, foil. tape it to the edge of the counter with about four inches hanging off. Cats hate the noise and the texture. Neko and Gato don't go up nearly as often as they used to! But when they do... like you said I'll come in and see neko jump down and she'll bolt and try to hide because she knows she did something wrong!

Last edited by marie73; 12-02-2011 at 10:47 PM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 04:17 PM
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Mia used to try to get at food I was making or eating a few months ago (She's 6 months old now). I always put her down when she would try and give her my serious voice (uh oh)telling her down. She doesnt like having my voice raise. After a while she just stopped doing it I believe because I was consistant. She NEVER got to sit on my lap or get on the counter when I cooked. She does get on the counters at times but not when cooking.

It sounds as if your cat might be hungry. Maybe you should try giving her a food she likes sat out all the time (you said she is not fond of wellness dry).I have changed food before just to find one that Mia likes really well. She has food sat out always. She regulates herself pretty goo to. She was eating a total of 2/3 cup in 24 hrs. but that has changed this last week. I think she has hit a growth spurt. Now she eats a tad more.

Hope you find something that works for both of you.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 04:24 PM
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Have you tried feeding kitten at the same time you eat?

At home we all eat at the same time. I put the kitten in his room with his food and shut the door (so MowMow doesn't eat his food) and then MowMow and I eat in the living room (him on his little cat condo). Once I'm done and the kitchen cleaned up (kitten is a counter surfer) I let him out. MowMow joins me when he's done but he's very polite and I don't mind sharing with him. I do usually save Book little bit of what I had and he gets it after everything is cleaned up.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 06:33 PM
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At 5 mos., your kitten is in a growth spurt, so you should be feeding him several times a day as much as he will eat (most cats will stop eating when they're full, but occasionally you get a piggy one that won't!). I agree with MowMow, feed him at the same time you are eating. If he still won't stop mooching, put him in a separate room until you finish your meal. As for counter-surfing, I've found Ssscat! an effective deterrent.

Ssscat Automated Cat Deterrent - Repellents - Cat - PetSmart
check around, prices vary.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 08:36 PM
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What does that Ssscat spray spray out? I'm thinking of maybe getting it to keep my dog out of the trash but don't want anything that will irritate him if it get in his eyes or nose. I don't want anything with an odor as he is easily irritated by odors, I just really want it for the noise.


As for stealing food, I have no idea except persistence, maybe short timeouts (but make sure you have specific criteria for what earns a time out or else she'll never figure it out). Or switch her to meals and feed when you are making food, if you are feeding kibble maybe feed out of some sot of food dispensing toy so she takes longer.


If you want to go the training route you could teach her to sit in a specific place (on a cat tree or small rug) while you make food and eat by tossing her food when she stays there. But that could also be opening up a huge can of worms lol.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 09:54 PM
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Sinatra begs for food. To get him to stop I just give him some.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 10:28 PM
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We put the kittens in another room when we eat. When they're not there begging, Jack,the older cat, and Ripley (the dog) pretty much leave us alone.

Counter surfing is another issue
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