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Cat with resource guarding issues. Sweet otherwise. How do I stop this?

291 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  monish
I have a male cat, he was neutered from a kitten but has always displayed some serious resource guarding issues. If he gets hold of something he shouldn't have or even just a cat toy he will sit there growling and guarding what he has. He will try his best to steal our food, he will even try to get into cupboards (which are now baby locked) to get things. If he has something he shouldn't have, he will latch on for dear life and attack us whilst we try to get it out of his grip. We have NEVER taken things that are his (toys food etc) away from him. This has been happening from a young age. Nobody has taken his toys from him or his food from him, he is always left undisturbed to eat. I've tried playing with him with cat feather toys and he will grab the end and start this behaviour. Even if you are a metre away whilst he is eating he is growling and trying to gobble it down as if we are going to pinch it.

When he isn't in this resource guarding mode he is the sweetest cat ever. Loving, confident and just an amazing cat. Can anyone help me with suggestions on how to work to stop this. Picture of my cat below. Ironically named Loki.

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Dealing with resource guarding issues in cats can be challenging, but with patience and consistent training, you can help your cat overcome this behavior. Here are some steps you can take to address resource guarding:

Understand the Behavior: Resource guarding occurs when a cat becomes possessive and protective over certain items, such as food, toys, or sleeping spots. Recognize the signs of resource guarding, which may include growling, hissing, or aggressive behavior when approached.

Consult a Veterinarian: Before implementing any training techniques, it's essential to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your cat's behavior. Your veterinarian can conduct a thorough examination and provide guidance specific to your cat's needs.

Create a Safe Environment: Ensure your cat has a calm and comfortable living space. Provide separate food and water bowls for each cat if you have multiple pets. Offer multiple litter boxes in different locations to avoid competition.

Respect Personal Space: Give your cat space and avoid approaching or disturbing them while they are eating or engaging with toys. Allow them to have uninterrupted time with their resources, which can help reduce their anxiety and guarding behavior.

Counter-Conditioning: Gradually desensitize and counter-condition your cat to the presence of people or other animals near their resources. Start by sitting near them without trying to take anything away. Offer treats or engage them with a toy while maintaining a calm and positive demeanor.

Trade-Up Technique: Teach your cat that giving up a resource results in something better. Approach them with a treat or a high-value item and gently ask them to drop what they have. Once they release the item, reward them with the higher-value treat or toy.

Positive Reinforcement: Reward your cat with treats, praise, or playtime when they exhibit non-guarding behavior. By associating positive experiences with sharing resources, you can encourage them to feel more comfortable and less possessive.

Seek Professional Help: If your cat's resource guarding behavior persists or escalates despite your efforts, consider consulting a professional animal behaviorist or a certified cat trainer. They can provide tailored advice and guidance based on your specific situation.

Remember, addressing resource guarding requires time, patience, and consistency. Be sure to approach the process with a calm and positive mindset, ensuring the well-being and safety of both you and your cat throughout the training journey.
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