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Hi,

Tesla and Indie are both 2 and half months old stray feral kittens, both are eating Nature's Variety canned food four times daily with no dry food. They have a clean bill of health from the Vet. We leave in a two story house, where the Kitchen, dinning room, and living room is upstairs with the bedrooms and family rooms downstairs. Tesla and Indie are only allowed upstairs under our supervision, since we have too many stuff to kitty proof upstairs (Slowly we are doing it). They run all around downstairs and have made the family room into their personal play room, while coming to sleep on our bed. Majority of the time we eat at the dinning room upstairs, while the Tesla and Indie play downstairs. However, the problem starts when we bring dinner downstairs to eat and watch a movie in the family room. Both of them start begging to eat our food. Also, they start chasing and jumping to reach our plates. The only solution that has worked for us so far is to lock them in one of the bedrooms for 45 minutes, while we finishing eating our food. I hate the idea of locking them up in the room, plus I don't want them to always beg when they see people eating food.

Ideas We Tried to Stop the Begging:

We first tried to feed them some wet food just as we were seating down to eat in the family room. It only worked until they finished their wet food, therefore only a few minutes. Then we let them near our food to smell it hoping they wouldn't want it, since they should be full. It only worked for Tesla, but Indie would still try to eat the food in our plate, even if there was only rice and vegetables on the plate. He even once jumped straight up three feet and took a bite from jalapeno pineapple pizza.

Is there any other methods I can try to make them stop begging for our food?
 

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Well... I say just ignore it. My cat does it and sometimes I'll give him something sometimes I won't. If I ignore him long enough he'll sit down next to me and stare like he's dying. Better than begging though.

Or take him out of the room during.
 

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My two did that when they were about the same age as your kittens and eventually grew out of it. Try feeding them at the same time or throwing toys, and if that doesn't help, putting them in the bedroom until dinner is over is fine. As they get older, they should stop.


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If you figure out the answer, let me know. I remember the joys of holding my plate up in the air to keep a kitten from diving headfirst into it. They do get better as they get older. The water bottle is a good deterrent, but it doesn't always completely do the trick. Teaching NO is important to do right now. THey can learn NO. With cats, it takes about 1000 times before they actually will start to listen to NO, but they can understand it. NO with the water, or a clap of hands, keep doing it, keep it to the simple NO, don't use other words, that just confuses them when you freak out and start saying other things. They will get it. And then hopefully get to the point, like my cats, where they will just sit and stare at you while you eat. They don't do it to me, because I dont' feed them from my plate, but my husband does, so he has 3 little faces, two of the cats and my dog, staring at him, waiting for their little tid bits he will give them (if it is something safe for them only). But if you don't want them to do that, don't start it. My cats no it is a lost cause to beg from me, I ain't giving anything, so they don't do it, but they know hubby is a pushover, so they stare and beg.

If all else fails, you may need to do what we did, and that is, put the kitties up while we are eating. Put them in a room and listen to the pitiful mews that will tell you that they are dying and going to expire at any moment. We did that until Stephano was big enough to get NO and that combined with the water bottle, and he got better, and we no longer have to put him up during mealtimes. We do have to make sure eveyrthing on the stove is covered, or he willjump up there and try to eat anything super appealing to him. He was a stray, and he will probably never lose that thing where he feels that he needs to constantly hunt for food.

You don't usually have to use the water bottle very much, once they know they will get that, usually it is enough to shake it at them or just show them, and they get it, with just the ocassional reminder of what it will do to them if they cross the line.

One of the many joys of cats :)
 

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Yes, ignoring them is a good start. If they are climbing on you to get to the people food, then remove them and place them on the floor with a firm NO!. Do this a few times then lock them in another room until you finish your meal. Ignore any loud whining they do. It will take time, but if you are firm and consistent they will get the message to get down and stay down or they'll be locked away. I really can't blame them for wanting the pineapple pizza! That is one of my favorites!

Mine will just sit near us and politely wait for a tidbit - they don't meow or climb and if they try they get the firm NO! which works very well with the adults.
 

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I have been lucky in not having cats who begged while I was eating. Mystique, however, is definitely a kitchen beggar but seems to wander off when I actually sit down to eat. I think she associates the kitchen with the tidbits, which I guess is better than the other scenario. I think the thing is to definitely remain consistent with your two - if you give in once and give them something from your plates you will have lost the battle lol.

My dog that I had when I was younger, on the other hand, was a terrible beggar because my mother thought it was cute and would always feed him from the table. He was like howsefrau's cats though - he never begged from me because he knew he wasn't going to get anything.
 

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I'll rent you my wife and she will cure them.

Our newest member who came from outside was a bit more aggressive during our eating which we do upstairs in our bedroom usually with the cats on the bed if they happen to be around. (she is using oxygen and spends more time upstairs and I cook and bring a tray up and we eat together and watch tv usually.)

Anyway, I commented that Annie is not as aggressive about begging and she said, "she learned the stick:" and held up the 18" wooden back scratcher she has. "You hit them?" ""No," she said, "but a thump now and then or usually I just push her back a bit." Anyway, all she does now is show Annie the scratcher and Annie waits for a handout like the others.

Takes a little time, maybe split the two up during lessons. CC used to respect the water squirt bottle cause he hated water. Sometimes I would point my finger and make the swish sound and he would stop and look or quit picking on smaller Kermit.

time and patience.
 

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Funny, but of the 4 cats I have and 1 I lost.....nobody ever begged for my food. Could mean they think my choice of food sucks....which is fine by me (what cat would turn up it's nose at asparagus????) BUT, Samson can be asleep in a far away room and if I so much as move a potato chip bag (make that crinkly sound) he will come running at a dead run and sit and stare at me. He's very polite and because he is so adorable I usually will give him the equivalent of one chip in pieces. He likes the salt and the crunch. This only happens about once a week. Probably good that he does that because it keeps me out of the chips (which I don't need) too!
 

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Mine never begged for food until I gave him a small piece of something. From then on he begs occasionally. My friends 9 year old cat also never begged for food until one day I gave him a piece of chicken from a subway sandwich. She always thanks me for that :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone for you advice. I feel a slight sense of relief thinking maybe they will grow out it. I will just stay consistent about not giving them food, when I eat. Also, I will separate them during dinner time and work on saying "bad Tesla" or "bad Indie" individually. If there is only one of them hopefully, I can keep them from climbing on top of us. My gut tells me if I can stop Indie from begging, Tesla will stop naturally. If all else fails, at least I know putting them in the bedroom during dinner time is fine. It just the way both of them start meowing in the bedroom, I feel like as if I am torturing them.
 

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Mine never begged for food until I gave him a small piece of something. From then on he begs occasionally. My friends 9 year old cat also never begged for food until one day I gave him a piece of chicken from a subway sandwich. She always thanks me for that :) :)
oh man, I bet!!

I know I could wring my DH's neck for ruining the sprogs, Belle & Sadie!
He did the same with B.B., years ago. To this day she goes straight to him and begs. DH thinks he's popular lol ..yea

Sadie and Belle WERE well on their way to being very well behaved young ladies! I was so proud of them THEN, while feeding B.B. some table food, he called over the sproglets!! omg ... and of course they went, and inhaled whatever it was. NOW, they think they can come to me, sit in front of me, look 'like they are dying' and I'm going to give in... NOT.

I hate it, but I have to do the "meanie mummy' bit till they learn I don't supply that kind of food. (walks off groaning and fussing):cussing
 

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work on saying "bad Tesla" or "bad Indie" individually.
I would just stick with 'No' - you don't want to associate their name with negativity. They might not necessarily know their names yet, I know, but still I would just keep it simple. If just 'No' doesn't seem to work, try 'No' with a loud handclap, or some people shake a can of pennies or something loud that will startle them a bit and reinforce it.
 

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My cat (Smokey) and older kitten (Gremlin) understand the "no" when we eat, but if we turn our back during food preparation, Gremlin can not be trusted. She stole a whole brand new stick of butter yesterday after we threw away half a stick that she licked the day before. She also got into some peas after the stolen butter was thrown out. This was right after I fed her to distract her from the food preparation. Now I have to put her in the bathroom when we prepare food. :(

I have no issue with begging. I just wish Gremlin wouldn't be so sneaky. She knows that what she is doing is wrong cause she looks so guilty and runs away when she is caught on the table, or even worse, hiding under the table on a chair, ready to snatch something as soon as someone isn't watching.
 

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One of the things I enjoy about cats is that they all have such different personalities and behaviors.

Our Kermit sits on the bed and watches us eat off of our tv type trays..(wife is copd and spends most time upstairs so we eat up there after I cook it). Anyway he will sit politely and so will Marble now. Annie, our new member usually doesn't show up.

Kermit, if he gets impatient will reach out slowly with his paw, extend his claws and gingerly hook a morsel off a plate. Usually, he gets a 'no' and is given a morsel but sometimes we just watch how carefully he can maneuver a morsel with a single claw.

We spoiled him but we think in a good way because he is so laid back and just wants to be near us.....only once a night he wants some personal attention, usually facials from me, and then lays at the foot of the bed.
 

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Marcia said it, "firm and consistent". I had a sprayer handy and now Lamb Chop knows better but still that primal instinct is there. I NEVER feed her from my plate or hand. If she keeps trying to sneak up on it. (usually a cat will try 3 times from different directions to get their prey.) I spray her. Now at 5 months old she rarely comes to check it out. All I have to do is reach for the sprayer and she is gone in a flash. Faster even. LOL
 

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I've found out,it's not just WHAT you're eating-setting is also a factor. Robin doesn't go for human food,and if I'm at the table,he'll leave me alone. But,if I'm eating in front of the T.V.,he'll bug me for whatwever I'm having-he doesn't eat it,he just bugs me and sniffs it. I guess it's the proper time to beg?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi Everyone,

Just thought I would update everyone on the progress with Tesla and Indie. I have started to use a firm "No" with a clap, which seems to make them stop begging for a few minutes, but then they start back again. However, when I separate them I have noticed that Tesla or Indie, which ever one is in the room with our food will stop begging within a few minutes if we don't give them food. It's a little progress from last week, but at least they are not trying to climb up on us anymore. Also, if I have to put them in the our bedroom during dinner they no longer beg from the the room. I guess they learned that if we locked them in the room, it is not opening until we are done eating. The fact they are not constantly meowing from the room is great because now we can eat in peace without feeling guilty. I used the spray bottle on both of them one day for begging for food, but I felt so guilty seeing them scared and running to there hiding spot I haven't had the heart to use it again. Hopefully, I can teach them without the spray bottle for now.
 

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Dad, they are at the point now where you don't have to hit them with the spray ....you could even set it to mist . I think once they see the bottle in your hand, the message is out there. With CC, it got so all I had to do was say his name and point my arm out (with out a spray bottle) and go "swish" and he would alter his behavior. Which was usually getting too rough with the kitten Kermit.
 
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