or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Food aggression
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Food aggression

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I rescued a kitten (5 weeks old) who had been living outside in my neighborhood. After a week at the vet's, I brought into my home with my other three adult cats. So far, all is going pretty good (down to hissing only once a day), but my problem is that the kitten is EXTREMELY food aggressive. She bites me every time I feed her, growls and hunkers down and attacks the other cats physically if they get in her way. If she is done eating, and they still have food left over on their plates, she will clean their plates as well. My cats are very well mannered, are slim and trim and I'm afraid her behavior will make them eat faster, or more than they actually want. They are intimidated by her which gets me upset. To make matters worse, she will jump on the kitchen table and take food right off my plate if I don't catch her quick enough. I've been feeding them all on individual plates, and tried both feeding them at different times during the day and/or just leaving the food out all day long. Neither calms her food aggression. I've only had her 8 days. Will she get over the food aggression? The vet says she was on the brink of starvation when I brought her in. (She was stuck in a neighbor's car engine and I believe she was separated from her mom.) Should I leave food out all day (and risk getting my other cats fat) or just stick to the schedule of feeding her twice a day like my grown cats? I also don't want her to become overweight, but I've heard that kittens have to eat more than adults. I've only rescued adult cats and do not know how to handle a kitten. My cats are so well trained and I'd hate to see their behavior change for the worse. AND, of course, I do not like to get bitten every day. (She actually sinks her teeth into me and doesn't let go!!!!)

Thanks in advance!!!!
post #2 of 9
I have had a couple of kittens act the same way and they did grow out of it. I think with time they will all adapt to each other. I wouldn't leave the food out all day. Is there any way that you can put the kitten in a different room to eat for awhile? Your older cats need a chance to get use to the new kitten also. I have 4 cats and every time I brought a new one home the older cats would be upset for awhile, but eventually got used to it. They all get along really well now.
post #3 of 9
At such a young age she really should be eating more often than twice a day. She is probably so hungry at mealtimes that she feels she has to guard her food from everyone else. Having come close to starvation probably makes it worse - how can she know that won't happen again?

Is there any way you can feed her separately from the other cats?
I would either feed her 4-5 small meals a day, or leave food down all the time where only she can get it, until she's a bit older.
post #4 of 9
I have to feed my cats in 2 separate areas or else my Hannah will eat all her food plus all of Callie's food. I used to feed Hannah shut off in a separate room and wouldn't open the door until Callie was finished and any remaining crunchies were put away. Now I still feed them in separate rooms, but I can leave the door open. Most of the time I can even leave the Callie's crunchies down and Hannah won't eat them.

You may want to prepare your baby's food, put it down, then let her in the room to eat it. Or, you could wear gloves!!

post #5 of 9
Rocket was picked up as a skinny, hungry, stray at about four months of age. At three and a half years old, he still has an obsession with food -- scarfing his own down as fast as he can and then shoving away and eating any other cat's food he can get at. So, based on my experience with him, I'd say there's a good possibility this kitten will be this way for life. I'd suggest the only solution is to do what I have to do with Rocket: put him in a room with his food bowl and close the door.

You can and should teach her not to jump up on the table and go after your food while you're eating. And also teach her not to bite. There are plenty of posts about how to do both; no need to repeat here.
post #6 of 9
I regularly take in feral kittens and many of them are very underfed. They usually are pretty psycho about their food for a while.....as a rule it seems to diminish around 12 weeks of age. I haven't had any remain that way into adulthood, so I think the statistics are in your favor. However, when she bites you, let out a loud shreak to frighten her. Also if she gets a good hold of you, push your hand into her mouth or towards her, prey will never go toward a preditor, so the cat will quickly become confused, releasing their grip, only for a matter of seconds and that's when you jerk your hand away! This works on most animals and is good to know for aggressive dogs too, cause ya never know when you might run into one.
Take care!
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone. I thought as of today, she was getting better, but its not happening!!!! I won't ever tell my friends and neighbors what she does in my house with my food or they'll never eat my cooking again! I have never had a cat as aggressive as she is. I think she is slowly learning "no," but some times the smell of food is too powerful for her. She is in my face whenever I eat, putting her face and paws on my plate, or worse yet, in the pan (sometimes hot from the oven). Its going to be a learning experience for the both of us. In all other aspects, she is a wonderful kitten, and I'd love to rescue more (I have plenty of space - the money is a little scarce, tho), but the turmoil is too much for me and my other cats.
post #8 of 9
I hear you about cats stealing food right out from under your nose... the ironic part, just as I was reading that part of the first post my kitten Tomas jumped in my lap and attempted to snatch food. My fault for eating at my computer desk.

As everyone has said, food aggression should go away. I don't think the food stealing will completely. All you can do it try to make sure everyone gets their portion and teach her to stay out of your food. I prefer to hiss if Tomas gets too persistent, but then again he's not frightened by that so he won't become scared of me. A feral might be.

A little suggestion from one scavenging cat owner to what looks to be a future one. Keep all food off your counters, if you're serving food - cover it with heavy lids or put it in the oven or microwave to keep her out. Rinse the dirty dishes before you set them in the sink so you won't find a kitten trying to help you prewash.

Oh, and since you like fostering, maybe there's a shelter or rescue group you could work with that would help with kitten food and vet cost for any fosters you're housing?
post #9 of 9
I had to laugh when you mentioned your neighbors. I have a 3 year old cat that will not eat unless I put her bowl on the table. A habit I started when she was a baby so the other 3 cats would not steal her food. I worry that cat hair may get in anything I cook although I try to keep a clean house. If people only knew they would be so grossed out! (My kids still come to eat every chance they get). I have also stopped using the word "NO" and replaced it with a little squirt from the squirt gun. Works wonders!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Food aggression