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How can i stop Milly scavanging?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone!
Our rescue kitty Milly is settling in well into the household without any major problems from our other two.
We are currently waiting to hear from the vets with the results of her poo sample as she went down with bad diharrea (sp) again over the weekend.

I am beginning to wonder if the problem lies with her obsession for food? This lastest bout coincided with her going out and disappearing for a few hours Saturday afternoon and coming back with a frog!

In the house she is terrible when im trying to cook or we are trying to eat she is constantly trying to steal food and i dont dare leave the IAMS food down like i used to before she came to us because she will just eat every single last morsle!!
We know she cant help it as she was a seizure case and it is probably the only way she ever got to eat but she is not doing her tummy (or our noses ) any favours!
Does anyone have any tips on how to help her realise that she doesnt have to do this anymore and she can now look forward to good regualar meals for the rest of her days?
post #2 of 7
It will take time and trust. Unfortunately we cannot speak to our cats to make them understand that they are safe and secure. Only our actions...will give them that security.

It will take patience on your part...you know her background and understand her feelings.
I had a kitten who was allowed to eat off their owners plates...was that annoying! Of course, he didn't know it was annoying....so whenever we ate....he had to stay in another room....he was just too persistent in jumping on the table to eat our food. I made sure he was fed his food before us...so I knew he wasn't hungry. Lots of positive reinforcement helped him to realize that our food wasn't his food. Even giving him lots of praise when he didn't jump on the table got him knowing that the floor was 'good'...and table was 'bad'. I praised him alot when he ate his own food....that was to let him know that he was doing a good thing. If he did go for our food...a sharp clap of my hands....a stern No from me, and then lifting him down....giving him hugs and praise as I placed him on the floor. You want your pet to feel good being where they're supposed to be.

For your kitty....make sure she is full after eating her food....try to pick up any crumbs, etc on the floor...and give her lots of praise and petting when she's eating. Let her know that that's good behaviour. If you are cooking and she's being whiney....either try to ignore her.....or try to go play with her....or somehow distract her and give her praise for doing the play time. When she does have your food in her mouth, or she's close to it.......simply let her know that the behaviour is wrong..by clapping or somehow letting her know that you're not happy. No hitting or spanking or yelling...that doesn't help anything. She need lots of praise and affection when she's doing the right thing...which is anything except eating your food. I'm sure she will catch on to the fact that there will always be her food when she needs it.

Good Luck...and remember...patience is the key to any behaviour modification....

Hope that helps!!
post #3 of 7
You didn't say how long you've had her. It could take months till she knows that the next meal is always there. In the meantime, you might want to consider a cat enclosure or harness/leash for outside for awhile.

And inside, put her in another room when you are cooking/eating and after let her out. Have a small treat for her when she's let out. IMO its better to have scheduled meals then free feeding adult cats, so maybe its a good thing you can't leave food out
post #4 of 7
Oh man! Does this sound familiar! LOL Hannah was like that when we first got her, and still is to some extent if we are not vigilant in watching her. If we leave food down after our other cat has finished eating, it'll be gone in no time!

Put your kitties on a feeding schedule. When it's time to eat, feed her in a separate location with the door closed. When everyone else is finished, then she can come out. Over time, you'll be able to feed her with the door open, but still in another room. As you already know, don't leave food out, people or cat food.

I put food that's defrosting or coming to room temp that might be tempting for her in the microwave or the oven with a note on the door so I don't forget it's in there and so that my husband won't freak out. Above all, be patient. When preparing dinner or whatever, you might pull a chair over so she can watch you, but you'll have to teach her to simply watch. (That's fun!! LOL) Consistency, patience, love, and positive reinforcement will win the day.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your great replies and tips
She has only been with us for 3.5 weeks bless her so she is doing well really for the amount of time we have had her. I know that it is going to take alot of time to undo the 2 yrs of hardship that has been her little life so far but she is getting plenty of love now and i know in time she will start to pick up the household skills.
With regard to making sure she is full after she has eaten how can i tell if she is full and trying her luck or if she is genuinley still hungry? She has suffered wth diahrrea since we have had her hence why the vets are testing her poop, we have gone down the change of food route etc...
post #6 of 7
I have no clue how to tell if they're full except to measure their food portions. I feed a specific amount of food to each cat daily. Then it's doled out to them in portions at set times throughout the day. If I cut back serving amounts (because my foraging kitty is getting too plump), she'll start foraging again. It calms down after a few days when she realizes she's not going to starve and that she'll have food when she's hungry. Of course, she thinks she should get fed everytime you walk in the door!!

If she's got diarrhea problems, that might be contributing to the foraging since she's not able to hold anything in and get the nutrients from the food. If you've changed food on her too suddenly, that could be the cause of the diarrhea, or at least contributing to it. If she'll eat it, feed her a little bit of plain canned pumpkin, about 1 teaspoon or so. I think you can also feed some plain yogurt to help with the diarrhea issue as well.

The important thing is to keep everything away from little paws. You may have to put kid-proof locks on your cabinets to keep kitty out of the food and such. We put everything up and out of the way of kitties in our house!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Millys poop tests have come back all clear so now the elimination process begins!
The RSPCA were feeding her James Wellbeloved Turkey & Rice which upset her tummy we have tried her on IAMS and also IAMS Natures Wellness which is what our boys eat and that also upset her tummy. Does anyone have any good suggestions for food available here in the UK to try her on? I will be calling our vet back on Tuesday to see what ideas she has come up with as she is away until then. Also is it worth giving pro biotic yogurt a go? If so what sort?
Thank you xx
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