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I want my afternoons back!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My cats have severe hunger issues. Every day (if I am there), around 3PM, Kjartan (the fat one), starts yowling for food non-stop. Normal dinner time is 6PM. He is incredibly pushy and aggressive, not to mention annoying. At most I can get a minute or two of respite by menacing him with the sprayer. Around 4:30 Zeno joins in and adds naughty behavior to the yowling (destruction of plants and jumping on things he isn't supposed to, behavior he doesn't engage in any other time of the day, except for before breakfast).

The yowling builds, and the cats stalk me, raising the noise level and activity any time I make a move in the general direction of the food dish. Also after 5 the annoying yowl n' destroy fest builds.

I always feed them at the same time, and NEVER deviate from this unless I am gone (which is infrequent), so I don't encourage this behaviour. All I can figure out is that by now they thing that they won't get fed unless they act up for three straight hours.

I find myself working late just to avoid my cats, not coming home until it's dinnertime. When I am at home, the only way I can get a moment's peace is by reading, surfing the web, or sleeping/pretending to sleep, and even then, any slightest move I make that could possibly be construed as a move towards the food bowls sets off a chorus again.

Can somebody please give me some advice to help me try and get my afternoons back? (They do the same thing in the morning, and I can only get some sleep with earplugs)
post #2 of 12
Perhaps you could try playing with them, toys like DaBird are great. Gives them something to do to distract from yowling.
post #3 of 12
I don't have the experience to give sound advice. Just had a thought that I would contribute.....you never know when something might work.

Is it possible to change the behavior by changing your feeding routine. Maybe change your feeding schedule to a small meal (enough to pasify the hunger protest) right when you get home and before the whining starts. That way they aren't associating getting food with what they have done like whining and bad behavior. Then feed the rest of the meal later before bedtime and before they have a chance to protest. Idea is to take away the protest before it starts and so the protest will not be associated with food. Hope some of this makes sense. Good luck.
post #4 of 12
I have two cats that would aggressively follows me around until fed.They would attack me early in the morning, too. I found a solution to my problem by feeding them twice in the morning and twice at night. I feed them half of a 3 oz can at 4am and the other half at 8am. At night , I feed 4pm and 8pm. We seem to have made peace for now until they find something new to complain about.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catfur View Post
My cats have severe hunger issues. Every day (if I am there), around 3PM, Kjartan (the fat one), starts yowling for food non-stop. Normal dinner time is 6PM. He is incredibly pushy and aggressive, not to mention annoying. At most I can get a minute or two of respite by menacing him with the sprayer. Around 4:30 Zeno joins in and adds naughty behavior to the yowling (destruction of plants and jumping on things he isn't supposed to, behavior he doesn't engage in any other time of the day, except for before breakfast).

The yowling builds, and the cats stalk me, raising the noise level and activity any time I make a move in the general direction of the food dish. Also after 5 the annoying yowl n' destroy fest builds.

I always feed them at the same time, and NEVER deviate from this unless I am gone (which is infrequent), so I don't encourage this behaviour. All I can figure out is that by now they thing that they won't get fed unless they act up for three straight hours.

I find myself working late just to avoid my cats, not coming home until it's dinnertime. When I am at home, the only way I can get a moment's peace is by reading, surfing the web, or sleeping/pretending to sleep, and even then, any slightest move I make that could possibly be construed as a move towards the food bowls sets off a chorus again.

Can somebody please give me some advice to help me try and get my afternoons back? (They do the same thing in the morning, and I can only get some sleep with earplugs)
I don't have advice but I do understand what your going through. My 2 eldest cats are the same way. It drives me crazy. I can't get up in the middle of the night with out them thinking I am feeding, and if I get home from work early they are bantering me for food. They literally bully me. I have had them for over 13 years. My other cats are really good about their feeding times.
post #6 of 12
Simple advice: Free feed them. My family has always left dry food out for cats at all times, and we've never had a cat with a weight problem. There's no begging, and their wet-food mealtimes are low-key affairs.

From the intensity of your cats' reaction, it sounds like they may not be getting enough to eat. Different cats need different amounts of food, depending on metabolism. They may be acting so hungry because they *are* hungry.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Free feeding is absolutely not an option. Kjartan is already a tub o' blub, any more food fed and he rapidly morphs into the furry Goodyear blimp. Zeno might like more food, but he is a healthy weight (not skinny), and he already eats nearly as much as Kjartan (at half his size). They are getting enough food, even if they disagree.
post #8 of 12
Just curious......what do you feed them and how much daily?
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimble View Post
I don't have the experience to give sound advice. Just had a thought that I would contribute.....you never know when something might work.

Is it possible to change the behavior by changing your feeding routine. Maybe change your feeding schedule to a small meal (enough to pasify the hunger protest) right when you get home and before the whining starts. That way they aren't associating getting food with what they have done like whining and bad behavior. Then feed the rest of the meal later before bedtime and before they have a chance to protest. Idea is to take away the protest before it starts and so the protest will not be associated with food. Hope some of this makes sense. Good luck.
I second this. If you're feeding dry, you might give the "afternoon snack" in a treat ball. It will keep them occupied and allow them to feel full since it takes longer to get the food out (kind of like when we savor a meal). How old are the kitties? If any are seniors (over 8 years) I would also recommend bloodwork to verify that none are hyperthyroid. My old boy, who wakes me up sooner and sooner each night, is beginning to show signs. While he T4 isn't within clinical range yet (or wasn't last month--we ran more tests yesterday), the desperate pleas for food combined with the beginnings of a heart murmur may mean that my kitty is hyperthyroid. It might be worth looking into. That said, my boyfriend's parents have a formerly chubby cat who meows like crazy and begs for food all day long.
post #10 of 12
How long have they been on this schedule? If it's new, this type of behavior is to be expected. If it's not a new schedule, then I also recommend playing with them or diverting their attention. Get them some interactive toys (DaBird is awesome) and maybe one of those things that has a ball you chase around in a circle. They bat at it and it moves, but they can't get the ball out.

Stephanie
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Free feeding is absolutely not an option. Kjartan is already a tub o' blub, any more food fed and he rapidly morphs into the furry Goodyear blimp. Zeno might like more food, but he is a healthy weight (not skinny), and he already eats nearly as much as Kjartan (at half his size). They are getting enough food, even if they disagree.
If you switch to a high-quality low calorie and high fiber wet and dry diet, you may find you can maintain the cats' weight, and yet they'll feel fuller and everyone will be happier and less stressed. Putting the free-fed dry food in treat balls will also help, in that the cats will be able to get their own food and won't need you for it; but they'll have some stimulation and it will take them some time to get it out.

Even if the one cat were to gain a few pounds, that strikes me as a far better situation than the current one -- where you and the cats both are miserable, and you're actually avoiding going home and spending time with them.
post #12 of 12
I'm thinking Pavlov right now and am offering an off-the-wall solution.

I'm wondering if maybe something like a dinner bell might work. Ring a bell right before they get fed. They would start associating the bell with getting fed instead of 3 hours of whining or when you go into the kitchen.
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