I've started working with one of my house cats a few weeks ago. He gets too worked up over food and his behavior pretty much makes me P.O.ed (knocking stuff out of my hands so that it dumps everywhere. I do not like canned cat food all over me.).
I'm basically treating him like a dog now - it works, he's smart enough to listen. He's learning to stay back from my legs and feet when I say "back" and I'm putting him in a "down" before and right after I put his food down. He must lay down 2 feet away and be calm before I will allow him up to eat. If he doesn't listen I push him back down to the floor and repeat the "down" command.
He's now in the habit that most of the time he stays out of the way and automatically goes into a down to wait for his food.
Try simple commands and see if your cat can figure it out.