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Little food theives...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My two five month old boys are "enthusiastic" beggers. Eating anything in our apartment can sometimes be a vigorous activity. The cats, if you let them get close enough, will sit in your lap and try to take your food from you. They're sneaky, too... so a close eye must be kept.

They have been getting somewhat better, though the other morning Felix STOLE MY FORK when I was trying to keep him away from my breakfast

They've been sprayed with a water bottle whenever they actually try to take food away from you, and other than that have been moved and told NO sternly when they get too close. Like I said, they have gotten just a little better, but not really. I was wondering if there's anything else I can do to discourage them from trying to get people's food.

Another note; we don't give them anything while we are eating, but sometimes if they are good [i.e. don't try to steal it from us] they will get to lick the bowl/plate as a reward. Do you think that's helpful or harmful in this training?
post #2 of 5
Alas, your "rewards" are probably teaching the kitties to beg. I did have a kitty that would just sit so politely and wait 'til a reward was offered. But, I think that's probably the exception rather than the rule. I'd get them trained to not beg for people food first and then go from there.
post #3 of 5
My parents adopted a 6 month old kitten that had survived on dumpster scraps its whole life. The poor thing would cry and scream for human food because it didn't even recognize cat food as food.

The only thing that helped the behavior was to keep the cat in a separate room with cat food, water, and litter while human food was being prepared or eaten. When the dishes were put in the dishwasher, the cat was let back out. It took almost a year but then no more begging. He is now 18 years old and hasn't begged in almost 17 years!

It was hard not to slip him human food treats, but we got him special treats that were only for when we were eating. Then he saw the cat treats as good, and forgot about our food.
post #4 of 5
This can be a frustrating behavior, for both sides! Two kitties are even more difficult to establish the respect food issue because often they encourage each other. Although respect and manners is completely possible to obtain from your kitties when it comes to eating, preparing food, and still allowing them to be present and lick plates or bowls!
Most important is to have set boundaries of counter tops, table tops, any food areas being off limits. You can't expect a kitty who was/is fed on the counter top to respect your food. Same goes for allowing them to freely walk where you eat, or even coffee tables if you ever have beverages or food there. A simple snapping of fingers, pointing down and a firm "no" works. At first you may have to place them down while repeating this command.
Another thing that works is even though you may be eating something they like, offer them something they won't like. Have a piece of a pepper on the side of your plate, a nut, whatever they will be discouraged by.
My last kitty, Sweety, who was really my boyfriends till I came into her life, had terrible manners when it came to begging and stealing. She actually one night when I wasn't there jumped up on the coffee table to steal some chicken off his plate when he left the room, and set her but on fire from a candle. I was so upset at him for leaving that temptation! She was crying when I cam home, looking for comfort because she was traumatized from it!
post #5 of 5
Hehehe, bless them, sounds like a little tag team!! Would loved to see kitty with fork, hahaha. I never give my kitty food from plates as he has a few times done that cute little lay by my side, roll over and then out shoots paw to grab what he can and then run off. I was chasing him round the house yesterday as he had managed to knock over the butter dish and had loads of butter smeared all over his chin!!! Also, I feed him before we eat so that he is full before our food comes out! Where would we be without all the kitty adventures hahaha. My friends kitty snuck out once and was caught trying to drag the next door neighbours cooked chicken through the window!!!
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