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Dealing with Food Aggression

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Any suggestions on dealing with food aggression? I am very short term fostering a found stray who turned out be an adoptee from a shelter and he has a tattoo. The rescue has tracked down the owner and kitty has been missing for about a year. He will be picking kitty up tomorrow. In the mean time, kitty has bit/attacked my dd the last two days. The first day she did nothing but walk by him. Today she picked up his food bowl to go wash it and put food in it. Both times he bit her on the leg. Last night I fed him 3.5 cans of food. He ate like he was starving. When I went to remove his empty food dish he bit me - but didn't break the skin. I'm worried because the man says his kids miss kitty dearly, and other than the food aggression kitty is SOOOOOOOOOO sweet and lovable. I'm worried the family may find that kitty has changed due to his last year of survival and they won't want him back.

I can't keep kitty because 2 of my fosters from last season are being returned due to health issues of the adopter's child, and I dont have enough room. The rescue will deal with that if need be, but I have an awful lot on my plate this week, and am concerned about the welfare of this kitty.
post #2 of 4
Does he have dry food down at all times? Try placing several bowls of it around the house in different rooms where he is allowed. I don't know why I think it would help, but maybe if he didn't feel that his food source was threatened in any way because he had other "stashes" placed around he would become more agreeable? Just a thought ...

post #3 of 4
Maybe if I actually ~read~ the post, I could better answer questions ... sheesh.

If it were me, I might suggest my idea of the multiple bowls of dry food to the rescue so they could pass it along to the owners. Maybe it would work, I dunno.
post #4 of 4
This is common behavior for a cat who is used to being fed indoors, then finds himself outside, and having to fight for every scrap of food. It is also a dangerous way for a caretaker such as yourself to have to deal with, because the animal is focused on the food and nothing else.

This is just what I do. I set up a feeding schedule, and I stick to it. I feed in the same place, the same time all the time. I am never late. Usually, the cat is lying in wait for me (ambush time). So what I have had to do in the past, is get a really thick leather glove, and stuff it with fiberfill. Get a yardstick and duct tape the glove to the end of the stick. Set the bowl on the ground and with the fake arm, push it toward the feeding spot. I also wear sweats and jeans, two pairs of socks and heavy boots.

The cat is unable to stop this aggression until he knows that he can count on you. That is why the schedule is set up and adhered to. Once the food comes regularly- he will relax. Keepng food down 24/7 and free feeding makes food aggression traits worse.

I would also make it a point to explain to this cat's owner, that this will not be the same cat he remembers him to be. All sorts of bad and nasty things happen to cats outside, and since they can't talk, you just have to figure that something went wrong somewhere. I just hope the owner doesn't get upset to the point of surrendering the cat to a shelter. I would give him the artificial arm and tell him not to let his kids near this cat while he is eating.
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