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Have any tips to discourage begging for food?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have an older cat (~10 years) who has a problem begging for food. When she was younger we just left dry food out for her to eat as she pleased, so it wasn't really a problem. Now she is overweight so we are only feeding her discrete meals of wet food. Now she begs at every meal while we are eating, and it is getting annoying. Of course we did the bad thing and would reinforce the habit and give her treats of people food now and then, so she always wants what we are eating. She trillups instead of meows, so we even thought it was cute for awhile after our last yowly cat.

I guess I have two questions:
1) What discipline techniques have you found to be most effective? Should we completely ignore her and not give her food, or is a firm reprimand in order?
2) I know this will take patience. We have done the bad thing and reinforced the behavior and it has become habit. Can I have some positive stories of how it has worked? I am pretty patient, myself, but I have some grumpies in my family who are liable to get fed up and just start yelling. We need to come up with a consistent plan.

Thank you so much for your advice.
post #2 of 4
roxy, my monster, is a beggar. she will eat anything; hence, her nickname, "hoover".

a few months ago, she figured out that when dh & i sit down at the table, there's usually food involved, and she thought we should share. cue the loud "merrrrrrrrrow"ing and trilling and leg rubbing.

i began with a soft, but firm "no."

then next time it happened, the "no" got a tad louder.

the next time, it got low and long: "nnnnnnnnnnoooooooooo".

in-between, we ignore. we ignore until the food is off the table and dishes cleared. there is no petting, and no eye-contact. she'll live without attention for the 1/2 hour a day that we're at the table.

our ultimate goal is for her to learn, "nnnnnnnnoooooooo". that way, she's not begging when we have dinner guests.

roxy is very stubborn. pennies in a can doesn't faze her. clapping doesn't do it, either. i guess she thinks it's applause? anyway, she is learning what "no" means. it's taken a few months, but we're definitely getting there.
post #3 of 4
We ended up buying a spray bottle and filling it with water. Bijou HATES it. Now, if she is being naughty, all we have to do is show her the bottle and off she runs.
post #4 of 4
oooooo you created a monster Now you have to undo it and be completely consistant. One missstep and you reinfirce her begging stronger.

1. Completely ignore your cat . totally. do not even look at her.
2. if she jumps say no and her name firmly and put her on the floor
3. if she continues get a bell and ring it loudly when she attempts to get up on your lap or table. or do the squirt thing, but then you have to clean the floor so i like the bell better.
4. do not waver from this even once or you could be doomed forever.

( I banned my cat from the dining room for the first six-nine months of her life and now she doesn't even come near us when we are eating --- alone or with guests. there has never been a pay off while human eat dinner. she gets her food in exactly the same place every time she eats on the same shape plate. I have never waivered from this routine and hence on the very few occasions she meows for food I might break down but I give it to her on her feeding mat in a feeding dish.) I might sound anal but I prefer the word consistent .
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