Post # 1
We have two male cats, Darby and Baxter.
They are well-loved, but I’m really trying to prevent spoiling them. They get carefully measured meals twice a day, as we’re trying to control Baxter’s weight (he used to be on free roam feeding when he was living the bachelor lifestyle with Darling Husband before we got married, lol) and prevent Darby from getting overweight. They are fed the recommended amount, so I am not concerned that they aren’t being fed enough.
However, starting 2 hours before their scheduled feeding time in the evening, they have started begging for dinner (going in front of the closet where we keep the food and whining/crying loudly).
Any suggestions? Should we be feeding them earlier? Is this probably just a bad habit? If so, can we break the habit?
Post # 3
I’m not a vet so my answer is probably useless..but could you put out like 50% of the food when they’re whining? then the other 50 later? That way they’re still getting the same amount of kitty-calories.
Seriously though, take this with a grain of salt..my cat is a glutton.
Post # 4
I have no idea since I don’t have a cat but just wanted to say that they are SO CUTE!
Post # 5
If you figure this out let me know. Our cat whines all day long. He eats a couple of bites then comes back 10 minuets later and makes you show him his food. All day long he’s crying at me to show him his food only to take a few bites and then he’s back in another ten. He is seriously driving me crazy!
Post # 6
so I don’t know how much this will help because this is what I would do if it was a dog…I don’t know much about cat behavior. If it was a dog I would make them wait until they were quiet and then that’s when they get the food… by giving into their crying you are encouraging the behavior because it is working for them to do it. They cry…you feed. If it was a dog and they wouldn’t be quiet I would give them something to do or spray them with a water bottle….like I said don’t know about how that would work with a cat. I think in this situation you probably want to make the feedings less on a scheduled time so they dont know the exact time it is coming and don’t give them food when they are crying because it reinforces the behavior
Post # 7
Giving them dinner earlier is a good idea, although NOT if they’re begging for it because that will reinforce the behavior that begging = food.
ETA: Crossposted with PP, her idea about spraying with a water bottle is a great one for aversive conditioning!
Post # 8
I have no idea but I’m sitting here eating cereal with milk and my cat is giving me sad eyes and staring right at me. So I feel your pain.
Post # 9
Just a forewarning with spraying water- I did this with my kitty because she kept jumping onto the counters. So every time she was up there, I’d give her a spritz with the spray bottle of water…and now she just stares defiantly at me. Haha it worked for like..3 occasions. Now she just makes eye contact and doesn’t move. I could dump a jug of water on her (not that I ever would!!!!) and she STILL wouldn’t move.
Post # 10
We have a similar problem, but feed the cats in the morning. We spray the cats with water from a squirt bottle when they’re misbehaving (i.e. climbing the drapes, jumping on tables), haven’t done it regarding the feeding issue and I don’t know if that would be cruel or not or if it would get the right message across. Maybe your vet would have a better suggestion?
Post # 11
It depends on the cat. I would suggest trying the squirt bottle. We have 2 cats, on one it works like a charm, on the other it barely works. She just looks at us defiantly, lol. If that doesn’t work, maybe try distracting them with a toy (like this laser one, it is addictive), or jingling something obnoxiously loud like a penny in an empty can.
Post # 12
Lol. I understand your predicament, but often the words “modifying” and “cat” cannot be together in the same sentence. We are here to serve THEM don’t you forget! lol
Post # 13
I would suggest ignoring or putting them in “time out” when they cry. I can’t do the water spraying thing because my cats are weirdos and love getting in the shower when I bathe. I treat my cats like dogs, so maybe that is the problem. 🙂 One of the PPs was right. If you feed when they cry, it is negative behavior reinforcement and teaches them that crying = food. That being said, you could try making their food time earlier for a week and see if they cry. If they cry, they are manipulating you. If they don’t cry, they really were hungry earlier in the day. Then again, I am not a professional; these are just ideas. Before I became a teacher, I was a dog trainer. I find that a lot of dog training techniques work for cats too. Your kitties are PRECIOUS! 😀
Post # 14
My aunt has the same issue. She recently got two rescue cats, and one had been starved. So she now eats everything in sight and was getting fat on free feeding. The poor girl is so scared she will never see food again so she crams it all in. My aunt had to start measuring food twice a day and giving them only that. They got used to it after a while. Good luck!