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My Cats Have Become Food Thieves

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Midna, Oct 19, 2019.


  1. Midna

    Midna PetForums Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    I have 2 cats: 1 senior about 14 years old, and one 6 year-old.

    About 2 years ago, my senior cat developed some stomach issues, and I got a steroid from my vet to help deal with the inflammation. I never used to feed them wet food, because it seemed to upset my senior's stomach more than dry food. Now that she has to take medication regularly, I mix it with a small portion of wet food to entice her to take it.

    At first, I didn't give any to my other cat. She didn't actually seem interested. After a while, she got curious and started trying to eat some of senior cat's food. So I started giving her some too. They were both happy, all is well. This went on for about a year.

    This past April, I moved into a new place with my fiance and got married. Two or three months after we moved in, my youngest started getting really bad about trying to find ANY food she could get her paws on. Feeding her wet food once a day isn't enough. She is constantly jumping on the counters when my husband and I have our backs turned, looking all over the floor when we are making food, meowing constantly when she thinks it's feeding time, etc. A couple of weeks ago, she started picking and biting at the trash bag sticking out from the lid! She once managed to dig out the wet food pouch and lick that clean...

    My oldest isn't as bad, but she does watch for scraps falling while I am cooking and attempt to sneak a bite from our plates if we're in her reach...whether we are looking or not.

    They NEVER used to be like this. I would offer them bits of chicken and other things and they never used to take it. Now, we can't leave ANYTHING with a trace of food left on the counter.They have a gravity feeder full of dry food. My youngest is a healthy weight. My oldest is on the lighter/skinnier side, but that's not for a lack of trying to put weight on her. She doesn't even finish her wet food, and my youngest ends up eating the rest.

    I have a spray bottle sitting on the kitchen counter, but the little ninja just tries to sneak by unnoticed.
    What do I do?

    NOTE: I have not changed their dry food since we moved. They are both particular, so finding a happy medium is difficult and I will tend to stick to the same food once I find one they like.
     
    #1 Midna, Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I would get rid of the dry kibble and feed them both an all wet diet. Three wet meals a day. The kibble is not meeting their nutritional needs so they are hungry. Some cats over eat kibble trying to get enough nutrition. Others, like your 6 year old cat, knows there is better food available so is trying to help herself.

    If they haven't had check ups recently though I would get that done too.

    In addition, with the changes in your life they probably aren't getting as much attention as they are used to. Be sure to include your cats in your life and make sure to play with them and give them special attention every day. Make daily game time, and grooming time, and cuddle time part of the routine.
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @Midna and welcome :)

    Both your cats sound like very hungry cats. Scavenging in bins and around the floor, and being constantly obsessed with food is a sure sign of hunger in cats, and intense anxiety about food resources.

    The hunger can in some cases be due to an undiagnosed health problem such as the onset of diabetes type 2 or hyperthyroidism. Though the latter disease is unlikely to be the problem with your 6 yr old kitty, it could be an issue with your 14 yr old. As the previous poster suggested, it would be good to have full blood counts and urinalysis done at the vets for both cats as soon as you can.

    Meanwhile, I agree with the previous advice given, to take your cats off the dry food they have rejected, and feed them a good quality high meat protein wet food. At least 3 meals a day (personally I always feed my adult cats 4 times a day).

    As well as a wet food diet being healthier for them (it's lower in carbs) the feeding of set meals gives the cats a routine and opportunities for 'human to cat' interaction. This is important in maintaining a close bond with one's cats particularly during times of change and upheaval when the cats' normal routine has been unavoidably disrupted.

    If you are out during the day time you can leave food for them in autofeeders timed to open every 5 hours. I have the Cat Mate C20 and it is still going strong after 25 years of regular use for different cats.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cat-Mate-C20-Automatic-Feeder/dp/B0002YHUPC/ref=sr_1_5?crid=280ZACGNWHIXJ&keywords=cat+mate+c20+automatic+pet+feeder&qid=1571491228&sprefix=cat+mate+c20,aps,138&sr=8-5

    Or, if the older cat likes to eat more slowly than the younger one, I would buy her a microchipped feeder, so she can eat at her own pace. Cheapest price at present is from Fetch with a 15% discount on first orders + free delivery, bringing the price down to around £62.

    https://fetch.co.uk/surefeed-microchip-pet-feeder-296478011

    If possible buy each cat their own 'chipped feeder, so they will feel less need to guard their food resources from each other.
     
    #3 chillminx, Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    lorilu likes this.
  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I feed four meals a day as well.
     
    chillminx likes this.
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