Begging for Food

Unfortunately, many people encourage begging for food by hand feeding their cats, or allowing them to sit on the dinner table while they eat. Once this behavior is started, it can be hard to stop.

First, prevent this behavior by always feeding your cat from his food dish. Feeding your cat on a strict schedule will help him get used to a routine of eating when his food is available, not when any food is available. Do not feed him table scraps, on the dinner table or while you are eating.

Second, as in the case of other attention seeking behaviors, punishment is not effective for this behavior, and may just reinforce it.

Third, use the methods described in the “jumping on furniture” document to keep cats off counters and tables.

Finally, if you feed your cat on a schedule, they will perceive their meals as a reward, and the behavior will be “self-reinforcing” – they get their food and treats in the appropriate location. And like dogs, cats can be taught tricks. Doing so keeps your cat mentally stimulated and rewards only positive behavior with food or treats!