Anonymous
Anonymous asked in PetsCats · 1 month ago

Cat keeps stealing food?

We recently got a cat from the shelter, but he keeps trying to steal food. I almost have to lock him up just so we can eat. 

There is enough food out, and I have another cat I had since a kitten, and she will just lay there chilling if you are eating next to her. However the shelter cat even stole a sponge out of the kitchen sink. He will sometimes growl when he is getting food, he will try to go into the garage to eat. 

All I know is he was brought in as a stray, but he's pretty friendly cat. 

Any idea what is going on?

5 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The new kitty has spent a good deal of time without proper nourishment. No dry food, please. Wet food with sauce or gravy. When it eats, just say don't growl. Once it trusts you, it will relax.

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  • patty
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    he may have been a street cat for a while and not knowing when he will get his next meal. give him 2 big meals a day and maybe leave some bickies out during the day. u could aslo get advice from the vet the next time u go

    • patty
      Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      u coud get him a kong toy for a cat. u put food in it and it takes hours for the cat to get all the food out. will give him something to do plus feed him.

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  • 1 month ago

    At some time in his past he's been starving and had to survive by "stealing" food and guarding it jealously, hence the growling. He'll eventually come realise he doesn't have to do this any longer and his habits may disappear.  Good luck.

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  • 1 month ago

    Learned behavior from trying to survive. He does not know this is "bad" to you, only that he is wired to never know where and when his next meal is coming from, and it's a hard habit to break. He has a cushy home now with plenty of food. It has not sunk in his brain yet, so he will keep trying to steal food because in his mind, this could be IT for a day, two, three, etc. He does not understand that he now gets food all the time. 

    It is also not uncommon for these cats to have food aggression. He is protecting what he rightfully "hunted" and captured, and he's telling you to BACK OFF, IT'S HIS. A way to curb the food aggression is to put some wet food (a quarter sized dollop is all you need) on a long spoon and offer it to him. Sit with him, be calm, be supportive, talk in soothing voices, and let him lick. Do not attempt to pet him right after if he's still licking his chops, but calmly say "good kitty!" and go about your day. Do this 3-4 times per day with shorter spoons and you progress on and try with your hand IF AND WHEN you feel comfortable enough. Pet him after if you feel comfortable enough, too. He needs to learn that 1. He has food all the time now and 2. You will not take it from him, so there's no need for him to be a brat about it :)

    It may take several months and tries for the message to sink in. He may try and eat his meals faster to also eat your other cats' meals. Do not let him do this. You may have to feed separately for a time until he calms down. It can be done, just takes work. My kitten was the same way when we got him for the first YEAR, he would eat super fast, steal, growl, but it just took time a patience for him to realize, oh...I get food and don't have to take it? COOL! He eats gently, calmly, will take treats from my hand, no more growling or stealing. 

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  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Likely learned behaviour so he could survive as a stray cat....... as you say you recently got him, it will take time for him to learn not only the rules of your home but also that he has no need to steal as you will provide all the food he needs.

    I got a stray she was only about 5 months old who was reported by people as being on the streets for at least a month prior to some kind soul taking her into the  cat rescue...she is a plastic bag shredder, I assume she learned to shred bin bags to get any food inside them...... it can still be an issue at times even now and she will go into my coat pockets and bite/shred the dog poo bags she finds...so I have to remember to take them out or I end up with unusuable dog poo bags

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