It can be tiring when you see your cats following you from room to room crying piteously for food. This is one of the bad habits every pet owner should control before it gets out of hand. If it becomes worse, your cat may steal food from your plate or bite your hand after begging for some time.
Why do cats beg for food?
You might have wondered and ask yourself, “why does my cat always beg and hanker after what’s on my plate?” or “why does my cat always steal from another pet’s bowl?”
Well, it could be that your cat has a health issue like worms in their gut. This makes them hungry all the time since the parasite is feeding on the food they’re eating.
Also, a sudden change in their environment or change in their food could cause your dog to start begging.
But if there weren’t any changes in the environment or food, and there are no health issues, the following are the major reasons why cats beg for food:
- Your cat might be bored and the only thing they can think of is food. Observe to see if your cat licks on their own body excessively. This can be a sign that they are bored.
- You may not be feeding your cat a nutritionally balanced diet. They tend to become hungry easily and beg you for more food. Check to know if you’re following the feeding guidelines on the back of their food package. Also, check if your cat has lost weight recently.
- Your cat’s food may not be satiating enough to their taste buds, so they tend to beg you for your delicious delicacies.
- Your cat may just develop the habit of begging because you’ve been giving them food whenever they beg for it.
Simple ways to stop your cat from begging for food
So now that you understand the possible reasons why your cat is always begging, let’s look at some simple ways to stop your cat from begging for food.
However, note that while some tricks may work for some cats, some others may not respond positively to it.
But note that just like humans, you need some time for an activity to become a habit. So don’t expect your dog to stop begging instantly. Be patient with these methods and with time, you’ll begin to see good changes.
Without much ado, check out these simple measures to break the begging habit.
1. Stick to feeding guidelines
You may be part of those pet owners who don’t bother to read the feeding guideline instructions on the back of the food package. This is bad as you may be depriving your furry friend of the right nutritional needs.
All the decent cat food brands come with a feeding guideline for an average weight cat. They also have guidelines for cats on weight loss diets.
By following these feeding guidelines on the food packages, you’re making sure that your cat is not nutritionally deficient to start begging.
2. Praise them at mealtime
Give your cat lots of positive reinforcement when their mealtime swings around. Whenever you call them to eat, try to lay their bowls down and fuss them for finishing their food. This helps them get the clue of when it’s time to eat and the portion size to expect.
When you do this, your cat learns to stop begging throughout the day and don’t expect to eat just when you’re eating. Cats are smart and they learn fast, so start up a routine.
3. Introduce a food puzzle bowl
When you introduce a food puzzle during your cat’s mealtime, it stimulates them both mentally and physically.
Besides, the puzzle element slows down their eating, and this reduces the chance of indigestion. More so, their brain catches up with their stomach, helping them to stay fuller and less interested in begging.
4. Stand firm and ignore the begging
The mistake a lot of pet owners make is that after much persistence from their cat, they tend to give in and offer the cat their food. You need to stop this act and learn not to indulge them whenever they’re crying or begging.
Learn to ignore your cat or simply walk away from their begging spot. With time, they will learn to spend their time on something else instead of begging.
It might seem hard at first, but with time, your cat will get the message. But that doesn’t mean you won’t show them lots of love at any other time of the day.
Remember, your love and care are needed for their mental health. However, when it comes to food, try to instill discipline in your furry friend.
5. Use automatic feeder to break up their meals
When you use an automatic feeder, the food gets dispensed when your cat is not expecting it. This trains them not to always expect food whenever they beg.
Also, you can break up your cat’s food into smaller portions, especially when they inhale their food at every feeding time and expect more. By breaking up their meal into smaller feeding times, you control when your cat feeds.
More so, using an automatic feeder save you the stress of feeding your hungry friend every hour or two.
6. Consult a behaviorist
If your cat won’t stop begging after so many measures, you can consult a pet behaviorist to look critically at the root of the issue and proffer a working solution.
When you implement an expert’s tips in a friendly environment, you’ll see great differences. But note that it can take some time for cats to change unwanted behaviors and pick up new ones.
7. Fiber-rich foods
You can feed your cat fiber-rich foods to make them feel fuller. Your cat’s hunger will be satiated and they will feel less hungry and less interested in begging you for food.
However, a max of 1% fiber content is allowed in your cat’s food, as stated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This is because cats are carnivores and they don’t typically eat fiber.
But fiber helps to prevent diarrhea and make your cat feel full, so it’s still a good option to add to your cat’s diet. It expands in your cat’s stomach and helps curb their hunger.
Most cat foods contain about 4% fiber — you will notice this if you follow the guideline for feeding.
8. Give your cat hugs and kisses instead of food
Cats are observant and they pay attention to what they get when they beg. So instead of giving your cat food when they beg, you can give kisses and hugs. This makes them understand that begging doesn’t always result in food.
When your cat meows excessively while you’re eating, you can pick them up and give them lots of kisses and hugs. They might get angry at first and squirm to get out of your embrace, but with time they will understand that begging comes with some consequences.
You may be fine with feeding your cat treats from the table or ignoring when they steal from another pet’s bowl, but when it is repeated, you should take quick action to stop them from begging.
You can practice the measures above and teach your cat good behavior. Teach them to respect mealtimes in the home so your peace won’t be disturbed throughout the day, especially when you work from home.