Aggressive Eater

by Mandy
(Roanoke, TX)

I have a problem that just can't go on any longer. The violence is getting to be too much. What does one do with an aggressive eater? I usually lock Horus up when I eat, but I have this horrible guilt factor when he cries and claws at the door. Yesterday I was eating pizza with him running free. He jumped up as usual and tried to steal my food. Usually it's his sneaky little paw that will snap out when his pitiful little face distracts you. Well, yesterday he bit the pizza and growled at me when I tried to grab it out of his mouth. Now, usually I succeed, but yesterday, he scratched me in the face.

He is not only rough with me, but with the other two. I can't leave food out to free-feed them because the fatty catty would eat it all at once. Each cat gets their own bowl and Horus eats the majority out of each. Scarlett is so finicky and likes to pick at it, but has learned if she wants anything, she has to eat as much as fast as possible. Buddy is pretty good about taking care of himself.

Treat time is a real mess. Scarlett gets hers in a bowl on the counter over the sink. I know she will only eat 2 or 3 so that's all she gets. Horus and Buddy eat on the sink's counter. I give Buddy's his to get started on while scruffing Horus. Horus claws desperately with his paw, but I like to give Buddy a headstart because once Horus gets his, it's like a vacuum. I don't think he tastes them because he doesn't chew them.

I am at my wits end. There are so many things about him that drive me crazy and I tolerate, but I don't want an overweight, diabetic kitty with other health issues. It's bad enough I'm overweight. It's no fun. I don't want to subject my kitties to this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've tried feeding him seperately, but it doesn't work. I've tried feeding him with a ball in his bowl to get him to slow down, but
he just pulls the ball out. He just doesn't know when to stop. On several occasions, he's gotten into my food. No food can be left on the counters at all. Garbage has to be locked up. Dishes can't soak, they have to go immediately into the dishwasher or he will drink the soapy water. One day I came home and he had eaten half a new bag of Hershey Kisses (a large bag), foil and all. That was a stressful night, watching so he didn't get sick.

The violence was the last straw for me. I really need help! Sometimes I wonder if the little booger doesn't have pica. He does eat some weird stuff. I would never get rid of him, but he needs (and I need) help!

Answer by Kate
Yikes that does sound bad. My first reaction is to sayb that if it were me i would get him hecked in case he has a thyroid problem which is causing him to be very hungrey all the time. if this can be rules out then at least you will then know that it is a behavior issue and not a medical one.

If it a behavior issue then you will have to be very strong in changing this behavior, cruel to be kind as it were. Ie you will have to only feed him at certain times, feed him separately from the other cats, when you eat you will have to keep him out of the room. i know this is hard but you are not being cruel you are being kind as in the long run as you say you are saving him from a life of being over weight etc.

can i suggest you read my page about cat discipline it gives a good explaination of how cats see what we think of as discipline and what actually is a good way to inforce a behavior change, don't worry it has nothing to do with punishment.

Hopefully this is just a learned behavior that can be changed over time, the hardest thing is that it will need a lot of will power from you. Good luck and best wishes

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