How can I deal with my cats constant begging?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – seriously every time I open the refrigerator – my cat is crying and under my feet. Sometimes I swear he is trying to kill me. He begs for food. He is especially bad if I cook chicken or get out lunch meat. What can I do?

By-the-way – he is 3-years-old and overweight!

Mike H. – Norfolk, VA


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your overweight cat is quite the beggar. He is especially bad when you cook chicken or open the frig. Well Mike – he has learned that he must get a reward for this behavior or he has at some point for him to do this.

There is no quick trick to stop this behavior. Some cats can be belligerently persistent! Some cat owners will place their cat in a room where they have a “time out” and therefore they won’t be in the kitchen. You can ignore your cat and ensure that 100% of the time he doesn’t get a treat – and eventually he will figure out there is no reward (but this can take ages). Or…you can give in and give him a small treat.

If he is overweight – he may not need the extra treat. You can also fill his cat food bowl so that he is distracted when you are trying to cook for yourself.

An article that might be helpful to you is Begging in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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