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Pet Peeves: Keep Away From My Food!

Q: My cat is food-obsessed! I know that it can be a metabolic issue, diabetes, or a dislike of his dry food . . . but my kitty has none of these issues. How do you discipline a cat when he steals food and breaks dishes?!

A: That's one problem with kitties – they're so agile, they can often hop and climb onto places we'd rather not have them (read: countertops) leaving things we'd rather not have (read: cat hair in our food)! My first recommendation would be to try to keep the food as far away from your pet as possible. If you've got a cat that can get into a cabinet or the fridge, consider securing the doors of temptation with duct tape or looping handles together with a string before you leave the house. It's an extra step but, if your cat's as wily as I'm imagining, it may be your best bet. Now keeping your kitty off the counter to begin with is a different story altogether so


  • Attach duct tape sticky side up or double-sided tape to the counters. Place three or four long strips onto your cat's favorite tabletop areas about three inches apart (for duct tape, add a perpendicular strip to hold those down). When his paws reach the stickiness, he should be diverted.
  • Tape sheets of aluminum foil to the edges and tops of the surface. Many cats don't like the crinkly sound when they land on the silvery surface, and the tape secures and deters them from thinking it's a toy.
  • Consider spraying counter tops with a mixture of either lemon juice and water or vinegar and water – the smell alone can keep them away . . . but possibly you, too!


Join The Conversation
wakeupandora wakeupandora 9 years
ugh! my cat WAITS for dinner time!
CanadianInVA CanadianInVA 9 years
My kitties are pretty good. I was on them all the time when they were younger that they couldn't get on the counters. I sprayed them with the water bottle when they did it. And then I ended up leaving the spray bottle on the counter. It was their enemy, so there was no way they were going to jump up and risk being sprayed. I like the tape idea. I have heard this a few different times. They hate the tape on their feet, so I think this would work.
andiself andiself 9 years
My cat is the most food obsessed kitty and I really appreciate the advice on the sticky tape and foil. I also like the idea of a time out. He used to weigh 25 lbs and got that way from stealing food from the cabinets, fridge and the other cat. I came home one day and he had taken a box of girl scout cookies out of the cabinet, tore open the box and bit into EACH one. They were strewn across the floor all over the living room and kitchen. He would eat a whole bag of Turkey Jerky. he even got locked in the fridge one morning because he snuck in when I had my back turned. Begging starts out cute, but it can create a monster! I had to move all food up to a higher shelf. My new place he can't get into the cabinets. But he is quick and crafty and sneaks in the fridge when I'm not looking. He stole a doggie bag from the bottom shelf. He has been on a diet for a long time, However a new vet suggested wet food and now he is down to about 18 or 19 lbs. But he is STILL hungry all the time. This recent weight loss has given him WAY more energy and he is jumping on the counters! He found his food dish on the sink to be cleaned and pushed it off and broke it for the second time this week! Two broken dishes in one week because he wants food. I have just started play sessions and try to keep him busy and not bored. I'm going to do the tape and foil thing, and time outs. Thanks everyone!
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
The best way to teach a cat is to just avoid the situation all together. Don't make it easy for him to get into cabinets and wherever you keep your food. Child locks work. As for food in plates, I taught my cats how to be a part of our family by putting them in time out. When they did something I couldn't have them doing, I put them in the guest room alone for 10 minutes. They really just want love and companionship more than anything, so taking away that will keep them from doing anything.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Haha my kitty know better then to go on the counters and couches. But when we sit down to eat she will sit and stare haha!!! And it's cute! And if she gets something from me then she moves to my boyfriend and she'll just keep switching back and forth haha!
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
Good advice! My cat doesn't do this so much anymore, but when she was little she jumped right onto my lap when I had a plateful of spaghetti - you can imagine I wasn't too happy with her for a bit after that!
angelle321 angelle321 9 years
One of my kitties (Biscuit) loves food. Pretty much all food. In fact, I have kitty cooties today because he decided to sample my toast with vegan buttery spread this morning. It got his approval. I was like stop licking my toast!
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