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How do you deal with pets who are aggressively food motivated?

Apple, the Grubbin-In-Chief

This cat’s behavior is becoming very problematic.

All she cares about is food. Cat food, dog food, people food. Whenever I try to put food in her bowl, she practically knocks the scoop out of my hand because she can’t wait. We have to room her when the dog eats because she’ll try to steal Olive’s food.


We can’t give her treats by hand anymore because she will just bite your hand in the process of eating the treat. We have to set it on the floor.

When she is out of her room, she spends probably 75% of her time in the kitchen, repeatedly jumping on the counters. We don’t allow this behavior, so when we catch her in the act, we say “no,” give her a squirt with a little water pistol, and send her to her room if it is repeat behavior. When we let her back out, it’s right back to the kitchen. We cannot see the kitchen from the living room, so my evenings largely consist of repeatedly having to get up and run to the kitchen to catch her in the act.

It is becoming difficult for us to eat without sending her to her room. Last night she stole an entire egg roll off of Sam’s plate while Sam was sitting there and actively trying to eat. If Apple sees you eating, she will climb up on the chair or couch, and lunge at your plate any chance that she can. If we say no and push her off of the couch, she’ll jump back up an infinite number of times.

If she does manage to steal some food and you try to get it back, she will make you bleed.


I’m at my wit’s end with this cat. She was a stray for the first few months of her life, so I get that food was probably scarce. But she’s been getting fed twice daily by us for over a year now, but still acts like she is starving. The only other cats I’ve had are Calvin and Cassie. Cassie doesn’t care about food at all, and takes a good 15 minutes just to eat a meal. And Calvin (RIP) was a bit of a mooch, but he’d just hang around meowing, hoping you might drop something. Of course, they were already 7 when they came to us and Apple is only a year old.

Anybody have any advice? The only solution I can think of is to just leave the back door open and let the problem resolve itself (I wouldn’t actually do that, but this cat is testing my limits).

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