Q: I can’t get my cat to stop eating people food. We feed him 2 times a day, canned food, as directed by the vet. He gets into everything left out for even a few minutes. Fishy crackers, baked potato, any chips, yogurt…anything! He is 9 months old and weighs 10 pounds. We can’t get him to loose weight.
A: It sounds like Whiskers is really wreaking havoc in your house! Unfortunately, this is a normal behavior. People food tastes good! He is not eating because he is hungry. He is getting into things because he is young, inquisitive and full of energy. When he finds that his “toys” taste good, why not eat them?! You will only have success if you deny him access to the food – put everything away immediately and try to keep him off the counters. Keeping young cats off counters can be difficult. Locking him out of the kitchen works, but is usually not feasible for most families. If your counters are high enough, moving stools and chairs so that he can’t use them as a launching point might work (that keeps my cat off the dining room table and all kitchen counters, but he only has 3 legs!) Some people will put deterrents on the counters (sticky paper, upside-down mousetraps that pop up when touched but won’t trap Whiskers, etc.) These have variable success. Giving him something to do that is more interesting and more fun might help – empty bags and toys that crackle like plastic bags, climbing areas withcatnip on them, other toys that move….. He will probably grow out of it, but it will be many years before that happens! Best of luck to you! -Dr. Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP