Do you have a furry, four-footed thief in your house? Has the paper clip you just set down on the desk suddenly gone missing? Or maybe it’s some food from your plate that has vanished? Your keys? A sock? Your daughter’s hair bow? If you live with a very stealthy but oh, so adorable, feline thief, you’re not alone. Many people share their lives with cats who seem to have very sticky fingers… or rather, paws. What’s the Attraction?
Cats Who Steal Food
This is an obvious one to figure out. Cats are predators and most are extremely food-motivated. You have so many enticing food aromas that pass in front of your cat’s nose several times a day and it can be hard for a hungry kitty to resist. This is especially true if your cat is on a special diet and not particularly pleased with that fact.
A contributing factor to food-stealing behavior may be the result of being fed from the dinner table. If you have offered your cat pieces of your own meal as you’re eating or you’ve rewarded her with food when she begs during the family meals, you may have put the notion in her head that she doesn’t really have to wait for someone to give food to her – she can just help herself. Offering food from the table can also create an interest in a food she may not have otherwise been attracted to, such as sugary tidbits.
Stealing food can also occur if it’s left out on an unattended counter or table. If you know you have a feline food thief, remove temptation by making sure leftovers aren’t kept out on the counter or table.
To reduce, and hopefully eliminate food-stealing behavior, consider incorporating puzzle feeders into your cat’s mealtime routine. Whether you feed wet or dry food, you can buy or construct puzzle feeders to encourage your cat to eat slowly and also enjoy some added playtime while eating. Since a cat is a predator, the concept of working for food is very natural and a puzzle feeder is an easy way to provide that. There are many types of puzzle feeders available. Check your local pet product store or Google the term “puzzle feeders for cats.” You’ll find many products that provide varying degrees of difficulty so you should be able to find one that fits your cat’s personality and skill level.