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Question
Posted by: Mandi | 2008/01/09

Food aggression

Hi All!

I have a kitten that has been with us for 5 weeks. We adopted him when he was 6 weeks old. The problem is that he is extremely food aggressive. I have to prepare his food in a closed room while he waits outside, when his food is ready I let him come in while I leave the room and close the door. Even when he is completely alone in the room, he still growls and hisses while he eats. I normally give small scraps of food to my animals while I’m cooking dinner, but when it’s Turbo’s time to get something he goes ballistic. He would leave his piece of food on the floor and attack all the other animals before he goes back to eat, it all the while growling and hissing.
All my other cats were adopted as adults, so my experience with kittens is quite limited. I was worried that he might really be hungry, so I upped his portions, but it continues. Will he eventually realise that there is always food available? Will he outgrow this behaviour?
I never thought a tiny little cute cuddly kitten can be scary, but Turbo is proving me wrong. He scares the living daylight out of me when he turns into Killer Kitten.
I read up on it on the Internet, but I can only find stuff about food aggression in dogs, would the same principle apply to kittens?

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Our expert says:
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If you put dry food out for him so there is always food accessible does he still respond the same way?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Blaah | 2008/01/09

always remember to have plenty of water available to him as well

good luck and keep us posted

Reply to Blaah
Posted by: Mandi | 2008/01/09

Thanks Blaah and Cb!

I tried leaving dry food, but he gobbles everything at once untill he gets sick.

I'll try sitting in the room with him (in the farthest corner behind a shelter...hehehe) and gradually moving closer.

thanks again guys!

Reply to Mandi
Posted by: Blaah | 2008/01/09

my male cat used to do that as well
he was a ferral we 'tamed'
we found him at four months and he was very wild
he eventually grew out of it with paitence

basically when i feed him in the begining i left him alone
i then started just sitting with him for the beginning of the feed increasing the time gradually
then began stroking him when he was comfortable
once or twice but if he became agressive i would stop
he never really got comfortable with stroking while eating
so we compromised

most of the time i would just sit by him, first far away and gradually closer till he was comfortable with having me there
i must say that i got a couple of good scratches from him occasionally

he did grow out of it, but still hissed and growled sometimes while eating especially if he was very hungry or had to wait too long for food but the attcking stopped
if you stroked him while eating he would eat faster and growl worse so we didn't do that often, that part he never really got out of, like i said above we compromised, no stroking while eating

remember to have him fixed as soon as possible this lowers levels of agression

was your kitten perhaps a ferral?
perhaps the kitten wasn't well socialised at the home or centre you got him om
cats are born wild naturally and exposure to humans tame them

funny thing though
once we got him out of attacking for food
he would sometimes allow the other cats to steal his food (females) not often, but he got used to them and would 'share' occasionally but not everything he would mke sure he had his fill first.

i would suggest you stpo giving scrapes for the time being as he is fighting for his fill stick to feeding times rather and perhaps feed him smaller amounts more often if possible this will keep him satisfied longer and he won't feel like he has to fight for food

do not promote the reactions from him by fretting or by giving him more treats
rather pick him up and put him out side or away from the scrapes and do the same to the others i.e remove them all together
during feeding feed him last away from the others and give him time to start then open where he i to allow theother cats in while he i eating (towards finished) he will evenutally see them as no risk
feed him higher up than the others as well i found this helps too

cats are not pack animals like dogs
they get used to the company and grow into each other

also contact a animal behaviourist if possible
it is called predatory agression and can become serious in some cases but it is common in multi cat house holds i.e yes cats can get food agression
it is recommended that you take the cat to th vet to check for mdical issues as well
and perhaps invest in the feliaway (sp) program available at the vet and vet stores

good luck i hope this helps

Reply to Blaah

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