Keeping cats out of your food can be a hassle, especially since it looks as delicious to them as it does to you. Though, the habit can easily be broken with a few tips and tricks.
The first step to teaching your feline friend is to remove the temptation. Training them to stay off of counters and tables is a good step towards keeping them out of your food. This can be worked on by providing them an outlet to climbing and jumping, such as kitty condos or window perches.
Next, remember to feed your feline friend regularly and attempt to keep a good schedule. If they are fed several small meals a day, they are likely to be less interested in your food source. If several small meals a day isn’t optional due to schedule conflicts, you can attempt free feeding, which means leaving the food out. However, be sure to monitor your feline friend’s weight.
Keep human foods away from areas that your cat inhabits, especially when you are not around. This will prevent them from getting into the food and perceiving it as a reward. You never want to reward your cat with more human food, no matter how tempted you are. Doing so will only encourage them, and they will continue to come back for more.
If these are not enough, you can try enacting environmental punishers. These will allow you to dissuade your cat, without you being present. It will also help keep your feline friend from becoming scared of you. Examples of environmental punishers would be cat repellant, safe products that offer unpleasant scents for your cats or gentle blasts of compressed air and things that are safe to topple over, but will make loud noises and spook them.
Always feed your cat with their own dish or cat treats. Do not allow them to eat from your dish or any other dish. They will become comfortable with their particular dish and prefer to use it, encouraging them to eat their own food.
Try to feed your cat before your own meal. Not only will this discourage them from begging since they will already be full, but they are more inclined to nap or groom after a full meal, distracting them from what you are eating.
Ignore your cats begging. So long as they are not trying to sneak food away from you, ignoring them will discourage them and they may get bored. It is best to ignore them, if you are able to because occasionally reinforcement can lead to unwanted behaviors, even if not purposely.
Tips and tricks
-Consistency is important. Do not occasionally feed your cat human food or training them will become much harder, if not impossible.
-Try and place climbing areas in warm or sunny areas. This will encourage your cat to climb in these areas as opposed to tables and counters, making it less likely for them to find scraps.
-Always take caution to be safe if you use environmental punishers.
-Environmental punishers will teach a cat that their behavior is never allowed, as opposed to teaching them to wait when you are not around.
-Put up any food or drinks if you are not around to monitor them. This prevents them temptation.
-Do not scold or punish your cat. Negative reinforcement is less likely to train your cat and more likely to make them afraid of you.
-Do not use environmental punishers on cats that are skittish or nervous. They could potentially make them reluctant to enter the room at all or even scared to move around the house.