cat with stolen meat

Why Do Cats Steal Your Food?

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by admin

It’s possible that your cat is stealing your food due to a combination of instinct and boredom. Cats might steal food because they are hungry or like the taste of the other food better, or as part of resource guarding or bullying. In some cases, a health disorder such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism may be the culprit. Additionally, cats are naturally curious and attracted to the smell of cooked meat, which can trigger their innate hunger and the impulse to hunt. If your cat is particularly food motivated, then negative reinforcement will not be effective in deterring the behavior. To help prevent stealing, try feeding him at the same time you eat, and make sure not to leave food out on any surfaces. Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that there is also a documented condition called Psychogenic Abnormal Feeding Behavior which can affect cats, so if you think your cat may have this condition, it’s best to consult a vet.

Natural Instinct

Cats have a natural instinct to hunt, which is why they often steal food. This instinct is linked to their need to expend energy, which is why they might be more likely to steal if they haven’t had a chance to play or exercise. In addition, cats are neophilic, meaning they enjoy variety and trying new things. If your cat’s diet only consists of the same foods, it could lead them to search for more interesting flavors. This can manifest itself in stealing food from you or other animals.

Hunger or Taste

It is possible that cats are stealing food because they are either hungry or they simply like the taste of the other food better. Cats have their own personal taste when it comes to quality and flavor, and it’s not uncommon for cats to prefer one type of food over another. If your cat is stealing food, it could be because it prefers the taste or texture of the other food to its own. Of course, cats can be quite demanding when it comes to mealtime if they’re hungry, so make sure you provide ample servings of your cat’s preferred food. Additionally, cats are naturally curious and like to explore the world with their five senses, including taste. If your cat is getting into your food, try to keep it out of reach or offer it a tasty treat as an alternative.

Resource Guarding or Bullying

Resource guarding and bullying are two of the most common reasons why cats steal your food. Resource guarding is a form of aggression where cats protect their resources, such as food, toys, or litter boxes, from other cats or animals. This type of behavior is usually seen in multi-pet homes where there is competition for resources. Bullying is another form of aggression where more dominant cats intimidate and harass subordinate cats in an attempt to gain access to resources. Cats can become aggressive if they feel like their resources are being threatened, so it’s important to keep an eye on any changes in your cat’s behavior and make sure that everyone is getting enough to eat.

Smells of Cooked Meat

Cats are highly sensitive to smell, and they are attracted to the smell of cooked meat. They are naturally drawn to the scent of a freshly cooked meal, and they will often be tempted to steal it. Cats also don’t like cold food and are more likely to eat something that is warm. They can also identify fat, which is an important part of their diet, and they may be drawn to the smell of fat trimming off meat or bones. All these smells can entice cats to steal food, but it’s important to remember that stealing food can be a sign of a health disorder and should be investigated if it becomes a regular occurrence.

Health Disorder

As mentioned before, an increased appetite can be a symptom of certain cat diseases. For this reason, it is important to observe your cat’s eating habits closely and consult with a veterinarian to rule out any health-related issues. Feline obesity is also a problem that should be taken into consideration, as cats who are overweight or obese may steal food simply because they are hungrier than usual. If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure their health and well-being.

Associating Eating with People

Cats in colonies can also be seen stealing food, as they may associate eating with people. When cats observe humans eating, they might instinctively think that they should also be eating. This is why cats may try to steal food off of countertops or tables, as they are trying to mimic the behavior of the humans around them. It is important to remember that cats have different nutritional needs than humans and that they should not be fed ‘people food’. Cats should be given specially formulated cat food that is designed to meet their nutritional needs and keep them healthy.

Food Motivated Cats

While many cats are naturally self-regulating when it comes to food intake, some cats lack the capacity to recognize that they are full. This could be due to a health disorder or it could simply be because your cat is overly food motivated. If your cat tends to be very food motivated, it may be stealing food in order to assuage its hunger or because it prefers the taste of the other food. In this case, it is essential to try feeding them separately and providing them with enough food and enrichment activities throughout the day. Additionally, providing your cats with a variety of flavors, textures and temperatures in their food can help keep them interested and satisfied.

Cats in Colonies

In colonies, cats with seniority or stronger personalities may eat before those who are lower on the social scale. This is a natural way for cats to establish their dominance and secure the food supply for their colony. It is important to remember that when you are feeding cats in a colony, those who are higher on the social scale will be the first to eat. Do not be concerned about or try to intervene in this behavior as it is a normal part of the natural hierarchy among cats.

Psychogenic Abnormal Feeding Behavior

Have you noticed that your fur baby is obsessed with food? It could be a sign of a health disorder known as psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior (PAFB). This disorder is caused by a mental health issue underlying the abnormal feeding behavior. Cats with this condition are excessively preoccupied with food, often to the point of eating non-food items. It is important to seek out professional help from your veterinarian if you think your pet is suffering from this condition.

Teaching Good Mealtime Manners

Teaching your cat good mealtime manners can help prevent it from stealing your food. One of the most important things to do is feed him his meals at the same time you eat yours. This way, he will be more likely to associate eating with your presence, instead of thinking that he has to steal food from you in order to get it. Additionally, Dr. Schwartz recommends providing your cat with an adequate food bowl, as whisker fatigue can be caused by an inadequate dish. Other training tips include holding a desired piece of food and directing your pet to the floor if they are causing a nuisance at meal time. Finally, try to avoid feeding them rich and fatty foods, as this can lead to painful bouts of indigestion. By following these tips, you can help your cat learn good mealtime manners and reduce the chances of it stealing food from you!