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My dog keeps eating my cat's food. (Behavior issue). What to do?

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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:20 PM
Original message
My dog keeps eating my cat's food. (Behavior issue). What to do?
Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how have you dealt with it?

I've had kitties all of my life. Dogs came later along w/my partner of many years. The dog I have now, (Max) is a 12 year old large breed who was 'taught' during his puppy years by my very assertive cat (who pre-dated Max) to not even think of touching her food!!!

But alas, after a very long and happy life, Max's feline older 'sister' crossed over the rainbow bridge several months ago.

After a grieving period, I adopted a new feline friend. This time, I purposely chose a (young-ish) adult cat whose options seemed bleak. Animal Shelter employees told me that he had been with them for over 5 months and was up for euthanasia soon due to his length of time there, overcrowding, and the fact that there had been very little interest in him despite his sweet disposition. Everyone wants kittens apparently. :-(

--- Ok, so the issue----

{As a disclaimer, first, let me say that this is NOT normal behavior for my dog. I think he feels threatened, resentful, and above all, jealous of the new arrival, so of course his change in behavior is not a total surprise.} We are doing our best to re-assure him, fwiw.

When I first noticed what was happening, I began putting my new kitty's food in his cat carrier under a table w/a kind of 'barricade' of chairs around it. That works as long as someone is around to keep an eye on Max. It's quite simple to catch him because it takes some work on his part to get to the food without someone hearing or seeing him do it. Plus, he is 'usually' well-behaved and obedient around us anyway... he loves praise and abhors our disapproval.

But my partner and I cannot be home at all times (or simply pay attention to what is going on at night), therefore this raiding of the cat-food has been happening repeatedly. I don't think there is much harm in a dog eating cat food, but worry about my Max-dog aspirating on the small pieces (I can hear him sometimes). Also, I'm not in a position to afford buying so much catfood, especially since he is eating the wet food too, if I fail to catch him. Furthermore, Max's OWN food intake; his expensive Eukanuba, has inexplicably increased! WTF?

The only thing that seems to work is putting the cat's food up on the table or kitchen counter. It's a temporary solution, because there is no way that I wish to see this continue.

For a possible solution, I've thought about buying one of those cat indoor play climbers and perhaps finding a spot to put his food up there? However, these play areas are not inexpensive as well. Has this sort of thing happened to anyone else, and if so, what have you done to put an end to it?
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LoveMyCali Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Can you put the kitty's food up higher
My sister had this issue and she put the cat's dish up on a desk because the kitty will jump up there but the dog can't. I think a friend of mine also solved this problem by keeping the cat's dish on top of her washer.
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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Hey that idea could work for me-
on top of the washer I mean. or -anywhere- in the basement for that matter.

My dog *can* navigate the basement stairs but only w/much coaching. He's a giant, brave dog, but big wimp about those old, steep, narrow stairs.

Thanks for the idea. I may give it a go.

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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. first, thanks so much for adopting an adult cat -- the older ones
always really need someone to save them.

Hm. I agree with the first poster that you just need to put the food up higher, and try not to leave wet out at night or when you're not around. Just feed your kitty wet food when you can be nearby so the dog doesn't get it. I have five cats, and I generally split just one small can of Fancy Feast between them once a day. Maybe I'll crack open a second one if they seem particularly hungry. So your cat probalby doesn't need a lot of moist food, at least not all in one sitting.

Cat food is usually much higher in calories than dog food, so aside from the cost issue, which with I greatly sympathize, your dog might start to gain too much weight.



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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. About the cat food being higher in calories-
I had no idea, but it makes sense. After all, my dog's butt has grown quite a bit lately. Well that, and I've apparently been spoiling both of my 'fur-babies' far too much w/food- I kept filling and refilling the dry food bowls, because I've (seen) but never dealt w/an overweight cat or dog. But if things keep going this way, I may have to feed my pets your way- probably should anyway for health reasons... Wow! You give 5 cats that amount of wet? Aren't those Fancy Feast cans very small or am I thinking of a different brand?

-Hmmm... wondering aloud if my this cat's (apparent) ravenous appetite has something to do w/a period of deprivation while on the street(s)????

My previous cat (heck ALL of my previous cats) would always eat small portions, then walk away. They would come back from time to time and eat more, but food only seemed to be about 'fuel' to keep them going. The 'yummie-ness' just appeared to be a bonus. Hmmm- never really thought about it before this...

This shelter cat of mine (whose new name btw is 'Winston') is a mystery.

He was obviously loved dearly by someone at some point in his life. I can tell just by his disposition. Seriously, how many cats purposely roll over so you can scratch their belly- SUCH- a vulnerable spot?!? Especially after only a few weeks of knowing their new 'parents' ;-). I know he didn't learn that at the Shelter. That is only one of many things that leads me to believe this.

Sorry to have gone on and on. You've given some great advice and much to think about. I have had many cats who have lived long lives... (2 have even lived beyond their 19th birthdays) but neither of the 2 were ever big eaters and were always active) It makes sense to really consider diet for them as much as we do for ourselves.

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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 05:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. That works for me, too.
I used to feed the cats in another room, but then I had to remember to shut/open the door, and I left the dry food down all the time. We have a small table where the cats' food bowls are and the cats are used to getting up there. My dog's small enough that he doesn't even notice, though all of them have known each other long enough that they have very few issues.

I also thank you for adopting an adult cat. I've done that, myself, three times, and they have made wonderful pets. They grow up soon enough, anyway, and I've never been the least bit disappointed... :hi: :yourock:
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. I have a picture somewhere of my family's English Setter standing on a table eating the cat food.
Some dogs just don't get the concept of NO! LOL
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
4. Our cats keep eating our dogs' food
We moved the cat food up on a wide window ledge a long time ago, but now the cats want to eat the dog food.

Ya can't win.

:shrug:
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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. Hehe! My new cat eats dog food too.
I don't think he really likes it, but just does it for the hell of it I think.

Your cat's motivations sound completely different however. Are you sure they haven't been watching Fox news in your absence?

"We. We have 'earned' ours because we have to climb on the window ledge, but YOU- you canine bottom feeder... you deserve nothing. NOTHING I tell you!!!"

JK!!! I'm sure they are very sweet! :hi:

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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. Actually I have the cats on a low-carb grain free food
The dogs have grain-free food too, but it has less protein than the cat food, so the cats view the dog food as "junk food".
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freshwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. Hope the dog can't get at the litter box, or your next doggie kiss might be more interesting.
:hide:

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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. Ick!!! Yes he can get at the box...
Oh. Em. Gee. So THAT is what that crunchy noise he makes is about after our good-night kisses.

I've always wondered, but thought it had something to do w/the rest of his night-time routine... you know, that twirling thing they do before settling down et. al? x(
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RedCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
6. Some dog foods have fish in them. I suspect, may be a lure in cat food.
But be thankful they are eating the cat food BEFORE the cat eats it and not AFTER.
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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. Thank you for the warning-but too late
However, I am thankful to report that my partner, our dog and I lived to tell the tale of that horrific incident involving the sauna, the missing key, and that dog comb. Oh and that damn towel!!! We are all ok though. :-)

Ummm- what were we talking about? :silly:
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
7. Wow, this makes sense to me!
"Max's OWN food intake; his expensive Eukanuba, has inexplicably increased! WTF?"

I've been reading Why We Get Fat, and it makes the point that sometimes cause and effect is reversed - we don't get fat because we eat too much, we eat too much because we are fat. The idea is that excess carbs create more insulin and decreases leptin, and the result is an increase in appetite and no hormonal switch that tells you when you are full. And then once you have more fat, the fat works to suck more energy into the fat cells, so even though you are eating more, your muscles and organs are nutrient deprived, so your inclination is to eat even more because the malnutrition contributes to you feeling hungry. It's cool to see that maybe playing out in a dog, it validates some things in the book.
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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 04:04 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. I suppose it is totally possible
I have not read the book, therefore much of what you are saying here is a bit foreign to me.

However, there is a part that you mention that I can totally relate to; THIS---> "and the result is an increase in appetite and no hormonal switch that tells you when you are full. I can't help but wonder if this is more common then medical professionals realize...

THIS happened to me while I was on a certain kind of medication. (I will not say what it was for fear of... well you probably know)... but IT happened. It was exactly like they say. I felt hungry all of the time, never satiated, therefore gained 60 pounds in less then four months! It was as if there WAS some kind of 'switch' in my brain; the one that tells you when you are full...and it was not working.

At that time, my regular doctor of 15+ years (who had nothing to do with this prescription) was horrified when he saw me during an annual visit. Not about my weight exactly... he had wanted me to gain a few pounds anyway. He just was astounded by what this drug had done to me- Weight being only one of the symptoms...

That was over over 5 years ago and I'm now back to my normal size. But I will never forget what is was like to be overweight. I liked the invisibility, but WOW... people can be cruel when the 'see' you!

OK, I've gotten WAY off track here, and I had been joking around until I saw your post--- I just want you to know that if you, or someone you know is dealing w/weight issues, I believe you/them if it is stated that you are being treated poorly. I believe you/them when you wonder aloud if there could be a physical cause... And I KNOW that if nothing "physical" is found, doctors may be wrong... and even if they are not, I also know that everyone has their own issues. Everyone.

Oh, an btw, that book sounds interesting. I'll see if my library has it.
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
8. Put the cat's food in a high enough place.
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
9. My cats eat on a high window ledge in the mudroom.
My sister feeds hers on top of the fridge. Just put it up higher
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erinlough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
10. After years of complaining from my husband
about the cats on a counter, table etc. I told him to build the cat a feeding station. Problem solved. It is basically a shelf the cat can jump up to, but the dog can not.
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trueblue2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-27-12 03:32 AM
Response to Original message
19. let the dog eat it
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