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How to Prevent (or Stop) Your Kitten from Begging at the Table :: How to Find the Perfect Cat Tree :: Nine Signs You need to Take Your Kitten to the Vet Immediately :: Cat-speak Dictionary: Tail Talk and Body Language

How to Prevent (or Stop) Your Kitten from Begging at the Table

Begging at the table is not a dogs-only habit. Your kitten can be just as big a pest as a puppy as he meows and pulls at your pants leg, rubs you, climbs in your chair or your lap, stalks your food from behind the centerpiece, and jumps on the table. All you need to do is give your kitten one scrap from the table to start a vicious cycle of begging, food stealing, and a lifetime of annoyance for you.

Begging is a very hard habit to break, so you're better off preventing your kitten from even thinking that cadging food from you is an option. Follow these rules:

  • Don't feed your kitten anything in the kitchen while you're making food.

  • Never give him anything from the table.

  • Never feed your kitten from dishes used on the table.

  • Never let him on the table, whether or not there's food on it.

  • Ignore him while you're at the table; don't give him any attention at all, physical or verbal.

  • Don't leave food on the table unattended. All your kitten needs to do is score one delicious morsel from your plate, and he'll keep coming back.

  • Feed your kitten before you eat. If he's not hungry, he'll be less likely to beg.

If you do all these things and your kitten still begs at your feet, it's Time Out time. Put him in another room with the door closed while you're eating.

Advice from Other Cat Owners 

Correcting bad behavior immediately

When I have new kittens in the house, I keep a baby rattle and a spray water bottle or a water gun near me at all times. When the kitten is doing something wrong such as clawing the furniture I either spray kitty with water or shake the rattle. You have to catch them in the act. Doing it afterwards does not help.

~Maria J., owner of two Domestic Shorthairs

Sharing Prevents Begging

Whenever I buy meat I generally buy an ounce or two more than I need and cook that plain, separately, for the cat. Since the cat is confident she will get a share to eat while everyone else eats, she doesn't bug me for food from the stove or table.

If she's curious about new foods (e.g. spinach salad), I let her sniff a piece so she assures herself she's not interested in them. This worked with my prior kitties (two Siamese who died in their 20s) and seems to be working now with my 9-month-old moggie.

This strategy basically falls under the "feed your kitten before you eat" category, but entails a little bit of capitulation since I'm giving her people food. The amount I give is not enough for her entire meal she gets it as a treat alongside her usual cat food.

~LisaT, owner of a domestic moggie with ear tufts

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