April 24, 2024
furry burglar

What to Do When Your Cat Has a Penchant for Thievery?


Case 1: When Your Cat Steals Out of Hunger 

Case 2: Dealing with a Bulimic Cat 

Case 3: Understanding Cats’ Pleasure-driven Instinct to Steal Case 4: Helping a Cat Who Can’t Resist Stealing

Case 4: Helping a Cat Who Can’t Resist Stealing

Cats possess remarkable ingenuity when it comes to pilfering items. Some slyly snatch food from the table when their owners’ backs are turned, while others have mastered the art of opening cupboards and even refrigerators. While most cats prefer meaty treasures, there have been instances of feline thieves making off with cakes, bread, or pasta. The motivations behind a cat’s pilfering behavior can vary, including hunger, binge eating, instinct, or simply finding pleasure in the act. Before attempting to break this habit, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause. This practical guide provides insights on what steps to take when your cat becomes a furry burglar.

Case 1: When Your Cat Steals Out of Hunger 

The most common reason for a cat to steal is hunger. Stray cats, in particular, will take whatever they can to satiate their empty stomachs. If your cat seems constantly hungry, consider the following factors:

  • Insufficient quantity of food
  • Inadequate quality of food (homemade or commercial)

Tip: Experiment with different or higher-quality cat food options. Generally, cats prefer multiple small meals throughout the day. If you typically offer only one or two meals, consider dividing them into more frequent servings or leaving dry food available for nibbling throughout the day.

Case 2: Dealing with a Bulimic Cat 

If your cat exhibits excessive eating behavior beyond normal hunger, it could be a sign of stress or an underlying health issue like thyroid problems. In such cases, you must consult your veterinarian promptly for a proper diagnosis and guidance.

Case 3: Understanding Cats’ Pleasure-driven Instinct to Steal 

furry burglar

Whether your cat steals for pleasure or instinctively acts on its predatory nature, the motivation is the same: satisfying its feline desires. This misbehavior is common and challenging to correct because cats enjoy it immensely. While there is no foolproof solution, you can take specific actions when catching your cat in the act:

  • Firmly say “No!” or clap your hands to interrupt the behavior.
  • Consider using a gentle water spray as a deterrent.
  • Some behaviorists suggest grasping the cat by the scruff of the neck, mimicking how a mother cat handles her young. However, this correction is more effective with kittens than with adult cats. 

Tip: When you’re away, ensure no tempting objects within your cat’s reach might encourage its thieving tendencies.

Case 4: Helping a Cat Who Can’t Resist Stealing 

If your cat has an irresistible urge to steal, you can redirect its behavior by providing alternative items to snatch. Strategically hide treats or kibbles around the house for it to discover and “steal.” Offer interactive toys like hollow balls or puzzle feeders to engage your cat’s instincts. These diversion tactics can be advantageous when you’re cooking and want to keep your feline companion out of the kitchen. 

Tip: Remember that cats can quickly lose interest in toys, so offer various options to keep them entertained and engaged.

In conclusion, understanding the reasons behind your cat’s stealing behavior is essential in addressing and correcting it effectively. Whether it’s hunger, bulimia, instinct, or pure pleasure, there are strategies you can employ to manage this behavior. By providing proper nutrition, seeking veterinary advice when needed, implementing deterrents, and offering alternative outlets for your cat’s instincts, you can create a harmonious environment where your feline friend is less inclined to steal. 

Patience and consistency are vital in helping your cat break the habit and become a well-behaved companion. With love, care, and a bit of creativity, you can guide your cat toward more appropriate behaviors and strengthen the bond you share.

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