The cat steals food: why it does it and how to solve this issue

If you are tired of ‘food theft’, find out why your cat steals food and how to help him stop.

What makes a cat special is the fact that it is spiteful: it can happen that it takes advantage of a moment of our distraction to throw us some bad tricks. One of these could be stealing food intended for us. If you have noticed that something is missing from your plate or lunch table, you don’t need to punish the feline: just understand what are the reasons that push him to do it and help him stop.

If the ration of food intended for him is not enough for the cat, but he cannot have more, let’s try to understand if the hunger that drives him to satiate is a symptom of some more serious ailment. It is not enough to justify his attitude by defining him as a ‘greedy cat’, rather with the help of a veterinarian, we try to exclude the symptoms of some eating disorder such as polyphagia and notice if he eats compulsively.

Are we always careful that the food bowl is full or have we delayed in giving him the baby food? The often hectic life of the owners can lead to unknowingly making mistakes: if our cat is hungry because his food bowl has not been filled, then he will try to get himself something to eat.

Another reason could be that the croquettes chosen are not to your liking: if we have been advised by the vet to change the diet of our cat, it may take some time before he gets used to the new meal. The important thing is that the croquettes are always of high quality and rich in proteins: it is better to prefer those made up of meat and few flours.

The food has softened: if for convenience or inexperience we have given an exaggerated amount of food to our cat, it will leave it where it is. A cat is unlikely to eat food that has been in cat’s bowl for a long time, as cat will feel it too soft and not to cat’s liking. Better to be careful to dose the food and, when he does not eat it, close it again to avoid wasting it.

Our responsibilities and how to solve the problem

A cat that steals is not necessarily just spiteful, it could also be our fault that we allowed it to develop bad habits. If from the beginning we have allowed our feline to approach our table, or worse, we have given him part of our meal, the cat will have got used to this convenience. The cat is an animal of habit and if we have allowed it to behave like this several times, it will be difficult to change its routine. If one day we give him some food and the next day we forbid it, the cat could easily get confused and continue to take food in our absence or when we are distracted because deep down he believes that there is nothing wrong!


But all is not lost: you can change bad habits but it takes time and above all you don’t need to get impatient. First of all it is good not to attack the animal in any way: it is not his fault if we have allowed him to do it too many times and now we have changed our mind. A sharp ‘No’ and a few more cuddles will suffice. Before it reaches the food, let’s pick it up, move it away from it and keep it away. By repeating this attitude, the feline will understand that he will no longer be able to do it.

Of course it is good to be careful not to leave the food unattended or within reach of our cat: it is okay that he has to get used to it, but let’s not leave the plate under his nose!

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