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Crying at feeding times

MorganDax

Savannah Super Cat
#1
When I got my first Savannah she would yell at me when I fed her. Like, not just meow at me, but meow super loud, right in my face, very much demanding food. It got very stressful for me so I trained her to stop doing it. It wasn't even that hard. Unfortunately, I don't remember how I did it, only that I was feeding kibble at the time, and now I feed raw and canned. So there was no food prep involved like there is now. I remember thinking I had to reward the behaviour I wanted, so obviously I fed her when she was quiet, and it totally worked, but I don't remember the specifics. Did I stop even walking towards her food when she meowed? Did I only put the food down once she stopped meowing? How long did she have to not meow before I fed her? So many intricacies I just don't recall!

So now I have two of them, and the second one cries almost constantly. I got the second one to keep the first one company when I was gone working but I've since lost my job and am home all the time with them. I have pretty severe mental health issues, so leaving the house is a challenge most days. I'm lucky to have a very supportive spouse, but while financially we're all okay, I'm really having a tough time with the cats since I got the second one. I've tried to just accept she's a whiner and not let it bother me, but the problem is she's gotten the other one meowing at feeding times again and they're driving me up the wall with it. I've tried feeding one at a time and waiting till they're not meowing to feed them, but the lengthy prep time and the fact that there's two of them is making the entire operation sooo insanely stressful for me and I'm having trouble with consistency and rewarding one while the other meows incessantly, and they feed off each other so they get louder and more insistent the longer I make them wait sometimes, all the while their food gets cold, and the younger one won't eat at all if it isn't just right and the older one barfs it back up if it isn't warm. Even with all my efforts it seems like they're getting worse instead of better and I'm going crazy! Should I go back to kibble?
I have anxiety and depression issues and I just don't have the energy for this. Lately, I'm really starting to second guess whether I'm even cut out to be a Savannah mom. :( I'm so stressed about my inability to properly take care of them. I know they don't get enough stimulation but I'm so low on energy due to the depression so playing with them regularly is a chore. I manage a decent play session about once a week, but it's not nearly enough for them. I got the second one to play with the first one but they never really bonded as well as I'd hoped. They do chase each other around but it seems less like play and more like expending excess energy and aggression. They want me to play with them all the time and I just can't do it. *sobs*

Anyway, does anyone have any tips on how to train/curb meal-time meowing?
 

Attachments

Ninja-n-Bear

Site Supporter
#2
Do have a room you could put them in during food prep? Maybe make it a playtime thing, put some toys in there and stuff? Just a thought. I’ve got one whiner out of three cats, he drives me crazy!

I’d maybe go so far as to feed them in that room, too...
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#3
All 4 of mine get locked in a room while I'm preparing their meals. I let them out when I've put their food at their feeding stations. Two of them have to be in rooms with the doors closed while eating because they'll inhale their food and then try to steal the others' food. Havoc & warfare. They still cry while they're locked up waiting to eat and when they're done eating waiting to be set free but at least they're not up in my face.
 

MorganDax

Savannah Super Cat
#4
I already separate them for meal times, and I often put the whiny one somewhere else for food prep once she starts up (which is pretty much any time I enter the kitchen, or stand up, or look at her, or don't look at her... *sigh*) Locking her up helps in the sense that even though she meows while in there, she isn't following me around doing it. This morning she scarfed and barfed. She always eats insanely fast, but keeps it down, so that's a fun new thing. :rolleyes:

Ideally I'd really like to train them to be quiet before meals. Like I did with the older one before I got the second.
 

MorganDax

Savannah Super Cat
#5
Do have a room you could put them in during food prep? Maybe make it a playtime thing, put some toys in there and stuff?...
I will try selecting a special 'feeding' toy for her to play with in a locked room before meal times. She may just ignore it, knowing food is coming, but it's worth a shot.
 
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Patti

Admin
Staff member
#7
I agree with the others, put the cats in another room while you're preparing their food so they don't know what is going on. As far as their activity level, perhaps you could invest in a cat wheel - once constructed (and most are fairly easy to do so) and they learn how to use it, it takes no effort from you. Several of my cats are addicted to the wheel.