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Dooley biting my feet, anxious about getting fed

John Popp

Site Supporter
#1
While I've thought about some solutions prior to typing this, Dooley and I are having an issue with his morning feeding.

Dooley currently takes a medication called Keppra that makes him a little agitated or salty at times. In the morning, I prepare his daily food and medication for the day. The process usually takes about 20 minutes, filling the oral syringes, mixing up his food and giving him the first of his 3 daily pills. After preparing his food, I march him up to his room, as he needs to be separated from his brother eating "the good food". As I'm walking with his food, he scrambles to bite my feet. I know, I'm reinforcing the behavior by feeding him shortly after, but I think he is really just super wound up thinking about getting fed.

With some care, I can keep him off my feet and he rubs up against my shins. This process can be so slow that it will take me as long as 5 minutes to climb the stairs and get him into his room. The bites when he gets a clean shot aren't nibbles to get your attention, they are definitely hard and somewhat aggressive. He is obviously mad about needing to wait for his food, perhaps a little bit overstimulated as there are lots of discussions while I'm making his breakfast.

I'm thinking I probably need to prepare his food while he's actually locked down and eating. That will take a bit of planning, but I'm to a point where I really need something resolved as he got me pretty good this morning.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Slippers? When Nina was a kitten she used to be very excited when we got up as breakfast would happen. I mostly didn't see it as I am a habitual slipper wearer, but JN was complaining about it...and then one day I did actually walk through the house barefoot and the avid look on Nina's face spying my painted toenails was really funny, the pounces and nibbles not quite. I wear slippers every day without fail.

I see your point though, waiting 20 minutes for you to prepare the food and meds must a little torturous to a hungry critter... if there's any way to get him the initial meds and his food and then continue preparing the rest of the day's medications, that might be best.
 

Ninja-n-Bear

Site Supporter
#3
Is there anything you can give him as a light snack before proper breakfast? That's what I do in the morning first thing, it's not much - a chicken heart or some freeze dried nibs - but it satisfies them enough that they don't try to use my legs as a scratching post while I make my coffee and their food.

I second the wearing slippers, too, at least while working on resolving the behavior.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#4
Unfortunately, Dooley doesn't get any treat food because of his liver disease. It's a really disheartening as well as he is 100% food motivated. While he was still growing, he would consume as much as 2.5lbs in a day. Now, it's important that he takes on his food with the medicine so he passes any ammonia quickly. I can toss a few cucumbers chunks for him, although that's sure to get the rest of the circus motivated.

Not sure on the slippers, probably as a last resort. If I could go barefoot every day I probably would. I don't even really like to wear socks.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#6
Problem solved. Dooley got me a pair of slippers for Christmas, complete with monkey wrapping paper. They seem to address the issue and he just looks at my feet slightly confounded.

So from here on, I guess it's on me. Wear the slippers and keep my feet safe, or be nature boy and suffer the consequences.
 

Renee

Savannah Super Cat
#9
Lmao! Glad the slippers are working :)

Have you tried feeding the brother after he gets his food? Mine has super bad food aggression if his brother is fed before him.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#10
Yeah, his brother always gets his food second. Dino isn't the least bit food motivated and would rather chase around little pieces of cucumber than eat rabbit, venison, goat or lamb. We often end up feeding Dino raw by hand to get him to eat, dusting his food with crushed dehydrated chicken breasts, Fortiflora and putting cucumber cubes in marble-sized balls of raw

Another funny note is if Dooley should ever get accidentally released while Dino has food left, he growls crazy loud and then tries to take off with his brother's chow. He has never managed to get more than a mouthful as he broadcasts that he scored so loudly it puts us into a combat-ready status. The food is reluctantly surrendered and if you ever want your heart to start racing, try removing a 4 or 5oz piece of raw meat from the jaws of a growling 23lb cat.

That little bit of food would be enough for Dooley to show some neurological symptoms, some rocking or tremors with the outside possibility of a seizure. We've avoided him consuming enough of his brother's food to have an issue since he was diagnosed, but when you hear that growl you definitely know it's game on and a bit of trauma for all of us.