How can I train Terra the Cat to leave my ice cream alone?

thefishyone

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For most of her life, Terra could tolerate very small amounts of dairy, but now that she’s older, even small amounts will upset her stomach. The thing is, I’ve allowed Terra to inspect and sample small amounts of what I’m eating (assuming it’s safe for cats, of course). When Terra wants to try something that’s safe for people but toxic to kitties, I will take it away and tell her “not safe for the kitty.” I usually have to repeat this process a few time, but she usually gets it.

Terra absolutely LOOOOVES vanilla ive cream with caramel. She also loves a dental treat I get from her vet called Feline Greenies. I’m thinking of trying to use greenies to train her not to eat my ice cream, but I’m not sure how to do it in a way that doesn’t reward bad behavior. Any tips on how I can use her favorite cat treat to get her to stop eating my ice cream, without reinforcing her trying to steal it?
 
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thefishyone

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At her last vet appointment, I think she waa 9.8 pounds. That means she was 0.3 pounds overweight, so I put her on a small diet and played with her more. She’s not a young cat anymore, so when she next sees her vet I’m going to talk with him about switching to senior cat food.

In case I didn’t mention it before, people food represents less than 0.5% of her monthly food intake. She only gets small tastes a few times a month. She’s Terra, not Garfield.
 

rubysmama

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The only thing I can suggest is to either not eat the ice cream when she's around, or go into a different room and close the door to eat it. I just feel if she loves ice cream, the Greenies treat isn't going to be good enough to be better than ice cream.
 

ArtNJ

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Its going to be very hard since she has been able to have some for years. Develop a clear signal, like whacking the table with your hand. Might need to combine with putting her down a bunch of times. Eat ice cream doing this a dozen times . . . and maybe?

Years ago we gave tiny amounts of deli turkey for a while and had similar troubles. We stopped because it turned them into monsters that wouldn't stay off the table, not for health reasons. After stopping, the transition was very difficult. You might well need to use the airlock method noted by rubysmama rubysmama above. I share her doubts that treats alone is going to fix this.
 

Cat McCannon

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Try placing treats in Terra’s dish and give them to her when you have ice cream. Don’t place the dish on the table.

Or, give the treats by hand when she’s on the floor. Have her earn the treats by rewarding her for responding to commands, such as “Terra, sit.”

Or play with her instead. It slows down your ice cream eating, but if it works, it’s worth it.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi

I like Cat McCannon's thought :)

What are you looking for by possibly switching to cat food that's labelled as being for senior cats?

Most of the labelling of pet food is pure marketing to the human consumer. Unless you look at the ingredients and nutritional make-up yourself, your vet isn't going to be a very good source of information (they aren't trained in cat nutrition and can be swayed by brand promotion), unless the clinic has a nutritionist on their staff.

One way to look at cat food could be to find a brand that keeps to the minimum aafco requirements such as with iodine. I'm not affiliated with them but one brand that is like this is Weruva.

Another option would be to talk to a nutritionist on your own;
Diplomate Directory
 
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thefishyone

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Wwll, I just got done eating some ice cream with Terra there, and here’s what happened:

When I busted open the ice cream, she slowly made her way across the table, expecting a taste. I moved away from her and told her, “Not safe for the kitty.” I then put a greenie on the table and told her, “It’s for you.” She ate the greenie, and much to my surprise, lost interest in the ice cream, the tried to get more greenies from a hole she once chewed in the bag (before I started hiding them from her).

This went on for a few minutes, then she tried to lap up some of the melt from under the lid. When I told her “Not safe for the kitty,” she let out a meow of anguish and despair and went up to my room. When I was done, I went upstairs, told her what a good cat she was, and offered her more greenies, which she happily accepted.

The only thing I can think of as to why this went as well as it did is because for her entire life, Terra has shown a strong preference for crunchy food (which is likely why she loves greenies so much), and ice cream doesn’t have that satisfying crunch she loves. I imagine she likely would have preferred the ice cream, if given a choice, but greenies appear to be an acceptable substitute if she simply can’t have any.
 

alphakitty

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For most of her life, Terra could tolerate very small amounts of dairy, but now that she’s older, even small amounts will upset her stomach. The thing is, I’ve allowed Terra to inspect and sample small amounts of what I’m eating (assuming it’s safe for cats, of course). When Terra wants to try something that’s safe for people but toxic to kitties, I will take it away and tell her “not safe for the kitty.” I usually have to repeat this process a few time, but she usually gets it.

Terra absolutely LOOOOVES vanilla ive cream with caramel. She also loves a dental treat I get from her vet called Feline Greenies. I’m thinking of trying to use greenies to train her not to eat my ice cream, but I’m not sure how to do it in a way that doesn’t reward bad behavior. Any tips on how I can use her favorite cat treat to get her to stop eating my ice cream, without reinforcing her trying to steal it?
Stop eating ice cream.

Alpha Kitty
 
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thefishyone

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****UPDATE****

Last week, I had to shoo Terra away from the ince cream and bribe with greenies to leave it alone. Half an hour ago, I brought it out for the second time, and she didn’t so much as jump up on the table! She let me eat in complete peace. I told her she waa a good girl and wonderful kitty, and she led me upstairs to claim her reward.

As a kitten, Terra was unusually respectful of my food, and would only take tastes when I made it clear she was welcome to do so. Perhaps she just went back to her natural behavior once it was clear she was no longer welcome, or maybe she just really REALLY loves greenies?
 
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