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I have a cat that is around 5 years old. I used to feed her 3 times a day around 1/4 a cup of food, but the vet said she was gaining a little weight and would like to see her 1 pound (lb) lighter ideally.

I changed from feeding her 1/4 cup of food at 6am, 1pm, and 9pm to 1/4 cup of food at 9pm and 8am. Now she is begging at 7am in the morning for food and this has been going on for about 4 months now where she hasn't adapted to the new feeding times. Her weight has stabilized and she is much more active than she was before but she is continuing to beg at 7am and getting more aggressive by meowing and pawing at me.

How can I make her stop begging, should I just move up her feeding to 7am?

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Maybe the time between the feedings is to long for her now. Cats also tend to eat several smalls portions a day. One of my cats wants to eat after playing sessions. Both of my cats wake up later when we played in the evening. Therefore I suggest trying the folling steps:

  • Divide the amount of food in three and feed three times a day, one in the morning, one in the evening and one before you go to bed.
  • Before feeding the last time make sure that your cat had some active time, especially in the evening. Try to play with her in the evening to prevent that she sleeps while you are still up and encourage her to rest when you are resting. You said she is more active now, so maybe she needs more playtime from you.
  • Try to avoid feeding her when she is begging, since that would teach her when she is begging she will get food. I don't mean torturing her, try to satisfy her needs otherwise / beforehands, so that you don't have to feel bad for her when you ignore her begging and ideally she doesn't have the need for it anymore.

Edit: this is all assuming that she does get enough food now. (I don't have experience with dry food and when feeding moist food active cats usually eat as much as they want.)

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    I did a small variation to this. Since the food comes from a dispenser, she learned to stop begging me and to "stalk" the dispenser and I started engaging with her only during the day and not around meal times so she wouldnt associate me with the food. – Richard R Feb 16 '17 at 2:41
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Move the feeding time to 7PM, so the cat knows pestering you in the morning doesn't produce food. Mine are on a dispenser for dry food, and get the wet food at completely unpredictable times. That doesn't keep them from walking on me n the morning, but that's just because they want attention and/or a warm spot.

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