Hand Feeding - Possessive Cats are Dangerous
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 23:36:54 -0800 Subject: FEL-L: possession / food
Bruce, You make a good point about feeding things. There is a very fine line between what is yours and what is their's. We have on occasion dragged whole deer carasses into the cage with our lion and tiger. But when we do I go in first and make both cats go to the opposite side of the cage and lay down and then my husband drags the deer in and then when he tells me its all clear I exit the cage. I have my eyes on the cats at all times. As long as its my food or deer its O.K. but as soon as I step away it is their food and I have no doubt they would kill me if I tryed to tell them otherwise. Carefully knowing your animal and paying close attention to details is really the key to safety and possibly staying alive. Glenda
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 08:20:33 -0500 Subject: FEL-L: hand feeding
>come to the conclusion that one should never hand feed any exotic animal.
I disagree with this, I had no problem whatsoever hand feeding the lions, tigers, leopards, and cougars I worked with. All were hand fed as cubs and we continued to do this throughout their lives. The only cat that ever got possessive over his food was the lion, and that was only when he was being fed through a fence, not when being hand fed. This cat actually let me put my entire hand in his mouth, with the meatball still in it, and would suck the meat out of my hand. Needless to say he is a very special lion and I wouldn't attempt this with any of the other cats. But not one of them was ever nasty when being hand fed. I think it all depends on the individual cat's personality and how they are raised.
Of course I don't recommend hand feeding a very hungry cat, that's silly. But I remember one or two instances when we were on an indoor job, carpeted area, and I couldn't throw the food down on the floor. I made sure I had all my meatballs made, sized for my hand, and was able to keep feeding him a steady stream with no hesitation. A person stood behind me holding the bowl of food (food was out of cat's sight), and placed a meatball in my hand as soon as I reached behind my back. The food was coming so fast, he didn't have to wait between meatballs, thus didn't have a chance to get impatient and upset. It can be done.
I know this won't work with every cat but saying NEVER just bothers me - Lisa
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 12:19:56 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: hand feeding
Sounds like my experience, following behind someone who tried to feed a lioness a whole chicken leg quarter thru a chain link fence. There was no way she was going to be able to pull it through the fence, but she was afraid I was going to take it away from her. So, I just waited until she _had_ to accept my help.
Most cats ask me to let go of the food before they'll take it. That probably makes the most sense, anyway.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 15:06:40 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: hand feeding
I always hand feed my cats and I teach all new owners that buy animals from me to do so also. When the cats are weaned they learn to take food from my hand and when it comes to bloody meat, they will lick the blood off of my hand. They all know where the meat ends and the human hand begins.
If you feed them this way you can always take things out of their mouth if they happened to get a hold of something that you do not want them to have.
It is funny, I had a cat once that I could hand feed all I wanted to but once I put the bowl of food down on the ground it became hers and she would growl at me.
Sorry, I think hand feeding is a great training tool. Chuffs and Purrs Jan
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 20:47:49 -0500 Subject: Re: FEL-L: hand feeding
I would like to add the owner's/handler's personality to that also > I found my cat to be extremely aggressive as a kitten (in regards to food), and after feeding methods geared to build his trust in me (not all without incident), at 14 months old, he now perceives me as his mommy (sounds kinda queer) that gets all his mealtime goodies prepared, as he waits patiently for them. In return, I respect his privacy while he is dining. I feel extremely lucky to have the relationship I have with him and enjoy the complete trust we share for each other. However, I have not and will not forget what he is capable of. Each cat/owner relationship is unique/different. Good luck to those who try, be patient, do not try to force it. If is not meant to be, its not meant to be. Don't cry over spilled milk (blood that is, from your mauled hand/arm - time will heal all wounds as I am sure most of you are quite aware of). May the force be with you!
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 23:01:46 -0500 Subject: Re: FEL-L: hand feeding
Have only raised two cougar kittens, both were hand fed and taught from the beginning that I gave food, but could also take it away and it would be given back again. Also would do "trades" for things when they had something I did not want them to have (like the thanksgiving turkey out of the refrigerator) lol. I think they should learn to let you take things from them as well as to take things gently from you. I agree, hand feeding is a great tool.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 08:50:41 -0600 Subject: Re: FEL-L: hand feeding
Just a quick note to let you know I agree with you about hand feeding bobcats. Mine is a big loving fur ball, EXCEPT when she is eating. Then it is very much "hands off". She sits on the fridge waiting for us to feed her, makin purring and chirping sounds. When she has the food in front of her, she makes real bobcat growls and snarls if someone walks close to "her" fridge. As soon as she finishes, she is ready to be loved again. For us, it is just part of her and we respect her not wanting to be touched while she is eating.
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 20:43:21 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: hand feeding
I have grandchildren, and although I tell them not to bother the cat (I have a Caracal) when he's eating, I still worry that they might, so, I handle him and his food when he's eating. He will let me take it from him, and rub him when he's eating. He doesn't mind being handled at all when he's eating. He loves liver, but will only eat it when I cut it in bite size pieces, and hand feed him one piece at a time. He's my baby. Maria. CATSGOWILD
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 11:35:35 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: Question? Aggression at feeding
I feel that feeding has more to do with socialize cats that any other single item in loving and care. I do not know if this will work on large cats. I have five bobs, two we live with (in the house) , and two in an out side enclosure. The two bobs that we live with eat out of the same dish at the same time. The two bobs outside eat out of their own dishes, side by side. I did not accomplish this over night, infact it took months. The two outside bobs were what I call human rejects or rescued cats, One female 7yrs. and one male 14 yrs.
I strongly believe if you over feed for months that eating becomes the lowest priority in their thought process. Our daily treat is chicken necks, before dinner, which I'm able to hand feed. We also have a treat time before bed time, that consist of venison, lam or pork heart, also hand fed, at the same time. This has work for me. TBR (The Big Ragoo)
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 11:17:09 -0800 (PST) Subject: Re: FEL-L: Question? Aggression at feeding
I've found two things make a difference with the bigger cats: familiarity with the feeder and how hungry the cat is. We've managed to avoid a lot of aggression at feeding in our bigger cats by feeding several times a day. A big feeding in the morning and three smaller snack feedings during the day. However, there is a tiger that pretty much doesn't want anyone else except 'mom' to feed him. My own lion, there can be no strangers around at all! But, from my experience, it seems that lions are a little more naturally possessive of their food in general. As for our little cats (lynx, ocelot and serval), none of them seems to care at all.
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 00:03:41 -0800 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Question? Aggression at feeding
I am not sure that feeding several times a day is a good practice. In their natural setting these creatures would eat once a week if they were having a good week. Feeding so many times during the day never gives the digestion systems time to rest or clean out. It is highly recommended that at least one day per week that you fast cats to simulate on a smaller scale the fast periods they would have in the wild.
Familarity with the feeder is a definate factor. I can hand feed through chain link and feed two cats in the same cage at the same time and you won't here much of anything out of them. My husband can feed but their is some fussing about things. In the catch pen area I can actually feed all four of the big cats here with out any aggression. But this is because I know these 4 cats very well and what their personalities are and what motivates them socially.
I have one female lion who is not that possessive of her food but the female tiger we have is very possessive of her food. It is just the opposite with the 2 males we have; the male lion is adamant about what is his and how the feeding is to go and the male tiger could care less. This is my experiences with the cats I care for and I am sure everybody would have different feeding stories that go with each cats personality.
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 10:56:33 -0800 Subject: FEL-L: aggression @feeding
Anyway, there are three of them in one cage. We put one in the den and close the guillotine door and the other two are handfed at their individual corners. If they were together they would fight for their food and these guys were bottlefed and had people going into the cages with them until around 6 1/2 months of age. Our general manager still goes in with them, just not during feeding!
They are generally nice any other time except during feeding, then their wild nature comes entirely out! They are the only ones that we have that are handfed in opposite corners because the rest of the cats only have two at the most in one cage. In that case, one goes in the den and one gets fed in the open area of the enclosure.