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Dr. Sandy
Dr. Sandy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 195
Experience:  Feline practitioner for over 22 years. Served on AzVMA Board of Directors
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Why does my cat insist that I watch her eat and pet her while

Customer Question

Why does my cat insist that I watch her eat and pet her while she eats? She cries and cries and meows quite loudly - to me and anyone else who comes to my apartment until they follow her to her bowl. If you stop petting her, even for a moment, she notices and she'll stop eating and look up and cry. If you leave the room, she'll come find you and the process begins again. Please help!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Sandy replied 7 years ago.
Oh dear, cat behavior issues are very perplexing. Wanting someone nearby while eating can be a sign of respect. She may want your "approval." Cats like to be petted and rubbed because back rubs just feel good. Perhaps combining two pleasant things, a back rub with a good meal just increases her enjoyment.
As to "fixing' this problem.......hmmmm.......
Perhaps only feed her when you are leaving the apartment. You could isolate her in a bathroom with her food at mealtimes. It all depends on how annoying this behavior is to you.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
HI, thank you for your suggestion but yes, I don't mean to sound rude but the problem IS escalating. I think it's because I am home all the time now because of losing my job. She has become quite the pest about it and i am beside myself with frustration. I've tried ignoring her. I've tried acquiescing. I've tried putting her in the bedroom and closing the door and I succumb to her pitiful meows. I just don't know what to do! Please help! Thank you SO much!
Expert:  Dr. Sandy replied 6 years ago.
Wow, after seven months and no accept of the original answer I am surprised to hear from you. There are several reasons cats will vocalize. A urinary tract infection will cause cats to vocalize, high blood pressure can cause vocalizations from cats. You should see a vet for a general check up and blood / urine tests to rule out a physical problem. Once that is ruled out, (or if found, addressed), you can move on to address behavior issues. Siamese cats particularly, but also other breeds are naturally vocal. It sounds like your cat loves you very much. If you do not love her as much perhaps you should find a good home where her social behavior is better tolerated, and appreciated.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Dr. Sandy,

“Oh, dear” is right. There seems to be a grave miscommunication here. The only reason you did not receive a reply from me for six months, as you were sure to point out, was due to an error in my understanding of the Answers.com process. I thought everything was taken care of until just a day or two ago when I received a message from Answers.com saying otherwise. It is then that I added to my response.

Regardless, a misunderstanding on my part (with regard to Answer.com) pales in comparison to the apparent leap in judgment you have made regarding my personal character and the deep love and devotion I have for my cat Rhoda. (And, I feel, animals in general).

I have always dreamed of being a veterinarian but have had to settle for working in the high-tech PR /advertising industry and dedicating as much as my free time and resources as I can to advocating the human-animal bond. I rescued Rhoda, along with many other cats from horrible conditions and life-threatening situations in my capacity volunteering at a 24-hour emergency pet animal hospital here in the Portland, Oregon area.

It truly breaks my heart in more ways than I can EVER express that my question led you to see me in any way other than a loving doting, beyond mother to this child of mine (in fact I do not have children and prefer the company of my furry children).

I moved up to the Pacific Northwest, in fact, because I was unable to have a dog in San Francisco, where I am originally from, although I did volunteer at the SPCA there and spent years dog cat and various other animal-sitting in the SF and Bay Area. Now, being here in Portland, I still will not have a dog, only a cat, because I have an apartment and do not feel it fair to confine a dog to such a limited space. (My friends still rib me when I go home early from a dinner party because I am worried about my cat being home alone so long).

Despite my 6-figure salary in the past, I dropped it with a smile to become a vet tech. At first I was concerned I would not be able to handle the job because of how emotional I might get. Surprisingly, I found it to be cathartic to help those going through their pain, whether it was as simple as a tooth extraction for their pet or the intensity of having to make decisions about euthanizing their loved one. In the short time I was able to work in this field, I was able to deliver healthy kittens and puppies, take home and nurse abandoned animals of various species, assist in a variety of minor surgeries and see amazing animals and procedures like immunizations for West Nile virus on camels, check up on a Siberian Lynx, and the fanciful leaping of ring-tailed lemurs.

Many pet owners hugged me through tears and I was even given a monetary gift once from a pet’s mom who said she could tell how much I loved these animals despite what I was being paid and that she thought that I “was truly an angel.”

I do not say any of this to brag or to be smarmy in any way. Simply put, it was you yourself who recommended I “perhaps only feed her when you are leaving the apartment. You could isolate her in a bathroom with her food at mealtimes.” It pained me to do so, so how dare you then imply, after I complied with your directive, “If you do not love her as much perhaps you should find a good home where her social behavior is better tolerated, and appreciated.” It was you who also used the word “annoying” as well, may I remind you. Not me.

I love my cat, Dr. Sandy. I have more pictures, videos, nicknames, posters, food bowls, songs, poems, t-shirts, and friends gagging and rolling their eyes about her and my insistence in constantly talking about her than you will EVER know or possibly understand. It is not just that you could not have possibly known that because you don’t know me. Of course you couldn’t have. It’s that you smugly assumed otherwise.

I came to you BECAUSE I love her. Not because she annoys me or because I cannot tolerate her. You’ve got it backwards. I am so sorry you misunderstood. Perhaps I should have better articulated all the things I have tried. She does not have an illness and she has all her immunizations and goes to her doc regularly. I am attentive mom, but perhaps not as much as I should be. I am loaded with guilt about that, despite my friends’ insistence that I am an overly doting mother. I simply hoped there was a simply solution that would bring her peace without robbing her of food or lovings or causing her to be further distressed. (And of course, I would like the constant crying to be minimized if possible, as that hurts my heart). I will not be bothering you with this matter any longer, however, but I do thank you for your assistance. Perhaps a behavioralist or another vet check up will shed further light on the matter. I do apologize for wasting your time.

I don’t expect you to know my life story or any of the things I unloaded on you in this diatribe. I simply hope that next time you think you DO know how a person feels and can quickly make a synopsis on their personal character, you might want to take a breath, step back and rethink it. You could be wrong. But worse than that, you could stand to hurt someone’s most deep, most important value...to the core. Just FYI.

Thank you for your help. Best of luck to you.

Rhoda’s Mom,

Erika Whitmore [email protected]
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Dr. Sandy,

“Oh, dear” is right. There seems to be a grave miscommunication here. The only reason you did not receive a reply from me for six months, as you were sure to point out, was due to an error in my understanding of the Answers.com process. I thought everything was taken care of until just a day or two ago when I received a message from Answers.com saying otherwise. It is then that I added to my response.

Regardless, a misunderstanding on my part (with regard to Answer.com) pales in comparison to the apparent leap in judgment you have made regarding my personal character and the deep love and devotion I have for my cat Rhoda. (And, I feel, animals in general).

I have always dreamed of being a veterinarian but have had to settle for working in the high-tech PR /advertising industry and dedicating as much as my free time and resources as I can to advocating the human-animal bond. I rescued Rhoda, along with many other cats from horrible conditions and life-threatening situations in my capacity volunteering at a 24-hour emergency pet animal hospital here in the Portland, Oregon area.

It truly breaks my heart in more ways than I can EVER express that my question led you to see me in any way other than a loving doting, beyond mother to this child of mine (in fact I do not have children and prefer the company of my furry children).

I moved up to the Pacific Northwest, in fact, because I was unable to have a dog in San Francisco, where I am originally from, although I did volunteer at the SPCA there and spent years dog cat and various other animal-sitting in the SF and Bay Area. Now, being here in Portland, I still will not have a dog, only a cat, because I have an apartment and do not feel it fair to confine a dog to such a limited space. (My friends still rib me when I go home early from a dinner party because I am worried about my cat being home alone so long).

Despite my 6-figure salary in the past, I dropped it with a smile to become a vet tech. At first I was concerned I would not be able to handle the job because of how emotional I might get. Surprisingly, I found it to be cathartic to help those going through their pain, whether it was as simple as a tooth extraction for their pet or the intensity of having to make decisions about euthanizing their loved one. In the short time I was able to work in this field, I was able to deliver healthy kittens and puppies, take home and nurse abandoned animals of various species, assist in a variety of minor surgeries and see amazing animals and procedures like immunizations for West Nile virus on camels, check up on a Siberian Lynx, and the fanciful leaping of ring-tailed lemurs.

Many pet owners hugged me through tears and I was even given a monetary gift once from a pet’s mom who said she could tell how much I loved these animals despite what I was being paid and that she thought that I “was truly an angel.”

I do not say any of this to brag or to be smarmy in any way. Simply put, it was you yourself who recommended I “perhaps only feed her when you are leaving the apartment. You could isolate her in a bathroom with her food at mealtimes.” It pained me to do so, so how dare you then imply, after I complied with your directive, “If you do not love her as much perhaps you should find a good home where her social behavior is better tolerated, and appreciated.” It was you who also used the word “annoying” as well, may I remind you. Not me.

I love my cat, Dr. Sandy. I have more pictures, videos, nicknames, posters, food bowls, songs, poems, t-shirts, and friends gagging and rolling their eyes about her and my insistence in constantly talking about her than you will EVER know or possibly understand. It is not just that you could not have possibly known that because you don’t know me. Of course you couldn’t have. It’s that you smugly assumed otherwise.

I came to you BECAUSE I love her. Not because she annoys me or because I cannot tolerate her. You’ve got it backwards. I am so sorry you misunderstood. Perhaps I should have better articulated all the things I have tried. She does not have an illness and she has all her immunizations and goes to her doc regularly. I am attentive mom, but perhaps not as much as I should be. I am loaded with guilt about that, despite my friends’ insistence that I am an overly doting mother. I simply hoped there was a simply solution that would bring her peace without robbing her of food or lovings or causing her to be further distressed. (And of course, I would like the constant crying to be minimized if possible, as that hurts my heart). I will not be bothering you with this matter any longer, however, but I do thank you for your assistance. Perhaps a behavioralist or another vet check up will shed further light on the matter. I do apologize for wasting your time.

I don’t expect you to know my life story or any of the things I unloaded on you in this diatribe. I simply hope that next time you think you DO know how a person feels and can quickly make a synopsis on their personal character, you might want to take a breath, step back and rethink it. You could be wrong. But worse than that, you could stand to hurt someone’s most deep, most important value • to the core. Just FYI.

Thank you for your help. Best of luck to you.

Rhoda’s Mom,

Erika Whitmore [email protected]
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
She assumed I don't love my cat

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