My Dog is a Bratface

I was going to quantify the title of this post by putting the word “sometimes” in parenthesis but less than ten seconds ago said trouble-making dog so perfectly illustrated the source of today’s rant that I have decided to leave out said quantifier. Shiva is a bratface. Full stop.

Me? But look how well I pose for holiday photos!

Me? But look how well I pose for holiday photos!

We have a problem here at Shiva’s House of Deluded Dreamers and it’s not going away. In truth, this problem has existed since the day we brought her home. However, previous domiciles enabled us to manage said problem without difficulty, thus preventing me from actually working on it. Now that we live in a new house that lends Shiva much more freedom, the problem has turned into a giant rhinoceros stampeding through the kitchen that we are incapable of stopping.

Let me backtrack.

Shiva will always eat the poison. Always. It is part of her DNA. If there is food available she will do all she can to scarf it as fast as possible. Whether it is waiting for me to look away, waiting for actual permission, or sneaking around in the middle of the night and risking death by falling off the top of the refrigerator. If there are edibles around, she will get to them. It is a law we live by.

One of her favourite edibles in the whole wide world of stomach-filling goodness is cat food.

We have a cat. You may have seen him around these parts before. In case you don’t recall, this is what he looks like:

Not as innocent as he would have you believe

Not as innocent as he would have you believe

Shiva will do anything to get at his full food dish. While we feed him good quality food, just as good as hers, and I am not concerned it will make her ill, we are not exactly pleased by this. For one thing, the cat deserves to eat in peace and he gets cranky if his dish is not full at all times. And I mean all times. He has always self-regulated his intake and so he is free fed. Even if he isn’t particularly hungry at the time he demands the food be there in case he wants to nibble half a crunchy.

For another, we are not billionaires. Good quality cat food is expensive and is not meant to be gobbled up by obsessed dogs bowlfuls at a time.

But how to get Shiva to leave it alone?

In previous houses there was always an easy management system built-in. The furnace room two houses ago featured a nifty door with a pre-cut cat-sized whole. It was magic. As long as we kept the food just out of reach of Shiva’s ridiculously long neck, the food was safe. In the last house, the puppy gate kept Shiva out of the basement when we weren’t around to watch her. There was this convenient little counter down there that was just high enough to give us time to prevent her from jumping up, but not too high to annoy the cat.

In our current house, there is no such pre-made solution. Which means in less than five months Shiva has devoured the cat’s food approximately 45,689 times. Currently, this is where we are precariously balancing his dish to keep it away from her greedy maw:

008Yes, that is indeed a very narrow windowsill in the laundry room. Yes, that is a really awkward place for the cat to balance while he eats his breakfast. Yes, Shiva can still get to it if we give her enough time.

But what to do? We have tried rigging cat-sized wholes in other areas of the house (see below) but somehow the dang bratfaced dog always finds a way in.

010We can’t keep this up. It’s annoying and it’s pricey and it’s not healthy for either animal. But I am out of ideas. No matter where we put the dish, the dog finds a way.

And so I entreat you multiple animal owners of the Petosphere. Have you ever had to out-smart your dog in such a way? How do you keep your dogs from enjoying a midnight snack of cat crunchies? The more creative your ideas, the better. I am at my wit’s end.

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21 Comments on My Dog is a Bratface

    • jet
      December 12, 2013 at 4:13 am (4 months ago)

      Yes, we have two baby gates, one in the hallway to keep the dogs out of the bedrooms when we are not home, and one in the laundry doorway which is added security. The laundry one I got for free because one of the bars fell out of it, perfect for the cats to saunter through. The great thing about that is we can keep the dog food and cat food in the laundry as well as the magical litter tray, and the cats can get to it but the dogs can’t.
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  1. 2 Punk Dogs
    December 11, 2013 at 8:51 am (4 months ago)

    Hey, we know this one! We have giant 6 inch hook and eyes on both bedroom doors, the bathroom door and the door to the front rooms. (yes, we have 7 freaking doors off the kitchen, the others stay closed) The cats can go everywhere while the dogs are stuck in the kitchen and pantry while we’re at work. (Not fair, but the cats don’t eat shoes, couches, bedspreads or litter box grossness.)

    We screwed an eye bolt onto the front of each of the 4 doors a little bit above the knob and attached a huge hook at the same height on the door frame. The hooks keep the doors open about 6 inches so the cats can squeeze through to get food and water & use the litter boxes, but the dogs can’t fit. If we ever decide to move we’ll have to patch a small screw hole on each door and frame, which isn’t too hard to do. I’ll have to take picks for a blog post, thanks for the idea!

    I’m surprised Shiva doesn’t help clean the litter box, how do you keep her out of it?

    Reply
  2. Sue
    December 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm (4 months ago)

    Could you get a piece of plywood (or similar) that can be fitted in the laundry doorway. Cut a hole just big enough for your cat to get through to get to the food. If you are clever you could put the board on hinges a bit like a screen door, so making it easier for you to go in and out.

    Reply
  3. melF
    December 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm (4 months ago)

    Oh how I can relate!!!

    Cupcake stole Nick’s food more times than I can remember. The only thing that worked was placing his dish in a room, putting up a baby gate (with just enough for him to get under) and moving it out of reach of Cupcake’s long nose. When I forgot about the gate, I paid the price because Nick would yell at me, but it was the only thing that kept her from his food.
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  4. lauren
    December 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm (4 months ago)

    i have no cat and one picky-ass dog and therefore no answers for you, but i can tell you that we had the extra-tall gate w/cat hole linked to above, and desmond launched himself over it regularly. easy peasy for him; waste of money and effort and time and sanity for us. luckily, petco let us return it. i imagine it’s no match for shiva either, but if you have a good return policy, i guess it can’t hurt.
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  5. Donna O.
    December 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm (4 months ago)

    I feel your frustration. We are STILL trying to outsmart Toby, with both the cat litter AND the cat food. Someone once suggested that I put an invisible fence around the litter box. If I wasn’t so anti-punishment, it would probably work. Well, maybe it would. Nah, probably not. i could see Toby getting shocked while still eating mouthfuls of stuff he shouldn’t have. If you ever find a solution, I’d love to hear it.
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  6. Julie
    December 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm (4 months ago)

    Naughty girl!! We are lucky enough to have a laundry room with a kitty door – but in our first house we used a scratch post (we actually built on ourselves) – kitty food at the very top! Good luck!
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  7. Jessica
    December 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm (4 months ago)

    Looks like you already have some great ideas.

    We had a similar problem with Silas as a puppy–our townhouse is so open that there was just no way to limit his access to the whole house. The downside of modern architecture. I hope you find something that works for you!
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  8. jan
    December 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm (4 months ago)

    We had the same problem and now the cat food is at the top of the cat tree which the dogs can’t climb. The cat will occasionally drop them a crumb, but that’s another story.

    Let us know the follow up solution. not everything works for every dog.
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  9. Maggie
    December 12, 2013 at 3:49 am (4 months ago)

    I don’t think I can suggest anything better than what’s already in the comments, but I can commiserate! Emmett will eat anything that is even semi-food-like, and getting at the cat food has become one of his life’s most ambitious goals. Good luck!
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  10. Jen K
    December 12, 2013 at 8:32 am (4 months ago)

    I think in our house it would be the opposite – the cats trying to get into the dog food! They certainly try to get into OUR food whenever they can.

    However, none of our pets graze. They’re all currently on raw, but this was also the case when they were on kibble, too. Everyone gets fed in the evening, and if there’s food left over (there never is) it gets put away until the next day. No thieving possible!
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  11. Jodi
    December 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm (4 months ago)

    We used the same hook and eye trick that 2 Punk Dogs does. It was to restrict litter box access, but the cat could still access the room, just the dogs could not.

    It looks like you might have a couple of good suggestions here. :-)
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    • Kristine
      December 14, 2013 at 1:32 am (4 months ago)

      I do, I do. We have lots to put to the test! Thanks for the suggestion!

      I hope Sampson is still doing well!

      Reply
  12. Rachel @ My Two Pitties
    December 13, 2013 at 8:01 am (4 months ago)

    Not sure it will be much help for Shiva but I just leave the cat food on the floor and trained Kaya & Norman not to touch it using the leave it command and rewarding them with treats at first for leaving it alone. Once when I went out of town, one of them decided all bets were off and started a habit of sneaking in and eating it but then I caught Norman in the act, gave him a loud “leave it” and that was the end of it.

    Reply
    • Kristine
      December 14, 2013 at 1:26 am (4 months ago)

      Wow, that is quite impressive. Good on you for training something so well! Alas, Shiva’s leave it usually only means “leave it as long as I am standing in the room watching you.” If I catch her in the act of swiping cat food she will gobble up as much as she can before running away. :-P

      If I was a better trainer I might be able to fix this. But that’s a big if!

      Reply
  13. Jenn
    December 16, 2013 at 6:22 am (4 months ago)

    Okay… this is the concept:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002ZS20I/ref=as_li_ss_tl/?ie=UTF8&tag=offbeatbrid0a-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0002ZS20I

    Get a good sized plastic bin – cut a cat sized hole in the top, put food dish inside.
    Put assembly on top of washing machine.
    Put double baby gate or something similar at door(s)

    If you own the washing machine, you can can epoxy http://www.jbweld.com/product/j-b-weld/ some tie-down hardware http://www.angerole.com/TieDownRings.htm to the machine, and bungie cord the bin in place.

    It’s an idea. If this isn’t the answer, maybe it will lead you to your answer. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Kristine
      December 16, 2013 at 6:50 am (4 months ago)

      Thanks for the great idea! The washing machine won’t work as ours are stacked but I love the bin concept and I think it just might do the trick. When we test it out I will be sure to let you know.

      Thanks again!

      Reply

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