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So, I used to feed Marley in the morning, around like 10am. At some point, he decided 8am was better for him and would gnaw the cage bars to wake me up. I'd feed him, he'd chow, we're all happy. It was clockwork, 7.55 or 8.05, he'd start chewing the bars. ]

After a few weeks of that, I went onto third shift at work and our feeding schedule got funky. I started feeding him at 10pm before I left for work, instead. Then I moved from third to second and was back on a normal sleeping schedule. I continued to feed him at 10 or 11 before I went to bed.

Now he's got it in his mind that when he chews on the bars, he gets food. So I'll feed him before bed, and an hour later he's gnawing with gusto. Last night he stole his way into my bag of trail mix while I was turned around for ten minutes and I don't know how much he ate. So I gave him a smaller handful of pellets that night, and of course and hour later he's gnawing. I figured you know, he could have had very little trail mix, then half the amount of pellets, and is legitimately hungry. That's very possible. So I got up and gave him more.

the ENTIRE rest of the night he was gnawing. I'm only exaggerating a little. It was like, 3 more 10 minute sessions between 11pm and 5am when I woke up.

So what the heck? I realize it was definitely my fault, but how do I reverse this? Anything quicker and more efficient than "just don't feed him after he gnaws the bars"?
 

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Its going to be annoying for a little while but the best way to extinguish the behavior is to not give him any attention or food when he does it. You could feed him at random points during the day or night, whenever youre there. Like when hes doing anything else besides chewing the bars, give him a few pieces of food. Have you tried scatter feeding? Or maybe getting a dig box and hiding the food in there? That way he has to search for his food instead of just eating what you give him.

Alternatively, you could spray bitter apple on the bars.

My cats are really good at being annoying when they want food. I have a pretty set schedule so they usually eat at 8am and 7pm. I had a problem a while back where my girl would yowl and yowl and yowl at 7:55 until I got up 5 mins early and fed them. It was so obnoxious and I was worried about it getting worse so I would wait until she was quiet to get up and feed them. If she didn't shut up, she didn't get fed and I would go about my morning until she was quiet for a solid 3 minutes. Now when I get up she runs to her bowl and sits and waits quietly. It took a few weeks but it did work.
 

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Its going to be annoying for a little while but the best way to extinguish the behavior is to not give him any attention or food when he does it. You could feed him at random points during the day or night, whenever youre there. Like when hes doing anything else besides chewing the bars, give him a few pieces of food. Have you tried scatter feeding? Or maybe getting a dig box and hiding the food in there? That way he has to search for his food instead of just eating what you give him.

Alternatively, you could spray bitter apple on the bars.

My cats are really good at being annoying when they want food. I have a pretty set schedule so they usually eat at 8am and 7pm. I had a problem a while back where my girl would yowl and yowl and yowl at 7:55 until I got up 5 mins early and fed them. It was so obnoxious and I was worried about it getting worse so I would wait until she was quiet to get up and feed them. If she didn't shut up, she didn't get fed and I would go about my morning until she was quiet for a solid 3 minutes. Now when I get up she runs to her bowl and sits and waits quietly. It took a few weeks but it did work.
I'm actually going through this with my boys (cats) now... Drives me absolutely insane, but I'm hoping if I stick it out Noir will knock it off. In the meantime, it sure is annoying as heck!
 
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