Do You Feed Your Pets At The Table?

You may think you like chicken, but you should see my cat. When that roast chicken comes out of the oven, Lolita goes nuts. She starts mewling in the kitchen, where I throw her a few scraps, but then–when we’re eating at the table–she sidles up next to me and looks up at me with those adorable, sweet kitty eyes you see in the above photo. This leads to the question proposed in the title of this post: “Do you feed your pets at the table?” I have to confess: I do.

The problem is that when we’re eating something cats won’t like nearly as much (like the Kohlrabi salad we had last night) she’ll still sidle up and meow. I guess that’s why you’re not supposed to feed your pets at the table: it trains them to beg.

But when we are eating something that she likes? Like that awesome fish I made two weeks ago? A little morsel will make her night. And what happiness does she have, really, staying indoors all the time, going to the bathroom in a box, no friends to play with except the big scary dogs outside who want to eat her.


Lolita deserves some scraps at the table; I’m happy to give them to her.

How do you handle this with your pets at home? Are you a sap like me or do you lay down the law?

33 thoughts on “Do You Feed Your Pets At The Table?”

  1. I have a cat and two dogs. They are never fed from the table or any type of “human” food for a few reasons. First – its bad for them and could cause weight or other health issues. Second – it could discourage them from not eating their normal dog or cat food. And lastly – I don’t want the cat to jump up on the table or dogs to hound everyone when we are eating.

  2. I made the rule about no feeding our dog at the table. And then I broke it so often that Hobbes now is supposed to ONLY eat doggy food so he loses a little bit of weight. :(

    But he likes it so much and he’s got such a sweet face.

  3. We feed from the table, but mostly when we’re done eating. They have to stay in a certain area, well, they’re supposed to stay in a certain area, while we’re eating. And my dog totally knows that when my husband is away from the table I’m an easy mark and he will jet right over to my side when he steps away. It’s kind of embarrassing.

  4. My dogs get bits of stuff, but we try very very hard to make them go to their Eating Places (where we put their food bowls at mealtimes) and sit for it. Too many slip-ups, especially when we eat outside on the patio and get lazy, turns them into table-surfing monsters who won’t leave us alone when we eat.

    When I had cats, I would do that as well – treats would either go into their food bowl or I would take them over to their cat tree or wherever it was OK for them to be while we ate. Then they’d sit on their cat tree and laser-eye us until dinner was over.

  5. No feeding pets at the table is our rule. It’s not that they don’t get the good stuff but they get it in their bowls after we finish eating. I don’t want begging while we’re having dinner. Cats stay off the table and countertop, dogs lie down during our meals.

  6. Lolita is gorgeous! Our little girl kitten Cookie has little interest in people food but our older boy-cat Percee, like your Lolita, goes NUTS for chicken. Roasted, boiled in soup, deep-fried, grilled, you name it, he’ll beg for it. He’ll sit himself down next to my plate and paw at my hand until I give him a nibble. And you’re absolutely right – just a scrap (or two.. or three..) totally makes his night! :3

  7. We don’t even put down Lily’s dog food until after we eat. We have to wait and see how many scraps we throw at her while we’re eating. What’s worse is that I’ll throw the scraps real far away so that I can sneak in a few bites while she runs to get what’s on the floor. It’s quite embarrassing when we have company, but the rest of the time it’s just our normal dinner time thing.

  8. I rarely actually eat at the table, but the other night I bought a rotisserie chicken to make homemade chicken salad and cut up parts of the chicken and put into a container for her. I’ll typically do that if I give her non-dog food. I’ll put bits of it in her bowl on top of her food. I wish I had the funds/time to cook all natural for her, but I don’t. So I like to give her little supplements like that when I can.

  9. Tatiana Kharitonova

    I think dogs are much more beggy to begin with, so I’d likely not feed a dog until after dinner. But cats are really only interested in a few tiny bites of specific foods, so I don’t mind sharing. When we bring home a roast chicken, I too toss scraps of meat to everyone’s delight, and frankly when they move on, I will have no regrets about making their day.

  10. We’ll let the cat lick our plates when we’re done eating, or we’ll put scraps on her plate after dinner. My parents once had an overnight guest who brought his dog…no big deal until he brought her onto his lap after dinner and almost made out with it. Other guests were still at the table and it was so terrible and awkward because how do you ask someone to not make out with their dog? He’s an odd duck though.

  11. I am a total sap as well! Our pets are an important part of the family and I would not deprive them of the joys of social eating. Why should they eat alone and in a corner on the floor while we talk and laugh and dine. Not that they are at the table for every meal, but they are welcome and always will be. When my son was a baby, I used to feed him and my cat alternating bites…probably not a good idea but it was so sweet. That cat is no longer with us, but one of the cats I have now just helps herself to bread, salad and her favorite is asparagus (as if cat pee doesn’t stink enough already). We don’t eat much meat but I am sure if we did, she would go for that as well.

  12. Our cats aren’t really interested in people food, but if they were I would absolutely indulge them. I love Lolita’s haircut, by the way.

  13. We too share scraps with our dogs. Usually after we are eating, I will cut up the leftover meat and divide evenly between them. Its our cat that cracks me up, she actually knocked a piece of grilled corn onto the deck (it was sitting on the little grill “counter”) and went to town on it. She
    Loved It! The dogs could have cared less, but her, she was like a drunken sailer at a county fair chowin down on the corn. Funny animals make life better!

  14. Never…there’s a “no people food” rule in our house. I will sometimes feed our dog raw meat – trimmings – when I’m preparing a meal, but that’s it. And never, ever while we’re eating, because rewarding begging just leads to more begging. It may seem harsh, but we love our dog so much that we don’t want to give him anything unhealthy and cooked, seasoned food is just not good for him.

  15. Brenda Johnson

    No feeding from the table, and limited people food, which they only get in the kitchen. Yes, I lay down the law.

  16. I do not feed from the table because it encourages Sydney, our 12-year-old pup, to beg. But, we do give some things to her in her dog dish … after the meal if finished.

  17. My cat only likes the foods that are safe for her, but I try not to feed her while I’m eating. If I’m cooking I’ll feed her little bits, sometimes, or if I’m clearing the table.

  18. I have 2 cats & they are never, ever fed from the table. The only ‘people’ food I ever give them is liverwurst, which I only buy 2-3 times a year. I put it in their bowls & they have to eat it in their spots. I am a crazy cat lady, but feeding animals from the table grosses me out.

  19. Your cat is so cute! We have a big fat english bulldog who obviously gets fed at the table. It’s bad, I know. But he sits there perfectly quiet…just lots of drool. He’s so sweet and cute, I can’t refuse!

  20. My cat is completely indifferent to people food — so much so that if he jumps on the table during dinner, it’s only because he wants to be petted. He turns up his nose at anything I offer him.

  21. Rewarding bad behavior: a no-no with children and pets. I think giving them tiny bits of pple food can be a tease. But if you’re going to, why not put it in her bowl, at her normal meal time, disassociated with your meal and the bad habit. An old dog, cat, or child is never too old to learn new tricks.

  22. I remember we used to give some stuff from our table to our old cat – but you can’t really train a cat. My grandma used to have two small dogs, who always barked and moaned under the table, till they got what they wanted. They were so annoying, that when we did get our dog (mind you he was rather big one, and there is a difference when there is a tiny animal begging under your chair, and when it’s nose sniffs your plate), the no food from table rule was the first rule we have set (and also the only rule we sticked to throughout his life). However, he did get some tasty things to his bowl after or before we sat down.

  23. I have a Golden Retriever, Phoenix, who is the light of my life for 10 years now. He has never been fed from the table or received people food for that matter. He’s also super healthy from me sticking to my guns. But he does sit there and pour on the guilt! :-) But I have no regrets…

  24. The cat I had as a kid looooved chicken so much she used to sneak up on the countertops or table when we weren’t looking and steal a whole leg or thigh and run away! It was a hilarious: a tiny littlle cat running around the house with a chicken leg (that was basically half her size) hanging out of her mouth and me and my sister chasing her trying to get it away.

  25. Ah, a subject dear to my heart! My twenty cents: Dogs are pack animals and should be fed at the same time their family (the pack) sits down to eat so that they feel loved and included – otherwise their self-esteem can suffer. Cats appreciate the same treatment.

    Both are fed delicious home-made food and so don’t need to beg. Their meals are not any more expensive or troublesome than an extra
    family member would be, which they certainly are especially considering both are far more
    loving than most family members, lol. We don’t eat from cans and boxes, and neither should they, for all the same reasons. They deserve to be considered and they deserve fresh food!

  26. In our household, one of us feeds from the table and one of us does not. Since only one of the cats likes people food anyway, there is a nice symmetry to this. Also, remarkably, the people-food-loving cat knows which one to use his I-want-some-now-right-this-very-minute-please stare, which is handy. More handy is that we can avoid embarrassing episodes with guests because he’s terrified of all strangers. (That said, for speck or German cheesecake, he will consider coming out from under the covers. )

  27. Nicole Pearce

    We have three dogs, the smallest weighing in at 75 lbs and the largest at 115. I do give them scraps in the kitchen when I am cooking and have come to regret it because now they are always underfoot. We drew the line at giving them food at the table. They still beg there anyway.

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