In a multiple cat house-hold, there are cats that get along and others that don’t. Things may be smooth in general but when it’s time to chomp, they may compete with each other. That is, one of the cats eats the other cat’s food.
Or may be one of your cats is overweight and has different dietary requirements. There can be so many different scenarios causing conflicts in cats. So, how do you feed two cats with different eating habits?
Let’s look at the most common challenges and what you can do to overcome them.
How to feed two cats when one overeats?
Let’s say the pattern so far has been such. The cat that overeats, gobbles his meal quickly and out of his food obsession, almost instantly looks for more. Sometimes pushes the other cat and eats from his bowl.
In such a situation, how do you feed two cats at the same time?
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s better to feed them side by side under supervision till this behaviour stops. Supervised feeding also helps you keep track of your cats’ appetite and notice changes, if any. By doing this, you can help re-direct the over-eating cat to his own bowl.
If he still tries to grab a bite off the other cat’s bowl, say a firm ‘No’ or call his name out loudly. As you repeat this process over time, your over-eating cat will receive the ‘message’.
If that didn’t work, feed them separately in different locations of your house. If you have multiple rooms, keep their food bowls in different rooms and when the cat’s done eating, you can let them out. Feeding them like this inculcates good eating habits and prevents them from stealing each other’s food.
Also note that negative reinforcement doesn’t work for cats. In fact, they are counter-productive. So, don’t even bother with punishments like shouting, clapping loudly, spraying water.
While we’re on this topic, many cat owners often ask “Do two cats need separate food bowls?”
Yes. I always recommend an individual feeding bowl for each cat in the household. In most cases, they’re less likely to fight if they have their own.
How to feed two cats when one is over weight?
Multi cat households face challenges dealing with feeding multiple cats. Some may be fussy eaters or you may have an overweight cat with specific dietary requirements. In that case, your vet would advise you on the appropriate portion size that will fulfil each cat’s daily nutritional needs.
Make a cat door
Feed your healthy cat in a separate room with a hole cut through the door. Overweight cats can’t pass through small spaces. Whereas cats in good health usually don’t have a problem squirming through a hole in the door.
Use a food cube feeder
Food dispensing toys are great for inactive cats. As the chubby cat chases the cat food cube, a small portion of food falls off. Since food is a good incentive, this serves as an excellent way to promote activity in over weight cats. It may keep your overweight cat mentally stimulated and physically active for long periods of time. Cats that lack exercise or are plain lazy may be fed like this to get them off the window sill.
Feeding in a cat carrier
Overweight cats that tend to overeat usually snarl/growl at other cats and take over their food bowls. To overcome this problem, consider feeding the overweight cat in a cat carrier and let them stay in there until the other cat(s) are done with their meal. It shouldn’t take more than 10-15 mins anyway.
Feeding on top of a cat tree
Place the food bowl on top of a regular cat tree or get a cat tree with a feeding bowl. The overweight cat will likely not attempt to climb the cat tree whereas the healthy cat will have no problem getting on top to grab a bite.
Switch to wet food (for the over weight cat)
Experiment by stopping dry food entirely. Cat dry foods are loaded with carbs so they’re empty calories for the most part. Many cat owners have been successful in getting their overweight cats to slim down by switching to wet cat food.
In a nutshell
Feeding multiple cats with different eating habits takes time and effort. Nevertheless, the right feeding routine can help ensure your beloved fur balls will have their nutritional requirements taken care of with the least amount of friction. Soon enough this will become a habit and less stressful for you as well.