Selecting The Ideal Feeding Location
Consider Acquiring A Separating Device
You might want to consider constructing a special box feeder for your shy cats out of wood, cages, or plastic containers and placing their food bowl inside. This is a great and easy alternative for people with multiple cats in a constricted space where you might not be able to separate all cats in different rooms. As with the pet door, you can install a selective electromagnetic reader that scans your cats RFID collar tag or internal microchip so the others cant steal their food.
An alternative to actually constructing a feeding box is to use a cat carrier. This is especially useful if you are low on space and cant facilitate feeding in a separate room or even construct a box. Some have reported their cats really enjoying the carrier and even napping in afterwards.
Why Does My Cat Steal The Other Cat’s Food
Just like we humans, cats have their own individual approach to their food. In general, however, they prefer to eat quietly and without company. For this reason where we place their food and water dishes is important. It needs to be somewhere secluded and away from any traffic we have in the home. Very importantly, it needs to be in a separate area from the litter box.
This need for privacy when eating is made more difficult when there are more than one felines in the home. One cat eating another’s food is a fairly common practice, even if the cats otherwise get along. This is why we should look at the reasons why a cat will steal another’s food:
Although there is a hierarchy between cats, when both enjoy enough food they do not feel the need to compete with each other for this resource. If we don’t meet the basic needs of all the cats in a home, it is going to lead to more problems.
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If One Cat Needs Special Food Consider Feeding All The Special Food
This will depend upon what the special food is, whether all cats can eat it, and whether your resources allow it. For example, your vet might suggest that one of your cats needs grain-free food. You might switch all your cats to grain free food, just to keep things easy and basic. But youll have to weigh the costs and see if its worth it. Obviously, this doesnt always work. If your cat needs special food for a condition then the other cats may not benefit by eating that food.
When You Might Need To Feed Cats Separately
Here are some of the situations in which you might need to make sure that your cats are fed separately, so they only get their own food:
- One or more of your cats has a medical condition requiring a special diet and no other food.
- One or more of your cats is overweight and needs to be fed a special diet and/or only a specific amount of food.
- Your cats fight over food, or one of them is kept away from the food bowl by another. This is known as resource guarding, and it’s pretty common in groups of cats.
- One or more of your cats takes medication mixed into his food.
- Your cats are different ages and need different life-stage foods. For instance, a kitten needs special food for growth and shouldn’t eat a diet meant for adult cats.
Be sure to discuss any diet change or reduction in food with your veterinarian first.
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Choose The Right Bowl
Now that you’ve chosen the location, be sure to choose the best bowl. Cats use their bowls multiple times a day every single day making cat bowls one of the most important products that you will select for your little babies. So, make sure your cats’ bowls are safe for them.
We recently wrote about how to choose the safest bowl for your cat. Read our 5 tips here.
Feed Them At Different Areas In The Room
If you dont have multiple rooms available, try to separate the cats by placing the food bowls as far apart as possible within one room. If the bowls are directly next to each other, one greedy cat can quickly stick their head in their neighbours bowl without anyone noticing!
You could try feeding a more agile cat on a higher level such as a table or counter, as this will make it difficult for any older, fatter or less agile cats to jump up and steal the food.
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Feeding Multiple Cats: Setting Up A Feeding Station
Multiple cats bring a lot of joy to a household but they can also bring some challenges when it comes to feeding. Here are some tips to consider if you have more than one cat that you are caring for.
Generally in most multi-cat homes, meal feeding with individual feeding stations is the best approach. This is especially true when some cats must be fed a specific type of cat food, such as Hills® Prescription Diet®. Free choice feeding can be problematic in multi-cat situations, particularly because it is not easy to monitor each cats appetite and food intake. This can make it more difficult to tell when your cat is not feeling well. Additionally, assertive cats may block access to the food bowls and guard it from shyer cats, or make shyer cats leave the food bowl ,before they are finished eating. Conflict among cats is often subtle cats communicate largely by eye contact, facial expression and body language.
Setting up a feeding station Each cat can be fed in a separate room in the home with the door closed. Typically, a regular feeding schedule is used, and each cat is given a certain amount of time to eat . Water is freely available in several places at all times.
Feed most of the daily cat food allotment when family members are at home. This will reduce the chance your cat will learn to beg for food. Full bowls of cat food should not be available when no one is at home.
Stay Near When They Eat
It is the most basic way to keep your cats away from each others food while they eat. Stay near them when they eat and keep a strict eye. Seeing you near them signals the pets about being invigilated, and they avoid doing anything such. Keeping an eye on your cats when they feed for a few days can be a game-changer.
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Feeding Cats With Different Diets
Sometimes cats have special needs and diets. If that is the case, feeding them separately is essential. You can always make a makeshift feeder if an automatic or specialized feeder is out of the budget.
If possible, you can also try feeding your cats with the same special diet food if the budget allows it. If this is not applicable, then keeping a close eye and applying the tips above are the safest bet to ensure your cats get what they need.
Do Cats Like Their Water Next To Their Food
While it may seem trivial, your cat will have strong opinions about where its water and food dishes are placed. Most importantly, it wont like having these two bowls directly next to each other.
Some cats will refuse to eat out of a bowl thats near water. Likewise, other cats will drink out of the toilet, sink, potted plants, and even puddles before sipping from a water dish near food.
Thats all credit to your cats base instincts. Humans have domesticated felines for thousands of years as pets and a natural pest control solution. However, cat genes have changed little over the millennia. Cats have not been as extensively bred as certain dog species have. This means that their hunting instincts have yet to be bred out as well.
Its no surprise that your cat will tend to show the same preferences as its wild ancestors. Even though its a house pet, it still interacts with its food and water using the common sense of its wild counterparts. Keeping the water dish about 3-5 feet away from its food will help the cat feel like its exercising a good amount of caution.
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One Cat Is Eating The Other Cats Food
One of the most aggravating aspects of multiple-cat ownership is when one cat is eating the other cats food. There are several reasons that this happens.
The Instinct to Survive
The instinct to survive is embedded in the DNA of all living things. With some, its stronger than others. When your cat is eating the other cats food, it could be an expression of that instinct.
Some cats will actually fight over it, while others become submissive and move away, allowing the bullying cat to fill up on their food.
This doesnt mean we are stuck with that behavior in our multiple-pet households, though it often feels that way. There are answers to the problem, though most of those answers require us as human caregivers to do something on a regular basis, and to be consistent.
Compulsive Overeater Cats
Related to the survival instinct is eating compulsively due to a fear of not having enough.
Habits Work in our Favor
The good news about this adherence to habit where it comes to our cats problem around the food, is that they will get used to, and even expect, any routine that we choose.
Whats Your Routine Right Now?
That said, we have the choice as to the routine or habit we decide to set. A few examples of routines:
1) We stand around watching for the bully piggy cat to make his move, and then we pounce
2) We put the food away that has not yet been eaten and come back home from work to feed them again, picking it up before we then leave for work.
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How To Transition From Free Choice To Meal Feeding
The first step to take when you decide you need to feed your cats separately is to provide them with meals rather than having food always available free choice. This is often the step that creates the most dread in people, who may worry that their cats will bother them incessantly if the food bowls aren’t always full.
It is true that meal feeding will take some getting used to for your cats if they are accustomed to having food around all the time. Generally, most people find that it takes about a week for their cats to adjust to such a change.
When switching to meal feeding, first consider your schedule and determine the times of day when you will be able to provide your cats’ meals most routinely. You can give two or three meals a day depending on your schedule.
First, choose an area where you will feed each of your cats. Prepare their food dishes ahead of time, then place them where you want them, and invite your cats to eat. Use treats , positive words, and petting to show each cat which bowl is theirs and supervise them while they eat.
Consider using Feliway to help calm your cats during this adjustment period. You can learn more about it here: “.”
Remember not to make sudden diet changes for your cats. If a new diet is necessary, make a gradual switch to avoid gastrointestinal upset. Check with your veterinarian for specific information.
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What Happens If An Adult Cat Eats Kitten Food
The difference between kitten food and adult cat food is the percentage of protein, fat and carbohydrates they contain. For example, kitten food contains more fat as they need it for their still developing bodies. If you give an adult cat kitten food, it is likely they will become overweight since their metabolism will not be as fast. They will also have less energy to burn off the fat.
If an adult cat and kitten live together in the same home, it is important you feed them both well. The higher fat content can make kitten food seem more appealing, especially if the kitten eats wet food and the adult cat doesn’t. You may need to separate their feedings and make other arrangements above, but this should last until approximately 12 months. After this time, both cats should be able to eat the same type of food, hopefully preventing either stealing from the other.
If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Steals Food From My Other Cat, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.
Feed Them In Separate Rooms
When two cats simply do not get along, you may need to separate them. It is not ideal as it is much more preferable to have the cats get along together. Unfortunately, some cats will need to find peace in another room. In these cases, you can still set the same feeding schedule, but you can simply place the food bowls in another room when it comes time to eat. You can even close the doors, if necessary.
However, if there is a hierarchy issue, it is best to feed the cat with the higher social rank first. This way, they will not feel as inclined to steal from the other.
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Consider An Automatic Pet Door
A different option that could help keep your cats feeding time separate would be an automatic flap door. This option is perfect for those of you who have a spare room, or a door that leads to your garage, providing that its a safe place for your older cat.
Its better for the automatic cat door to be placed in a room where only your older cat has access, so your kitten wont be able to steal their food. Its a great choice for those of you who are away from home most of the day and cant control your kittens actions.
There are several brands that use different technologies to open and shut the cat flap, so lets take a moment to look at my favorites.
Best Overall: SureFlap-Microchip Cat Flap
How To Stop My Cat From Bullying My Other Cat
Cats don’t always get along. Over time, a personality conflict may develop between two cats which can lead to hissing, fur flying, and claws striking. Do you ever watch your cats nervously and wonder, “How do I stop my cat from bullying my other cat?” If one of your cats is always fighting the other, it might be time to step in. Try to give them personal space, help them feel more confident, or start over from scratch and “re-introduce” them. You may need to test a few of these approaches before you find the one that works for you.
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Clean Up After The Cats Are Done
The only time cats get to eat from each others food bowl is when they do not find anyone to look at them. If you keep an eye on your cats while they feed but not later, your fluffy baby may create some mess with the leftovers. A cat might want to have a taste of the other cats leftover out of curiosity. Fill the bowl only as your cat would eat and discard the rest if there are any leftovers.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food
Its often cute to catch a dog snacking on the cats food but there are reasons to stop this behavior. Cats are obligate carnivores and cat food is formulated for felines high protein needs. That means denser protein content than your dog is used to digesting. It also means more fat, which can lead to weight gain.
A dog who eats cat food once in a while might be gassy and have an upset stomach. A dog who eats the cats food all the time wont be getting the right nutrients that her body needs. Plus, your cat will be missing out on his meals! Thats not going to help your dog and cat get along.
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