I have two cats, Beau and Monster, that I pet sit occasionally. They are sweet boys, but feeding time can be challenging. Monster is the bigger of the two and tends to eat much more than Beau. To keep the peace during mealtime and ensure each cat is able to eat peacefully, here are some suggestions for feeding in multi cat households:
- Don’t feed cats from a single bowl. Even the best of cat friends can become a little territorial at mealtime. Set up feeding stations at various locations to give each cat an opportunity to eat without feeling stressed. Depending on the personalities of the cats, a more timid cat might prefer a quieter secluded feeding location, or an elevated area to be away from the mainstream.
- When feeding on a schedule, give each cat his own bowl. Even if each cat doesn’t have a favorite bowl he likes to eat from, having several bowls to choose from will allow some distance so each can eat peacefully.
- Provide adequate distance between food bowls. To keep positive associations between the cats during feeding time, it’s important to situate the bowls so the cats can see each other. There’s not a “set distance” to space the bowls, so observe your cat’s behaviors. If one cat stops eating and looks at the other cat, the bowls are too close together. If a cat is becoming too possessive of the food bowl, or a cat is too afraid to come to the feeding area, different feeding locations are definitely needed.
- Some cats tend to feel trapped or vulnerable if their back is to the entry into the room, so don’t place food bowls in corners or against walls.
- If you try several methods at feeding time, but a cat continues to appear nervous, try leaving a bowl of dry food available to help ease tension.