When you have multiple cats living in your home, it can be difficult to keep their food separate to ensure they are getting an appropriate amount or even the appropriate diet. Hopefully, some of the following tips can be useful to making feeding time hassle free, and help keep your cats happy and healthy.
Try to pick a time at which you can feed both cats, generally 2 to 3 times per day, and give each cat their meal in a separate room, preferably with a door that can close to keep them apart. Give the cats about 30 minutes to eat (or until they finish their food if it is faster), and then pick up the food and let them out. If a cat is a “grazer” that likes to munch throughout the day, they will eventually learn that they must eat in this time or else the food will be removed. If they meow and beg for food between meals, try to avoid giving treats. Instead, you can offer a few pieces of their regular kibble, and this can satisfy them, and outside of their feeding time, they will think they are getting a treat (without the excessive calories!).
Cats are creatures of habit, so if the adjustment is hard at first, stick with it. They will catch on soon.
If one of your cats is overweight and will eat all food as soon as it is offered, this can be difficult to ensure that your slim cat is getting all of his/her food without being bullied out of the way. If possible, try to keep your slim cat’s food in an area that your larger cat cannot access, such as on top of a cat tree, shelf or ledge, or in an area separated by a baby gate that only the slim cat is able to jump over.
An effective, although a pricier option, is to purchase an automated feeding device. There are products available that have a food bowl with a cover, and as a cat approaches it, it will scan either a tag on the collar or the microchip and will only open for the cat that the food is intended for. These can be expensive but are an excellent option if the above tips are not working for your cats.
Written by Amanda, ACA/CCR