It can be tricky to prevent one cat from eating another cat’s food, especially if the thief is gaining too much weight and the starving cat is missing out on their daily dietary requirements. Sitting them down and talking to them about the problem isn’t going to help, but there are techniques that can help you develop a feeding schedule and routine for all of your cats, no matter how many you have.
How to Keep Cats From Eating Each Other’s Food
1. Separate Rooms
It can be a pain, but separating the two cats when they eat makes it impossible for them to steal one another’s food. There are caveats, however. For one thing, this only works if both cats eat all their food at mealtime. If one or both prefer to graze during the day, giving them separate rooms won’t work because as soon as you let them out, they will bury their heads in the other cat’s bowl.
You may also need to provide a water bowl and a litter box in opposite corners of the room. Some cats eat their food and head straight to the litter box, while others can wait. You will have to be quick while separating your cats, or you might find that the greedy cat devours their food and runs to get the starving cat’s food.
2. Separate Levels
If you have one cat that can’t jump high but overeats, you can use it to your advantage. Feed one cat on top of a counter and the other cat on the floor. This works the same way as putting them in separate rooms because it puts the barrier between them.
3. Feeding Station
A feeding station is an area where one or more of your cats eat. In this case, it will usually be the cat that is missing out that gets placed in the feeding station. Although it may seem like that cat is being punished, they will appreciate it because they will be able to eat without the stress and anxiety of having to watch for their food-stealing cat sibling.
A feeding station can have a permanent door, or you can use a dog or cat crate that you put up and take down every mealtime. Even something as simple as a large cardboard box could be modified to make a feeding station.
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4. Automatic Feeders
There are several automatic feeders on the market, including those that work with RFID tags or other identifiers. The feeders only open or offer food to the cat with the appropriate chip or magnet. The feeder won’t open for any other cat. This technology is used with cat flaps, but it is available with feeders and can provide a way of ensuring that every cat can only eat their designated portion.
You can ensure the bullied cat has the automatic feeder and is given the chip or other identifier. They can get food from the bowl whenever they want, and the other cats won’t.
Be aware that the other cats may watch and wait for the cat missing out to approach the bowl and then jump in. They may get a mouthful of food this way, but the feeder will stop feeding as soon as the identifier cat moves away.
Alternatively, you can use the cat flaps with RFID detectors to create an automated feeding area of your own. You can install the flap in a separate room, and your nervous eater will be able to pass through and into the feeding area, while the other cat will not be able to enter.
Some cats prefer to graze, while others wolf their food down. Some seem to eat more than their daily allowance, and others eat only a limited amount in comparison.
Problems occur if you have one greedy and more dominant cat and one submissive or nervous cat. The greedy cat will steal food from the nervous cat, and you will soon have one overweight and one malnourished cat on your hands. Use these steps to separate the cats while they eat.
Featured Image Credit: Taras Vyshnya, Shutterstock