According to data from Forbes, cats are the second most popular animal companions in the US, after dogs, so it’s no surprise many people want to share their homes with more than one.
Cats are fantastic companions but feeding multiple cats at once can be tricky. There are different dietary needs, personalities, and ages to take into account, not to mention ensuring each cat gets the right amount of food. If you’re at your wit’s end, we’ve got some tips for you on how to make feeding multiple cats less overwhelming.
How to Stop Cats from Eating Each Other’s Food: Top Tips
Since every home is different—some people live in big houses and others live in small apartments—what works for one cat parent may not work for another. Based on that, we’ve gathered these tips on making feeding time as harmonious as possible whatever your living situation.
You’ll need an individual bowl for each cat (all identical).
1. Feed Cats in Separate Rooms
If you have multiple rooms in your house, this is perfect for isolating cats while they’re eating. Giving cats their own space to eat helps them feel more secure and reduces anxiety about having their food stolen by greedier companions.
In my experience, this has been especially helpful for cats that have a nervous or passive disposition and cats that eat more slowly than their companions. Since I started putting my timid cat in the bathroom to eat and my other cat (a notorious food thief) in the kitchen, I’ve noticed how much more relaxed my timid cat is at mealtimes.
Separating at mealtimes may also be necessary for cats with special diets. These are sometimes prescribed by vets to support cats with medical issues like joint, kidney, and weight problems.
2. Divide One Room
While having multiple rooms makes things easier, sometimes, space is limited. An alternative is to find a way to divide a single room so all cats can eat in it at the same time without harassing one another. You can buy pet dividers designed for this purpose.
If it isn’t possible to divide the room, you can try getting your cats into a routine of eating in a specific part of the room with a good distance between them. Encourage each cat to go to their own bowl and be on hand to supervise to prevent food theft from taking place. However, this may not work in some instances, especially if one cat finishes eating quickly and tries to move on to another cat’s bowl.
3. Use a Crate or Indoor Enclosure
An alternative to dividing up one room is to temporarily make use of cat carriers (if your cat is comfortable enough to eat inside them) or indoor enclosures. If your cat isn’t used to spending time in these, make the enclosure a place they love to spend time with their favorite bed and hiding spots inside.
Allow your cat to get used to the enclosure in their own time and avoid shutting them in for long periods.
4. Feed at Different Times
If you need to utilize one room for feeding but it’s impossible to feed all your cats at once in there, an alternative is to feed them in that room at different times. After each cat has finished, remove them from the room and send the next cat in. How successful this will be depends on how much time you have and how many cats you need to feed.
5. Feed at Different Heights
Let’s say you have an overweight cat or a senior cat that needs a different diet from your other cat/cats. An option is to feed the healthier or younger cats at a higher level as a form of separation, as your overweight or senior cat may have more trouble jumping up on higher surfaces.
You’ll likely still need to supervise, though, especially if the healthier or younger cat is known for stealing others’ food once they’re done with their own.
While feeding multiple cats can be frustrating, utilizing one of the strategies above as well as getting into a routine and sticking to it goes a long way to making it a more peaceful experience. Even if you don’t have much space, there are still ways to make it work.
Be patient while your cats get into their new eating routine—if you’re consistent, they should settle into it nicely soon.
Featured Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock