Mealtimes in multiple-cat homes may feature growling, spatting and struggles over food bowls. Cats are territorial by nature, and food often becomes the object of their protectiveness. If you are a cat lover for whom one cat would never do, there are tips to follow for effortless feline feedings.
Evaluating Individual Temperaments
If you are the owner of more than one cat, you already know that some cats are more social than others. While some felines buddy up with each other and become inseparable, others may never get along together. Argumentative kitties can make feeding times troubling for you and for the other cats that share their homes. Evaluating your pets' temperaments before mealtimes will help you develop the best routine for all your cats. If you have friendly, passive felines, you may find that they do not mind sharing spaces, bowls and even food with each other. However, if your cats do not seem to tolerate being together, especially when food is involved, careful planning will be necessary to make sure everyone is able to eat peacefully during daily feedings.
If your kitties do not see eye-to-eye when mealtime arrives, feeding them in separate locations may be the best way to keep the peace in your home. For example, by feeding one cat in the kitchen while shutting another in a spare bedroom with his bowl, you will eliminate competition over food. If you have more than two cats, the passive cats who get along with each other can be fed together while the less-than-social eaters will do best when fed in separate locations. Over time, your felines will get use to their individual feeding locations and head to them when mealtime arrives.
Even if you have a group of friendly felines, feeding them in separate bowls will keep everyone content. The most passive cat may become grumpy and pushy when he fears another cat will take food. In addition, some cats eat faster than others, and may prevent their slower-eating friends from getting enough food when shared bowls are used. Having the same number of bowls as cats will prevent arguments and give each feline individual portions of food.
Providing Quality Food
When you have multiple cats, it is inevitable that some are going to eat more food than others. Additionally, some will like to take the time to nibble their food, while others will finish in a few gulps. If you have finicky eaters, they may walk away from their bowls without eating much, allowing the more gluttonous felines to move on to the next bowl. However, providing a quality cat food that all your felines enjoy will help ensure that they all eat when food is put in front of them. This will prevent your picky eaters from going without enough food for proper nutrition. Once you have tried a variety of brands, you will be able to select the one that your cats enjoy the most. You may also want to purchase some canned cat food and add it to your cats' kibble to encourage them all to eat at the same time.
Monitoring the Situation
Once you have the feeding routine down for your group of felines, it is important to make sure that everyone continues to get along at mealtime, and that each of your pets is getting enough to eat. By hanging around while your cats eat and monitoring the situation, you will help ensure that no fights break out, and that even your timid cats get enough to eat. Over time, you may find that your cats adjust to the multiple-cat feeding situation, and that they become accustomed to sharing mealtimes amicably.
Jennifer Lynn has been writing as a correspondent and reporter since 1991. She has written for numerous newspapers and currently writes as a correspondent for Gannett. Lynn has a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on English from Ohio University, where she also studied journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.