It can be quite 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 and methods that can help you create a feeding schedule and routine for all of your cats, no matter how many you have.
It can be a bit of a pain, but physically separating the two cats when they eat makes it impossible for them to steal one another’s food. There are caveats, however.
Firstly, this only works if both cats eat all their food at mealtime. If one or both prefer to graze over the day, then giving them separate rooms won’t work because as soon as you let them out, they will just bury their head in the other cat’s bowl.
You should also provide a water bowl and a litter tray in each room. Some cats will eat their food and head straight to the litter box, while others can wait. One thing is for sure: The time that you forget the litter tray is the time that they will need it.
You will have to be quick while doing the separation, or you might find that the greedy cat devours their own food and runs to get the starving cat’s food.
- Related Read: Can Cats Share a Litter Box?
If you have one cat that can’t jump up, and this is the cat that eats too much, you can use this to your advantage.
Feed one cat on top of a cupboard or a unit and the other cat on the floor. This works in the same way as putting them in separate rooms because it provides a barrier between them.
Create a 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 this may seem like that cat is being punished, they will appreciate it because they will be able to eat without the stress and the 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. If you have set up any kind of barrier using stools and boxes, you have effectively created a feeding station that offers your cat a feeling of food security and an opportunity to eat without being disturbed.
Even something as simple as a large cardboard box could be modified to make a feeding station. It does need light and a way to get the food and the cat in and out of the station.
Use Automatic Feeders
There are tons of automatic feeders on the market including those that work with RFID tags or other identifiers. Essentially, these feeders only open or offer food to the cat that has the appropriate chip or magnet. The feeder won’t open for any other cat. This kind of technology is used with cat flaps, but it is available with feeders and can offer you a means of protecting your starving cat.
Set up feeders so the cat that is losing out on food has the automatic feeder and is given the chip or other identifier. They will be able to get food from the bowl whenever they want, and the other cats won’t.
Do be aware that the other cats may watch and wait for the cat that’s missing out to approach the bowl and then jump in. They may get a mouthful of food this way, but as soon as the identifier cat moves away, the feeder will stop feeding.
Alternatively, you can use the cat flaps with RFID detectors to create an automated feeding area of your own. Put the flap in a shed door or a feeder construct, and your nervous eater will be able to pass through and into the feeding area, while the other cat will not be able to pass.
How to Keep Cats From Eating Each Other’s Food
Some cats prefer to graze, while others wolf their food down. Some seem to constantly eat more than their daily allowance, and others eat only a limited amount in comparison.
Problems occur if you have one greedy cat and one submissive or anxious cat. The greedy cat will steal food from the anxious 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