It’s no secret that we all love cats, with many households choosing to own multiple cats as their animal of choice. Despite their friendly nature, feeding time in multiple cat households can often be difficult with varying ages, dietary needs and consumption battles just a few of the key challenges. However, just like in humans, ensuring adequate nutrition for cats is highly important, so it’s vital to establish a feeding routine of set times, location and tailored strategies to cater to each cat’s specific needs.
In a multi-cat household it’s not uncommon to have varying dietary needs due to health requirements and age differences, making meal times particularly stressful. For example, a cat that suffers from kidney disease requires a low protein diet that is not suited to other adult cats. Keeping this in mind, it’s important that your cats eat the right amount and type of food that is best for them.
A great idea could be to establish different meal times or locations when feeding different foods.Try feeding cats that eat the same food at the same time, and the other who has something different at a latter time or in a different room. If you have limited space or have difficulty separating eating times, why not try creating a difference in height. For example, try feeding your cat who is on a special diet on a bench, and those who eat normal adult cat food on the ground. Another tip to remember is if you have kittens that are eating more regularly than adult cats, make sure you isolate them in a room to avoid pesky older cats getting in the way. All cats love kitten food, but it's not necessarily good for older cat's waistlines, so it's a good idea to keep the adults away!
As food intake is such an important part of a healthy cat’s life, it is vital that feeding does not become a negative experience. If you feel that tension is building between two or more of your cats, or one is particularly aggressive, it is time to separate them during feeding. Separation can mean feeding in separate rooms, or feeding at separate times. Ideally the two separate rooms should not allow any form of communication between the cats. If neither of those options are possible, try securing your cats in a cat carrier during feeding at opposite ends of a room or on either sides of a closed door to avoid any unwanted fights. If you have a cat that gets particularly stressed or anxious during mealtimes, there are a variety of supplements available to help your cat settle along with these separation techniques, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Vet.
Other great tips to consider when feeding a multiple cat household
Create a routine
In a house that is run by multiple cats, the first expected bump in the road is when and where the animals should be fed. One of the most important rules when feeding multiple cats is to develop a routine of an assigned eating time and location, which is vital to create a happy and healthy family.
Feed at the same time and location each day
While your kittens are still developing (up to a year of age) you should get into a habit of feeding at the same time each morning and evening and always feeding in the same place. The establishment of a feeding schedule makes it easier to create a multiple cat feeding environment that will last for years to come.
Feeding your cats twice a day is vital to ensure they are obtaining substantial amount of food while developing a healthy eating routine. Kittens under the age of 6 months can be fed 3 times a day, as their nutritional requirements are greater. Although harder to implement a routine with older cats, the same tips still apply, however you may need to adjust the feeding time and location to each cat individually (both kittens and adults) and should consider having separate designated areas, making sure that the slower eaters are given adequate space and time to finish their meals.
Serve food inside
As a general rule, when feeding multiple cats, breakfast and dinner should always be served inside. This allows you to closely monitor their eating habits, as well as making sure they are not receiving any unwanted attention from other furry guests that live in the area.
Create a positive feeding experience and establish boundaries
Above all, mealtimes don’t need to be stressful for our cats or owners! Try to create a positive eating experience by establishing boundaries with separate times and locations for each cat. This way each cat gets to enjoy his or her meal without any interruptions.
Feeding multiple cats takes time and effort and requires strict monitoring to ensure its success, but the effort is well worth it. If you are having trouble implementing these tips to establish a great feeding routine for your cats, get in touch with your Vet today.