For those individuals with only one cat to look after, understanding and monitoring the dietary needs of your feline friend brings about a great deal of confusion and hard work. Now couple that issue with having not one but more than one cat can seem like an impossible challenge, especially when it is time to feed multiple cats.
In addition, your kitty may even have some special requirements in terms of diet that differs her from the other cats, which complicates things when you have to feed multiple cats on a budget.
Moreover, not all of your cats will agree to have definitive and shared mealtimes, and each of your kitties may have their individual personal preference when enjoying their favorite meals. So what is the solution when you have to feed multiple cats? Let us have a look below.
When to Feed Multiple Cats Separately?
When it comes to the basis on which you should feed your cats separately, it generally boils down to several conditions or scenarios. One of the most common reasons to feed multiple cats separately is when your cat or cats have a medical condition or are overweight.
This means that the cat will require a special diet as well as controlled portions of food. Similarly, if your cat needs to be given medication by mixing it with its food, then it is only logical that no other cat shares that meal.
Other common reasons to feed cats separately
- Your cats fight over food and prevent each other from coming near the food bowl.
- Your cats are at different stages of life and require a feed based on their age.
How to Feed Multiple Cats Separately?
One of the most simple and easy ways to feed multiple cats individually is by providing their meals in different rooms with the doors shut. However, in the case that you are not able to do this, you can still feed them in the same room but at different times of the day, with the doors closed, of course. Just make sure that no more than the cat eating is present in the room.
Another way you can feed multiple cats is to set their food bowls at different height levels, based on the cat’s agility. For example, you can feed a senior cat by setting its food bowl on the ground level since they are not as active as compared to other younger cats.
As for the more energetic cats, you may choose to feed them on a tabletop or any raised surface. In addition to that, you can also install mini gates to a divided space and place each food bowl separately in the compartments.
Can Cats Eat From the Same Food Bowl?
Many behavioral experts and vets support the idea of every cat having an exclusive food bowl that is not shared with other cats. This is to allow the cat parents to have greater control over each cat’s diet and portion size according to their age and medical conditions, if any. Though it is completely fine for more than one cat to share a food bowl, it must only be allowed from time to time.
Feeding Multiple Cats While Staying Within Budget
If you are willing to spend an extra amount as a long-term investment that will save you costs in the future and help you feed multiple cats more easily, then you should consider getting a microchip cat flap. It is a device that can control which cat enters each room and then separates the food according to dietary and normal cat food in each area.
However, if you are on a tight budget, then you could always find more affordable alternative ways of restricting access to a room. For instance, you could use a doorstop to prevent larger cats from entering the room where you feed younger cats.
Moreover, you could also take on a DIY project and make your cat a feeding station made out of a cardboard box. Simply cut out an entrance based on your cat’s size and place the food bowl inside. The special entrance will keep larger cats outside as they will not fit through.
Transitioning From Free-Feeding to Scheduled Mealtimes
If your cats have been free-feeding since day 1, then helping them transition into a routine can take some time. To begin with, you need to plan out a mealtime schedule and the number of meals each cat is to be fed. In general, you can feed a cat twice a day as long as they are aged between 6 months to maturity.
Next, you need to designate the locations of where each cat will be eating and then encourage your cat to have its mealtime there. A great way to encourage your cat to adapt to the new routine is by giving its favorite treats during mealtimes. It is also worth mentioning that cats prefer not to eat near their first litter tray, so make sure each cat’s food bowl is considerably away from the litter.
The Best Feeding Schedule for Multiple Cats
According to experts, the most appropriate feeding schedule for any cat is 2 meals per day that are 12 hours apart. One important thing to bear in mind is to stick to the 12-hour gap between mealtimes because if your cat eats more than suggested in the timeframe, it could lead to nausea and other stomach issues. Additionally, this could also lead to an overweight cat and the related health issues that come with it.
Naturally, with most cat parents that raise multiple cats in one household, transitioning their feline’s meal routines to something new can take some time. However, with enough patience, effort, and attention, your cats will get used to it soon enough. Just make sure to stay consistent with the routine, and you will feed multiple cats with no hassle as before.