If you share your home with several cats, feeding times can be a little stressful especially if one of your pets is a dominant and greedy character. Cats are amazing creatures with superb clock watching abilities when it comes to meal times. The problem is that one cat often doesn't get a look in and is left with only the crumbs the more dominant cat has left behind.
Apart from sleeping, food times are an extremely important part of your cat's daily routine and when they are hungry, they soon let you know about it. If you are busy doing something else, cats have a great way of being where you can't avoid seeing them, or they start meowing that certain "meow" to let you know they are still there waiting for their bowls to be filled with food again. Some cats are masters at the "silent stare" that wills you to stand up and fill their bowls with goodies!
It can be stressful for one cat if they have to constantly compete for their food so finding a solution to an everyday situation not only makes life a lot less of a problem for your cats, but for your too!
Apart from one cat being more dominant than another one in a multi-cat household, there are often other challenges that owners have to face every meal time which might be because one cat has very specific dietary needs. This can be a real issue if they are lower down the pecking order. If this is the case, the only solution is to make sure each cat is fed in a different room and at the same time every day making sure they don't finish off each other's food.
All too often cats that live in the same household have a pretty complex pecking order. A social hierarchy exists with some cats forming very strong bonds with each other whilst others may have a very bitter rivalry going on. Some cats tolerate each other and often appear to be great pals except that is when there is food involved! The same applies to certain favourite warm and sunny spots which cats may often fight over.
If your cats compete over their food the chances are they may well start competing and fighting over other things too which could get quite nasty. As with everything, prevention is always a lot easier than cure, but this can only be done gently when cats are still very young.
If you have adopted older cats, the best way around the problem of aggressive behaviour at meal times is to feed them in separate rooms but always at the same time.
Even if your cats get on with each other at meal times, you should avoid letting them finish off each other's food because it could lead to one cat developing a real weight issue and once cats put on too many pounds, it's very hard for them to lose it again. Obesity can be a real issue in cats and can lead to all sorts of other health problems.
It's important that cats be fed several times a day, but it's never a good idea to leave food down for them on a constant basis. The reason being you would never know which cat is eating the most and which is not getting enough food. Again, there's always a risk of cats becoming overweight if they have constant access to food too!
If you are out at work all day, it's far better to invest in a couple of automatic cat feeders and preferably ones that are designed for wet food. You would need to set the timers so food is dished out at least 6 times during the day. However, if your cats fight over their food, it's important to place the feeders in different rooms and to keep a close eye on your cats weight to make sure both cats are indeed getting food and not just the dominant character.
Some cats become great pals and form very strong bonds with each other. However, at meal times they can become a little dominant or even aggressive which can be a real issue that means one cat never gets to eat enough food. It's really important to keep an eye on things because you could end up with one overweight cat while your other pet just gets more and more stressed out. The best solution is to feed them in separate rooms making sure it's at the same time. If you are out at work during the day, it's a good idea to invest in 2 automatic feeders and again place them in different rooms so each cat knows where their next meal will be dished up which naturally keeps them happy!