How to Feed Cats Separately

Free-feeding your cats is the easiest feeding method but it is not always the best (for many reasons). Some people feel that feeding multiple cats under one household can be tricky or near impossible- it’s like herding cats (pun intended)! If you want to know how to feed your cats separately, read on for helpful methods and tips.

Even though I don’t have this problem because it’s just my cat Reginald in my home, I know the frustration first hand. When my former roommate would go out of town, I had to feed her two cats (in which had totally different eating habits). This was very frustrating! It was good that they had an established feeding schedule (breakfast and dinner), but one cat would quickly eat up his own food, while the other cat would take a couple nibbles. The cat that already ate his whole breakfast always attempted to eat the other cat’s food!

I know this is a problem for many cat parents with a multi-cat household, so I researched ways to resolve this problem to help you guys out!

So, how do you feed cats separately? Here are the main methods to feed cats separately:

  • Feed your cats in separate rooms with the door shut.
  • Feed your cats in the same room but at different times (they wait for their turn while the door is shut)
  • Get an automatic feeder that allows/ denies access for specific cats.
  • Feed yours cats at opposite ends of one room- you may need to monitor them
  • Feed your cats on different levels- with the agile cat on the higher level and one that prefers to stay on ground
  • Take advantage of the size difference of your cats- Smaller cats eat in areas that are inaccessible for overweight cats

One method may be better depending on your reason for feeding your cats separately.

Reasons to Feed Cats Separately

  • One or more cat(s) has a special diet or medication incorporated in their food for health reasons.
  • One or more cat(s) is a “food hog” and/or a fast eater.
  • One or more cat(s) need to lose weight
  • Your cats get into physical fights over food.
  • Your cats are at different life stages requiring different food formulas.
  • You are simply trying to transition from free feeding to the recommended method of meal feeding.

How to Feed Your Cats Separately

The first thing you want to do is determine how much food, and what type of food each cat should be eating. If you are unsure about this, you can ask your vet for diet recommendations and portions for each cat.

Okay, now let’s get to it! Here are the different methods on how to feed your cat separately explained.

Feed Your Cats in Separate Rooms

If your cats are physically fighting over food or one cat is an an aggressive “food hog”, or none of the other methods seems to work, this may be the best method for you.

First put your cats in separate rooms. Then measure out the recommended amount of food your cat should eat for the whole day and serve it to them while the door is closed. You can go about your routine such as getting ready for work while they eat. When their feeding time is up, collect the remaining amount of food leftover and put it in their respective meal storage containers (zip-lock, bag, plastic container, etc). This leftover food can later be served to them for their next meal.

Helpful tips: make sure that each cat gets fed in the same room every day. This consistency will help them know where they need to go for their meals!

Also if your cat is a fast eater, instead of giving them all their food for the day, and putting the rest away for later, you can modify this method by pre-portioning half their food for the morning and half for the evening so they don’t eat it all in one sitting!

Feed Your Cats in The Same Room but at Different Times

Do you want to keep your cat’s feeding area in one place? If you don’t want multiple feeding stations or your cats are hungry at different times, this method would be beneficial for you. Just keep the other cat out until it’s the other cat’s turn. Again, you want to collect uneaten food for later.

Feed Your Cats in The Same Room but in Different Areas

Make sure your cats have their OWN respective area for feeding in this one room. It may be confusing to them at first for what area they should be eating from, but with consistency they will get it, and know their respective space. If your cats can respect each others boundaries, this will likely work out.

Some obstacles may include one cat eating faster than the other and going to the other cat’s unfinished food. You can simply just take away the unfinished food and save it for their next meal. Or you can try out the “slow feeder bowl” to help the fast eating cat slow down and focus on their own food. These special feeding bowls are also great at preventing throwing up as a result of eating too fast.

For this method, you might need to monitor if they are respecting each other’s space.

If one of your cats is a bully when it comes to food, then using a crate to separate them while they eat can be effective. Make sure it doesn’t stress your cat too much having to be inside in a crate.

One thing to consider when you transition from free feeding to meal feeding: your cat may be used to grazing (eating only a little at a time) so you might need to start out by scheduling more feeding blocks until you can schedule their meals to two feeding times.

Automatic Cat Feeders Designed for Multi-Cat Households

These feeders are great because they allow you to feed your cats in the same room without having to worry if one cat is eating from another cat’s dish. The general concept is that it allows access for only specific cats to eat from it. Some even dispenses a certain amount of food for a specific cat. For example, The SureFlap Feeder works by sensing your cat collar’s chip and allows your cat to have access to food. It can easily be programmed to deny or allow feeding for each respective cat’s chip.

Feed Your Cats on Different Levels

If your have a cat that likes to jump and climb, you can put their food on top of a counter or shelf. This is similar to feeding your cats in different parts of the same room, but you’re are taking advantage of your cat’s preferences or athletic ability. For instance, your older cat with joint problems is less likely to jump up onto a surface for their food.

Also similar to feeding your cats in the same room, this works best if your more agile cat can respect the other cat’s food. Otherwise, you may need to monitor them and store away the uneaten food for the next meal.

Take Advantage of Your Cat’s Size Differences

One way to feed your cats separately is to block the bigger cat from accessing your smaller cat’s food by exploiting their size differences. For example, you could have your slimmer cat eat in a room with the door slightly opened so that only they can squeeze through it. This can be done by using a hook and eye closure on a door to the room you want to feed your slimmer cat.

How to Feed Cats Separately- Final Thoughts

Sometimes doing what’s best is not always easy. For instance, it’s much more beneficial for cats to have their own food portioned out and fed as meals, but it’s not always easy to achieve this, especially if you have more than one cat.

Employing these methods on feeding your cats separately may take a lot of patience. Don’t give up, cats are very food motivated and understand routine! So they will eventually learn where they need to be in order to get their food and when they need to eat it.

Do you have multiple cats? If so, what is feeding your cats like? Feel free to share your methods in the comment section below, also check out our new content here.

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