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How to prevent one cat from stealing food from the other

Some cats are food motivated, eagerly polishing their plate after every meal. Others may be less motivated, eating more slowly or even leaving food behind. So what do you do when your kitty who is more food motivated tries to steal food from the kitty who is less so?

Try feeding them multiple times a day

If one kitty leaves food behind that the other finishes, it may be a sign that the first cat’s portion is too large. Commercial pet foods usually list a feeding chart based on your cat’s ideal weight. Once you’ve determined that you are feeding the correct amount, you should also consider if you may be overfeeding your cat per sitting. Breaking the meal into two or three servings per day will encourage your cat to eat the entire smaller meal before another opportunistic kitty does.

However, if you know that one of your cats will always leave a certain amount of food behind, you can take this into account when feeding both of your cats together. You would simply lower the other portion so that by the time that cat finishes off one plate, the addition of other plate’s leftovers will comprise one complete serving for that kitty. It just takes a little arithmetic.

Try feeding them separately

Feeding your kitties separately is another easy solution. You can feed them on either side of a bathroom or bedroom door by placing the eager kitty’s food down first. Then, once he or she has darted inside and started munching away, you would gently close the door and place the other serving on the opposite side of the door.

The separation doesn’t have to be a physical barrier, though. You could also feed them out of each other’s line of sight or simply sit between them. When it comes to giving treats, the separation can be as simple as tossing treats for the food motivated kitty to chase after while discreetly placing a pile of treats for for the less motivated kitty to eat at a slower speed.

Try making them work for their food

Puzzle feeders work by rewarding your cat with food every time they solve a puzzle. They can be more or less complicated depending on your cat’s skill level and motivation. If your hungrier kitty is also the clever one, giving him or her the puzzle will slow him or her down long enough to let your more casual diner finish his or her meal. Alternatively, if the slower cat is the “brain” of the bunch, a puzzle feeder can make his or her meal inaccessible to the other cat who cannot solve the puzzle.

Try a tastier food

Sometimes, the cat with a less voracious appetite is the one who needs a little encouragement. Experiment with more palatable foods to see if new textures or flavors will motivate him or her to eat more quickly. Sometimes, rotating the flavors from day to day is all that is needed to keep kitty interested in eating.

Are you worried about maintaining the feeding routine for your hungry bunch while you’re out of town? Hire one of our friendly pet sitters! We make every effort to follow your feeding instructions to the letter. You can even show us in person when we come for a meet and greet before your trip!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures on pixabay.

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