Having two cats is double the love in your home, but should they have a food bowl each? There are a few things to think about first to answer this question.
Are the cats the same age? If you have two sibling kittens, feeding them from the same bowl may not be an issue. However, you will have to ensure that both kittens get enough food. It is also advisable to look out for any signs of stress. Both cats may tolerate sharing a food bowl, but stressors may show in other areas of their lives. For example:
- Dilated pupils
- Ears held down to the back or side
- Avoidance or moving away
- Moving around close to walls
- Raised hackles or puffed up tail
Another thing to consider is that they may need to be on different types of food later in their lives. For example, if one of them needs special dietary food. This may present a problem if they are used to eating from the same bowl.
However, if you already have a cat and introduce a kitten or another adult cat, you may have some conflict around feeding time. This is because cats tend to eat faster than kittens and often have different types of food too. Therefore, you want to give your cat or kitten food designed for them.
Feeding the cats from separate bowls in different locations may be better. However, behaviorists also suggest feeding multiple cats from individual bowls in other areas. Feeding the cats like this allows them not to feel threatened or stressed during meal times.
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How Cats Feed In The Wild
Cats are solitary hunters and will eat what they catch on their own, often in a location where they can’t be disturbed. Some cats eat slower than others, and they don’t like to be rushed or disturbed when eating. This can cause them unnecessary stress. This will also be true in the home. They may tolerate eating from the same bowl, but that doesn’t mean they are happy.
With this in mind, it is probably a better idea to feed multiple cats in your household separately and in different locations. That way, each cat can relax and enjoy its meal. In addition, they won’t be looking over their shoulder, waiting to be interrupted.
Conflicts between your cats can occur for several reasons.
- Your cat feels that a new cat is invading its territory and resources
- One cat is greedy and eats most of the food, leaving the other cat hungry
- One cat is a slower eater than the other
- One cat resource guards the food
Each cat can resolve these conflicts by having its food bowl in a separate area.
Cats Eating Different Foods
Kittens require food designed for their developing digestive systems. Therefore, feeding a kitten food prepared for a senior cat can cause digestive problems. Likewise, if your cat has specific dietary requirements, such as food for kidney problems or weight management, you need to know how much food they are having. And this food shouldn’t be eaten by another cat.
Even if you have sibling kittens, it is still a good idea to introduce them to separate food bowls early on in their life. Then, if they require different food later in their lives, they will already be used to having their meals separately. In addition, this will make keeping track of what they eat easier for you.
There are also individual feeders on the market that use your cat’s microchip to give them access to the food. These will be ideal if you have one cat on a special diet.
Sharing a water bowl is fine. Your cats may eat at the same time, but they won’t always drink at the same time. For example, I have a water bowl downstairs and a water bowl upstairs. And both my Husky and my cat drink from them without any conflict. And our older cat used to share the water bowl with our cat when he was alive.
Cats should also have their own litter tray. I have written an article on litter trays; you can read it here.
Each cat should have its own food bowl in a multiple-cat household. You want your cats to be happy, relaxed, and enjoy their food. Cats can get easily stressed, and feeding time should be a time for everyone to be relaxed.
It is also easier for you to keep track of what each cat is eating and if they are eating what they should be eating. We love our cats and want the best for them, and this is one way to allow them to live with us stress-free.
I hope that you found this article helpful.