My Fat Cat Won’t Let the Other Cat Eat

CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, discusses how to manage the feeding so one cat isn't left out.

Q: I have two cats and one won’t let the other eat and he is getting really fat! I have tried everything except moving one food bowl to a place where one of them can’t get it. I don’t want to do that because it will be hard getting the other cat readjusted. The cat that is fat was a stray and I think he eats because he thinks he will not get another meal. I don’t want to get rid of one of my cats.

A: There is no reason to get rid of one of your cats. This is easily solvable with a couple of management changes. First of all, it’s OK to feed one of your cats in a separate room. The cat will easily adjust to the change. It is true that cats like consistency, but cats are adaptable and yours will do fine with one of the feeding stations being moved into another room.

I highly recommend separating the two cats during meal times, so that the one cat who doesn’t eat as fast or as much will be able to eat in peace. When moving the feeding station, make sure that it’s in a safe location, inaccessible to other animals and away from the cat boxes. Ideally the door should be closed to the room during meal times.    

I don’t know if you are free-feeding, but if you are, consider giving them two to four meals every day and picking up the bowls in between their regular feedings. If possible, put your cats on a consistent feeding schedule, so that they know when to expect their meals. Between their regular meals put treats in treat balls or puzzle boxes so that your cats have to work and exercise a little for their snacks.

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Behavior and Training · Cats