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I had four cats who have been coexisting in my house with no problems. Then, recently, I adopted a new kitten, Blue, who is now 5 months old. A few weeks later, I adopted a younger one, Zo, who is now 2 months old.

Now, when I fill their bowls, Zo is the first one to get to the food. He starts eating right away. As soon as he finds out that I am filling another bowl, and of course before even finishing the first bite out of his own bowl, he leaves it and goes to the next one. And so on until I fill the last bowl. The other cats then get to a bowl and start eating. As soon as Zo finishes his bowl, he moves on to another one, pushing away the cat eating from it.

Blue, on the other hand, is the second to get to the food. He starts eating. Then, after a few bites, he leaves his bowl, before finishing it, and goes sniffing another cat's bowl. He might just sniff or, more often, push him/her and digs into his/her bowl.

I realize that kittens usually need more food than adults. That is why I try to make all portions bigger than the portions I used to feed my adult cats (since I cannot seem to control which cat would eat from which bowl).

Now, Zo is a bit of an eater. I never saw him stop eating unless something much more interesting is happening (or food is out). :D I once watched him finish half a chicken. :D He even has a hernia because of this. (He is being treated for worms, if that is relevant.) But Blue is not; he stops once he is full, even if there is food left. So, I do not understand why he leaves his bowl and goes to another cat's bowl.

I really hope there is a solution either to control both kittens or, at least, Blue. It is quite hard to stand guard every time I feed them, especially that some of the adult cats get tense either by the kittens' attempts to steal their food or my attempts to control them and leave before finishing their meals, which makes them hungry, which leads to repeating this whole thing again even before the next meal. Closing doors is not an option because closed doors also get some of the adult cats tense and leads to them not finishing their meals. One of the adult cats goes outdoors and comes back on his own. This whole situation also pushes him to spend more time on the streets than he wants to.

Any ideas?

  • The catnip is always greener in someone else's yard... I advise letting the cats work this out among themselves. My two know which bowl they're expected to start with but sometimes trade or mooch. Some cats are more possessive, but they'll tell each other when a line has been crossed. Unless you need to do differential feeding for medcal reasons,they can teach each other faster than you can teach them. – keshlam Jun 21 '15 at 17:02
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I think oldcat's answer is perhaps the best solution, but here's another idea:

I've had this same problem with alpacas. Most of them were content to stay at one bowl but there was one who was always interested in someone else's bowl. My solution was use one more bowl than the number of animals, and divide the food equally among the bowls. That way when one of the more passive animals was nudged away from a bowl, there was always an empty and unguarded bowl to move to. The greedy one was too busy trying to guard and take over bowls to get an unfair share of food. Based on my observation, this resulted in every animal getting an equal amount of food.

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From my reading about cat behaviour, the mother hunts and allows the young to eat first before eating. You adopted two younger cats and they are just eating first like they would in the wild. I have two cats, both male, one is a hunter and one is not, he is smaller. The smaller one eats right away, and the healthier one waits until he has eaten, and then starts eating. They both eat out of both bowls. I think it is an instinct thing sometimes and nothing to worry about. Adult cats would understand and I don't think it causes them stress the way we think it would.

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Try putting the bowls in a carrier or box so that he can't see them or easily push the other cat aside.

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Well, there are ways of doing this. Some of them may be pricey, but they are very effective. The first thing that I would recommend is the SureFlap feeder. It's kind hard to explain. The basic premise is, you can the the feeder or feeders to detect a cats SureFlap ID collar or microchip. (If you don't know if your cats are microchipped ask your vet. If they aren't I would recommend it.) I will leave a link to it here:

https://www.sureflap.com/en-us/pet-feeder/microchip-pet-feeder

This is highly recommended for your situation. People from Catster magazine, (formerly Cat Fancy) Modern Cat magazine, and many others love this product. This is definatly the best way of doing things. Other ways to do it include: Tweaking an Arduino board to do this; Feeding the cats at separate times, for instance you feed Blue while the other cat is in a different room, and then do the same with Zo while Blue is in a different room. These are what I think are the best ways to do it however you can do some DIY-ing and come up with something that weighs your cat and then opens if your cat is the correct weight. I'm not going to go in depth on this, but if you the DIY kind of person, give it a shot. If you do end up doing this, please let me know some how.

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