Feeding behavior in the multi-cat household

 

Feeding the multicat household is difficult.  Cats in the same house may be eating different diets, eat at a different rate, and get into fights around the feeding station.  What is a concerned cat parent to do?

To best understand this complex problem, we look to the natural feeding behavior for cats and how that works in a group situation for our answer. Lucky for us, there is good scientific understanding about how cats act naturally.

  • Cats are solitary hunters.  They hunt alone.  They eat alone.  Cats can live in groups in harmony, but it is normal and natural for them to hunt and eat alone.

  • Cats spend 6-8 hours a day hunting for prey.  This is how they naturally get exercise. They do this in short bursts of activity throughout the day and night. Scientists estimate they hunt 10-20 times a day.

  • Not all hunts are successful. Cats catch 8-13 prey per day.  Their bodies and metabolism thrive on small meals throughout the day and night

  • Cats prefer their water in a separate location than their food.

  • Cats do not repeatedly hunt and eat in the same location.  This would make them vulnerable to predators.  And, they would be unlikely to find prey in the same location day after day.

  • Cats are predators.  It is important for their mental and physical health to exercise their predatory instincts at mealtime.

So, how does this impact a multi-cat household? Well, for starters, feeding cats from a bowl does not address any needs of the cat.  

In most multicat homes, there is a feeding area of one or many bowls in one location in the kitchen.  Now we know that cats are solitary hunters that prefer to hunt and eat alone. To make matters worse, cats prefer to deal with conflict by avoidance.  Understanding this, it is easy to see that it is distressing for cats to share a common area at mealtime.  Cats want to hunt and eat alone.  Requiring them to eat in a common area increases cat’s anxiety and may even cause fights between cats.

In nature, cats spend 6-8 hours a day searching for their food.  This is their built-in exercise.  When we feed them from a bowl, they are deprived of this stimulus to exercise.  The lack of exercise and eating too much from a bowl contributes to feline obesity and can cause scarf and barf.

When cats are deprived of their predatory instincts at mealtime the predatory instinct can be redirected to inwardly causing distress and anxiety that contributes to many common diseases like urinary disease, skin disease, and obesity.  When the predatory instinct is redirected outwardly, it contributes to fights between cats, aggression towards humans, and destructive behavior.

Doc & Phoebe's Indoor Hunting Feeder™ is the solution to meet all of your cat’s needs in the multi-cat household.  The Indoor Hunting Feeder™ provides multiple and separate resources for small meals so that each of your cats can hunt and eat in separate locations in your home.  No more will they be distressed by sharing the bowl.  Doc & Phoebe's Indoor Hunting Feeder™ meets each of your cat’s natural feeding behavior needs.

How Does Doc & Phoebe's Indoor Hunting Feeder™ work in a Multi-cat household? Each cat should have a full Indoor Hunting Feeder™, consisting of a trainer, a portion filler, and 5 feeders. Each cat should be observed to make sure that they transition onto The Indoor Hunting Feeder™ in a low-stress way – starting each cat with the trainer (don’t forget your treats inside) and then moving on to the feeder and finally the hunt for the hidden feeders.                        

Common concerns in the Multicat household

What if not all cats transition at the same pace?  This is very common, as each cat learns at a separate pace.  Continue using The Trainer until each cat is completely comfortable with it.  Usually, the quick learners will demonstrate the technique to the slow adopters.  However, some cats require solitude to learn.  Simply isolate the slow learner in a private location with his/her own Trainer (Don’t forget the treats!).  

What if one cat gets more than his/her fair share? Most households adapt just fine.  However, in some households, a few speedy hunters will get more than their fair share.  In this case, the simple solution is to isolate the cats for hunting time.  Remember, this is the preferred method of eating for cats.  Cats want to hunt and eat alone.  You are providing for all of their natural needs.

What if my cats are on different diets? Again, the simple solution is to isolate the cats for hunting time.  Remember, this is the preferred method of eating for cats.  Cats want to hunt and eat alone.  You are providing for all of their natural needs.

Happy Hunting!

 

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