When Sampson first came to live with us we kept him in a separate room, as is recommended, to get him settled and then gradually introduced him to the other two cats.
We continued feeding them all separately for some time though. Sampson is a notorious food hog, so it seemed the best choice. Overtime we discovered that it was fine to let Sampson and Elvis eat together. They both eat the same food (dry food, as opposed to the wet Lola gets), and Elvis was reasonably good at batting Sampson away should he get too close when Elvis was trying to eat.
Recently though, Sampson has been getting bolder about trying to take Elvis’s food. The thing is, Sampson practically inhales his food, whereas Elvis will take his time, chewing over each morsel. And Sampson, done with his own food, will often come up behind Elvis, maybe even darting a paw out to steal pieces in the moments when Elvis is chewing. Sometimes he’ll go so far as pushing his head in the bowl when Elvis looks up.
Elvis does defend his food, sometimes. But when there are only a few pieces left and Sampson has been pestering for a while, he will inevitably give up and leave the food to the younger boy. And of course Sampson promptly gobbles up the whole lot.
We’ve been trying to come up with a solution to the problem. Sure, we could go back to feeding them separately, but that’s not ideal. It’s awkward enough having to herd Lola into a separate room to feed her, without having to separate all three of them. Plus in the summer the cats are going to a cattery for a week, and Elvis and Sampson will be together so they need to understand food boundaries!
Our answer? Feed Elvis on a different level. Rather than giving both cats their food on the floor, we now get Elvis up onto one of the shorter cat trees to eat his food, whilst Sampson still eats on the floor. It works perfectly!
We started about a week ago. Initially Elvis was a bit confused by the whole thing. The first few times we had to pick him up and put him on the cat tree. Then we progressed to holding the bowl of food in front of him and ‘leading’ his up the tree. Now we can just hold the bowl of food near the tree, call his name, and he’ll hop up all by himself!
Of course it’s early days still, and it’s impossible to tell whether this solution will continue to work. But the signs are good. And I’ll admit, I was surprised how quickly ole Elvis learned this new trick!
Do you have to get creative with your feeding locations?