My cat eats the other cat's food - why and what to do?

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If you have two or more cats, you may find yourself in the situation where one steals the other's food.. ¿Have you observed that one of your cats eats more than the other or that does not let him eat? If so, it is possible that one of them eats slower or prefers to take short breaks while eating, situations that the other takes advantage of to steal their food..

In this AnimalWised article we explain why does your cat eat the other cat's food and what you can do about it, since this situation can cause the cat that eats less to develop health problems.

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  1. Why does my cat eat the other cat's food?
  2. What to do to prevent one cat from eating the other's food?
  3. What if an adult cat eats puppy food?

Why does my cat eat the other cat's food?

Cats are special when it comes to eating. Normally, they do not like to be disturbed and prefer to eat quietly and without admirers. For this, it is recommended to offer them a calm and quiet place, totally away from the evacuation area, that is, from the litter box..

That said, when several cats live in the same house it often happens that one eats the other's food. In this case, we must find out the reasons depending on each particular case. Thus, we review below the most common situations where this may occur to explain what may be happening:

  • Yes one of your cats has other food because it has other dietary needs and eats, for example, neutered cat food, diet food, food for sensitive cats, etc., the "thief " is likely to like this more specific food more for the simple fact of being different from yours, because it has flavorings that make it more palatable or because your taste is more exquisite and you don't like hers.
  • Yes you put too much food on them and one cat eats more than the other, it is possible that, simply, one of the cats eats the amount that his organism needs and the other eats more. In this case, the cat who steals the other's food is likely to be overweight or even obese and to show other symptoms such as anxious eating and vomiting afterward. This can happen for different reasons, such as that the cat is stressed about something, is bored or sick. In this other article we explain "¿Why is your cat obsessed with food? ".
  • Yes both they eat the same and are totally healthy, the reason why one cat eats the other cat's food is in the hierarchy. Cats that belong to the same social group establish complex hierarchies in which they can occupy different ranks or possess different territories (which in a home can be objects, furniture, rooms ...). This hierarchy, as we say, is very complex and can vary depending on many factors, such as the arrival of a new cat. In general, the hierarchy is usually established, mainly, by territory issues, since cats are very territorial animals, but more aspects influence. Thus, it may be that one of them occupies a higher rank than the other and, therefore, can allow himself to steal the food he wants.
  • Yes you put less food on them than they need, it is totally normal for the cat with a higher hierarchical rank to steal the other's food. In this case, you will notice the opposite of the previous point, the cat that eats less will be thin, down, tired...
  • Yes they do not get along And, in general, they tend to compete for territory and resources, the weakest cat will be the one that ends up eating the least. This happens when cats share everything, so it is important that each cat has its own things.

Although there is a hierarchy between cats, when both have enough food they do not feel the need to compete with each other for this resource. The main problem lies in the lack of this resource in differentiation, therefore these are the most common causes.

What to do to prevent one cat from eating the other's food?

Whether your cat eats the other's food because he steals it or because the other leaves it, it is important establish rules and a routine at mealtime to avoid a possible overfeeding or, conversely, a lack of nutrients. If one of your cats has special needs, such as a digestive disease, it is essential that they can safely eat their food and that it is not stolen..

Establish a routine and separate resources

The first thing you should know is that cats are animals that prefer to eat several times a day. So you should identify the amount of food that your cats need to distribute it in several takes. In this other article we explain how many times a cat eats.

Once the amount that each cat needs according to their age and activity level has been identified, as well as the total daily intakes, the most advisable thing is set a schedule and be strict with him because cats hate changes, especially in their routine. In addition, it is important that each cat has its own bowl because the fact of sharing it will make them compete with each other. If the cats get along well and you have not identified that one is weaker or submissive than the other, you can feed them at the same time and in the same room, but each cat in its own feeder.

While they eat, observe them from a distance to check the relationship between them and, above all, identify the cause that leads one of them to steal food from the other. If the problem was that they did not have a schedule or that they shared a bowl of food, you will see that with these small changes the problem will end.

Value the option of giving them the same food

If the cause is that one of them follows a special diet, see if you can feed both cats with the same food. For this, it is best to consult with the veterinarian because it will totally depend on the type of diet. For example, if what happens is that one of them must eat sterilized cat food, grain-free or hypoallergenic feed, you can offer the same food to both. Now, if the special feed is to treat a health problem such as a disease or disorder, then it is best to move on to the next advice.

Feed them in separate rooms

When two cats get on badly, for whatever reason, it is difficult to get them to eat in peace in the same room. Therefore, to prevent a cat from eating the other cat's food, it is best to feed them in totally separate rooms and even close the doors if you see it necessary.

If there is a hierarchy between them, it is advisable to feed the cat with a higher social rank first to avoid feeling the need to take food from the other. Again, setting a schedule is highly recommended.

Use a programmable feeder

Today there are feeders that can be programmed to fill the bowl automatically. There are even some that, by means of a chip that is placed on the cat's collar, fill the bowl when the animal approaches. Of course, this option is more expensive and does not usually solve the problem when cats do not get along or one of them needs to follow a special diet.

In this video we will talk more in depth about the coexistence between cats:

What if an adult cat eats puppy food?

The difference between the food for kittens and that of adult cats is the percentage of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Puppy food contains more fat because kittens are more active than adults and burn more energy. If you give an adult cat puppy food, it is very likely that it will become fat, since it will not be able to burn all the fat that it has eaten in excess..

If an adult cat and a puppy coexist in your house, it is important that you control their food well. Both the adult and the child must receive an appropriate diet for their age. In addition, puppies need special puppy food, with a different composition, to help their rapid growth rate until approximately 12 months. To do this, make sure that the two cats have two feeders and that neither steals the other's food..

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