How To Feed Cats Separately – 11 Tips to Peacefully Feed Them!

How to feed cats separately? Before I spill all the details of how and why you should feed your cats separately, let me just testify that it is indeed COMPLICATED. 

A few months ago, I had the same dilemma. Good thing I met a friend named Irish. If it weren’t for her god-tier cat feeding skills, I would still be struggling in feeding my cats.

Irish is our local vet’s daughter and our rescue office’s new volunteer. She may only be 19, but she picked up a lot of great feeding tricks from her dad, and she has the best advice on how to feed two cats when one overeats. In fact, most of the tips that I will be sharing here are from her as recommended by her vet dad.

Read through this article to learn the best ways to feed your feline friends effectively and separately. 

Tip #1 – Feeding Your Cats All at Once

A study found the benefits of feeding cats once a day only, contrary to the belief that it is better to feed them multiple times all throughout the day.

It helps in controlling hunger, ensures satisfaction, and reduces food-begging behavior and the risk of obesity.

Through this study, the relationship between feeding frequency and cat behavior has also been discussed. It uses a comprehensive approach in the analysis of appetite-suppressing hormones, the cat’s physical activity, and their energy usage.

It has been proven that those cats that eat one large meal a day are more satisfied. Also, once-a-day feeding promotes satiation and lean body mass, avoiding a health condition known as Sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is a condition that makes a cat lose muscle mass as they age. 

Tip #2 – Monitor Their Feeding Time

Cats are creatures of habit. Taking advantage of this known fact will make it easier for you to create a regular feeding schedule, introduce a new food and help them cope with the changes in the household.

When your cat is trained to expect food at a specific time, it is easier for you to transition to new food and to teach them not to eat food that is not for them. This is especially helpful for cats that need a few changes in their diet. 

cats eating in a separate bowl

Introducing a regular feeding time to your cat allows its body to adjust and prepare for the food it will receive. It may reserve a certain energy level until the next feeding time.  

Tip #3 – Remove Their Dishes After 30 Minutes

Cats eat in a very inconsistent manner. There are times when they can finish their bowl of food in one sitting, and there are times when they can’t. So, the best thing to do is to let them know that their dishes will be removed after 30 minutes. 

This is a  great trick so you can train them to finish their food on time. Also, this is a great way for you to protect them against bacteria and other harmful elements that may enter their food after leaving it out for a few minutes. 

Again, cats are creatures of habit. So, removing their dishes after 30 minutes regardless of the type of food you feed them will train them to eat as scheduled. 

Tip #4 – Use Calming Sprays for Cats

While feeding can be an enjoyable time for most animals, there are cats who feel stressed and anxious during this time. It can be due to other cats’ intimidating presence, or any changes in its routine, food, or in the household.

The best thing to do when your cat is anxious or stressed is to use calming sprays for cats. There are a lot of choices you can find in your local market or vet office. You just have to make sure not to choose a calming spray that has a strong scent as cats have a sensitive olfactory system. 

 Tip #5 – Give the Right Amount of Food

If you decide to feed your cat once a day, make sure that you are giving it a complete nutritious meal.

This will ensure that it is still getting the nutrients it needs for the cat’s body to function properly and stay healthy. The ideal amount of food to feed your cat largely depends on its age, weight and overall health conditions.

Speaking of complete nutritious meals, can cats eat goldfish crackers? The answer will be a straight NO.

It doesn’t have the required beneficial nutrients that a cat’s body needs. Plus, it is high in salt and other ingredients that may be harmful to yor cat. 

Feeding your cats the right amount  and nutritious food equally is especially helpful for multiple-cat households.

This will ensure that all cats are satisfied and will not have to fight over food. This trick is not only beneficial nutrition-wise but also helps in maintaining peace at home. 

Tip #6 – Provide Separate Dishes

While having your cats share in one bowl saves you time, space, and dishes to wash, it is not a good practice. Different cats of different body built, age, and health condition require different amounts of food and types of food. 

feeding cats separately

So, it is best that you provide separate dishes for your cats. Plus, cats do not really like to share their food. Doing this will minimize the chances of your cats fighting over food. 

Also, you can be sure that no cat is left with little food proportion. Feeding in separate dishes promotes peace while eating and helps in the reduction of stress and anxiety. 

Tip #7 – Feed Them in Separate Rooms

This is one of the oldest tricks that most cat owners do. While it seems too tasking, it actually has a lot of benefits. 

Feeding your cats separately will benefit your cat as they can fully enjoy feeding time. Similar to humans, feeding and eating time must be a stress-free experience. Thus, minimizing the factors that add stress and anxiety to your cat is a great way to make them fully enjoy their food.

This is helpful for owners with multiple cats at home. This will help you ensure that you keep your cat away from the other cat that will most likely steal food from it. Also, it will help your slow eater cat to eat fully without any distractions. 

Tip #8 – Place Their Bowls as Far Apart as Possible From One Another

If feeding your cats in different rooms is impossible, we recommend for you to place their bowls far from one another. 

When choosing the best place to feed your cat, there are also a few things to consider. 

1. Choose a calm and comfortable place

Cats want to eat their food in a calm and comfortable place similar to humans. So, make sure that you choose the best place where it is away from other animals and other distractions. This will help minimize their stress as well. 

two cats eating in a food bowl outside

2. Do not choose a feeding place near its litter box

Cats do not like to eat where they eliminate. So, when you choose a place for them to eat that’s near the litterbox, the cat will get mixed signals -whether to eat or to go to the bathroom. 

3. Do not place the water bowl next to the food bowl

While most cat owners do this to save time and space, it is not recommended. Cats like to search for their food and water separately – just like in the wild. So, placing their water bowl next to the food bowl will make your cat drink lesser.

Also, choose two separate bowls for water and food. Do not buy food + water bowls as most cats do not like them. Double bowls tend to contaminate the water as bits of food get inside during mealtime.  

4. Choose a permanent location

As established, cats are big on habits and routines. Slight changes in their food and feeding area may lead to stress and anxiety to them. 

 Tip #9 – Separate Cats That Eat Different Foods

For cats that require a different food or different diet plan, separate them to another room or another location.

This will help them get the nutrients they need without getting distracted by the scent of another cat’s food or by protecting its food from another who might steal it. 

Tip #10 – Stop Cat Fights Immediately

Unlike humans, cats do not resolve their issues through cat fighting. So, stop catfights immediately especially if it is a fight over food. Interrupt the fight through a loud clap or through spraying water. 

feeding two cats in one bowl

Doing this will let them know that their actions are not acceptable and should be refrained from in the future. Also, stopping the fight immediately will lessen the effect on stressed animals. It will also help you minimize food damage.  

Tip #11 – Use Feeders

You can also use cat feeders for multiple cats such as the cat microchip feeder.

This is for you to feed your cats separately during the times when you are busy or away from home. There are a lot of automatic, interactive, and smart feeders out there. 

However, make sure that you only use these feeders every once in a while, and not as your main method in feeding your cats. 

You also need to supervise the use of these feeders and it is better if you are home during feeding time, or at least a few hours after their schedule

. These feeders are not recommended to use for an extended period of time for safety and reliability purposes. 

FAQs: The Purrr-fect Answers

When Is It Necessary To Feed Cats Separately?

It is necessary to feed cats separately if cats require different amounts and types of food. It is also recommended if there are aggressive cats that start catfights or steal food from another.

Feeding your cat separately will benefit those cats diagnosed with stress and anxiety. 

What Is the Most Appropriate Feeding Schedule for Multiple Cats?

The most appropriate feeding schedule for most cats not older than 6 months is 12 hours apart. Younger cats can be fed 2-3 times a day. Adult cats however are good with one large meal a day. 


As demanding as it is, feeding your cats separately is a great idea to keep your feline friends healthy and happy. Regardless of your reason for feeding them separately, your cat will greatly benefit from this decision. 

Through doing this, you do not only ensure that they get the needed nutrients to keep them active and healthy but you also make certain that they are satisfied and comfortable while eating.

Feeding your cats separately is one great way to keep them away from stress and from fighting against each other. It is also a great means for them to develop healthy and good behavior towards eating and towards other cats and animals. 

True enough, there are a lot of things to consider when owning a cat. From knowing how to feed them separately to answering simple questions like, “Can cats eat vienna sausage?”. Bottom line is, there is no such thing as easy questions for responsible and careful cat owners. 

Everything must be verified and recommended by trusted experts as doing otherwise will put our dear cat’s life at risk.

So, if you enjoyed our discussion today, head on to this corner again and we will help you resolve all your worries about pet owning and feeding.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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