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Discussion Starter #1
Lately I've been wondering if we should start feeding our two kittens in separate rooms. They get along great - they are brother and sister - but Lily seems to feel some uneasiness eating near her brother (even across the kitchen from him). When we adopted them January 1st, their foster mom told us that when Lily was a tiny kitten, she used to swat at other kittens eating near her during mealtimes. She also growls at Spencer when she's eating a treat and he's nearby.

During mealtimes, Lily stays in a standing/crouched position while she eats, like she's not fully relaxed. She also isn't eating very much, and then she leaves. She frequently looks over towards her brother while she's eating. Spencer usually ignores her, but once she leaves (since she NEVER finishes her food), he leaves his own food unfinished and then goes over and eats hers (even though it's usually the same kind...), unless she has a different type of food he doesn't like, which is sometimes the case.

Does she need to eat somewhere that she can't see him? I've seen some people on here talk about feeding cats in different rooms, but I've never known why that is.

Any advice is much appreciated. :) Thanks!
 

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Well, I have a total of twelve who eat inside, and they each have their own ceremic plate. I put all the plates on a serving tray and carry into the dining room, trying not to trip over all the beasties rushing around in front of me. I guess it must be very amusing to those who see it. It confirms my crazy cat lady status. While most of them prefer not to associate with the others these days, they will still eat together peacefully. The girls seem more persnickity than the boys. I'll remove their plate from the tray and give them a bit of distance from the others but so far, unless one is being particularly lazy, I don't feed them in separate rooms...I don't have enough rooms!

I think in your case I would feed Lily in another room and see if she doesn't eat better. Evidently, she doesn't feel comfortable eating around Spencer.
 

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I don't feed in different rooms, but I recognize the behavior you've described. My Rachel is the same way and, for a very long time, remained uncomfortably thin because of it.

I crate-trained my cats several months ago for other reasons - which the crate-training solved completely - but an added benefit is that Rachel now finishes her meals almost 100% of the time, and first gained and now maintains a perfect weight. I believe it's because the covered crate gives her a feeling of security that allows her to relax enough to take the time to eat at her own pace until she's done.

Maybe this would work for your two?

AC
 

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I feed most of my cats together but because RayRay gets special food I feed him separately. I used to put him in a small bathroom until he was done eating. Lately I have found that he eats more if I put him on his cat pad that sits on the computer desk and sit next to him until he's done. Talk about spoiled, but it's important for a CRF cat to eat and if it will keep him healthy for longer then I am happy to do it.
As for your kitties, whatever works best for your individuals is the way to do it. One thing I have learned with cats is that sometimes its best not to have too many cut and dried rules to follow!
 

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I've considered it. Athena gets uneasy eating too close to Apollo, however she also seems uneasy if she can't see where he is while she's eating, so I'm not sure if putting her in a separate room would help. So far I'm just trying to place her behind him at a reasonable distance so she can see him but he can't see her.

Feeding in separate rooms may be something I'll consider in the future though. I used to do it for a while and she seemed fine with eating in a separate room as long as I was sitting near her, but when we started feeding raw I had to stop, since she drags her food off the plate sometimes (tried placemats, she drags it off those too) and I don't want raw meat on the carpet. Once we put in hardwood floors it should be easier to do this.
 

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Sometimes yes. Usually the girls do really well eating together in the kitchen, but sometimes Rochelle likes her safety-safe time in the bathroom. Alice and Samantha can be a bit overbearing for her, since if I'm not right there, they are trying to steal from her dish.
 

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I feed raw, so my three are crated while they are eating.

I have two crates, one is my dog's which is a 48" wire kennel and the other is a 36" wire kennel.

Each fur-kid is put in the crate with their meal and when they are finished, I switch them out with the other.

Sometimes Dexter and Stark (my dog) eat in the same crate together if Dexter is meowing non-stop while the other crate is full.

Dexter will try and eat the dog's meat so I have to watch him when they are in the crate together.
 

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All 3 of my cats are on different diets so they have to be separated for meals.
Callista has allergies so she cannot even get a whiff of the boy's or dog's food. At least not if I want her to have fur on her hindquarters.
Xerxes is on a renal diet and is a slow eater.
Jasio is a pig and bully, so he is locked in his crate until Callista is done eating. Xerxes eats in the walk in closet and I let him out when he is done.
The dog eats in the bathroom but I don't shut the door since she never leaves a scrap and is usually done eating before Callista.

In particular Xerxes needs the shelter from the other cats while he is eating. While he loves food he always seems to enjoy eating so he never gulps his food, unlike the other two. He can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to eat a can of food! He is such a laid back cat if Callista or Jasio even walk towards him while he is eating he'll just walk away from his dish and let them have it with no fuss.
Jasio, on the other hand, is usually done in about 2 minutes and heaven forbid he has the opportunity to jump on someone's head while they are eating. Sometimes I have to lock him up while I am eating, he is such a pest.
 

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I feed the cats in the kitchen, the boys eat on the floor and Mimosa has her own spot on top of the chest freezer because she is very slow and the guys will just wander over to her plate after they are finished.
Putting her on top of the freezer cuts down on that a lot.
 

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I don't feed in different rooms, but I recognize the behavior you've described. My Rachel is the same way and, for a very long time, remained uncomfortably thin because of it.

I crate-trained my cats several months ago for other reasons - which the crate-training solved completely - but an added benefit is that Rachel now finishes her meals almost 100% of the time, and first gained and now maintains a perfect weight. I believe it's because the covered crate gives her a feeling of security that allows her to relax enough to take the time to eat at her own pace until she's done.

Maybe this would work for your two?

AC
Exactly, comfort zones are the key to understanding cat behaviour. Control of one's zone or the feel of the lack of, will trigger cat behavioural decisions, flee or fight, eat or not, crates allow restoration of a cat control zone and they behave better free of outside distractions. No more rooms, get more zones/crates.:wink
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the input everyone! :)

Although the crates sound like a great idea, we can't really afford to buy them right now, and we also don't really have a place to put them...(we live in a 1 bedroom apartment)...but I am going to try some of the other ideas. :)

One thing that does seem to work is feeding them separate types of food. I fed Lily some Weruva this morning, and since Spencer is completely anti anything that does not come in a patte form (he will not even eat little pieces of real chicken breast, and he also won't touch tuna), she seems to know that the food is ALL her's, and she relaxes a lot more.

However, I won't always be feeding her food that he doesn't like, so I will try some of these other ideas. :)
 

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I have 3 cats and they are all fed in different rooms. One of my cats has really bad food aggression issues. She will NOT eat with the others and if forced to do so, she simply drags her food somewhere out of reach (under a couch or bed). It is much easier to clean the bathroom tiled floor than a rug under the furniture. She will also attempt to dominate everyone's food bowls if given the chance. She has never beaten this habit.

My largest cat growls all through her meals if there is another cat present in the room. Since they are so uneasy about eating around each other, I just separate them and they get to eat comfortably. It did take a little getting used to, but once everyone had it down, they just follow me to their designated spots and chow down without a care in the world.
 

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If you have hard sided carry crates you can feed them in those, that is where all of my cats eat. I just have everyone in different rooms and only shut the door on Jasio since he is the pig.
As a bonus it trains them to load into the crates quickly without fuss.
 

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I love the crate idea, too...seems like a great way to create positive associations with the crate (rather than just a vet-bound box), and/or to monitor intake or keep a greedier cat from "helping" another finish.

Our two girls aren't overly fond of one another (we've only had Little Bee for about a month, and Sabine was an only feline child for 14 or 15 years). All 3 of our dogs are crate-trained...I don't know why it never occurred to me to do it with the cats! :)

They don't fight, exactly, but do a fair amount of noisy posturing with the occasional batting of paws (I don't think any contact's been made...neither seems willing to get close enough for that). I feed them in the same room (hoping that this will eventually create a positive vibe between them)...Sabine definitely eats better if I put her where she can face Little Bee while she eats. She's also one for hiding in small, dark places...so a crate might be just the thing for her...a place to retreat when she feels antagonized.

Interestingly...I bought a Feliway-type spray (calming herbal mixture with cat facial pheromones) to spray in the laundry room, which is where their litter boxes, beds and food are. For the past two nights, I've been spritzing their beds and boxes with the spray a while before giving them their wet food. While it hasn't cut out the "noisy posturing" in other parts of the house, they really do seem more relaxed in that room. Could be a coincidence...but it wasn't too expensive and might be worth a try to get your girl to relax at feeding time?
 

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I feed mine all in separate places. They're gotten used to the routine and docilely leave the others alone while they trot over to their place to eat. It's better cuz they can relax. Since they chow down real quick, I just stay to supervise in case one tries to get another's meal. Usually, they leave each other alone. I also feed them in a certain order. Jack inhales his food so he's fed last. Miu takes the longest so she gets food first. It all works out in the end. You just have to be attentive to your individual cat's personality and comfort levels.
 
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