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Dominant and Timid Cat Feeding Issues

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Please help, I am at my wit's end and have searched for information everywhere and have not found a successful answer. I have one dominant and one timid cat. The dominant one is rather large (and consequently unhealthy) and the timid one is small, and gets very nervous during feeding time due to harassment by the dominant cat. She gets very nervous during feedings. She is also the kind of cat that likes to eat a little at a time instead of gobbling it all down. Consequently, the dominant cat will eat her leftovers. I try and supervise the feedings, but the timid cat takes so long to eat, I can't stay there the whole time. I have tried separating the pet bowls but it doesn't help. The dominant cat is very intelligent and observant.

This has gotten to be a huge issue. When the timid cat tries to gobble all her food up quickly so the dominant cat can't eat it, she throws up. The dominant cat's weight has gotten to be extremely unhealthy. I would try and move the food bowls again, but to make matters worse the timid cat is blind and has problems adapting to new things.

The only solution I can think of is a cat fence or something around the timid cat's bowl and the dominant cat can wear the fence collar. Is this even possible for cats? Is it humane?

The dominant cat is excessively heavy and the timid one is suffering. I feel this is the only way to stop it. Any advice or alternate ideas? Sorry this is so long.
post #2 of 10
I have been feeding our kitten in our dog crate (it's huge - holds a litter box, bed, toys and food).
For some reason, the kitten and the adult prefer each others food.
I put Talley in the crate for 20 minutes several times a day, while Zoey is feed at the same time. While not quite free feeding, it is helping me control Zoey's tendency to gain weight.
post #3 of 10
For the health of both the cats, I think you should put one in another room while feeding.

You say you can't stay there while the timid one eats, IMO you either need to or separate them.
post #4 of 10
Put them in separate rooms during feeding time. If this is not possible, Mom of 4's suggestion will be better. The timid cat can eat inside the crate without fear of the dominant one. If she is still nervous you can cover the crate so she can't see the other cat.
post #5 of 10
Are these inside cats or outside cats. With outside cats, you don't have much control. With inside cats you can put one in a room with the door shut and leave them there till they are finished.
post #6 of 10
Is the small kitty small enough that you can take one of those really large plastic storage containers - like a rubbermaid container or something - and cut a hole at the bottom near the side - and it's large enough for the small kitty to get inside, but not large enough for big kitty to get inside? IF that's the case, the container has to be large enough that the food, put on the far side (away from the hole) cannot be reached by large kitty who will try to get its paws in there to pull the food bowl over.

This is how we fed our kittens when we had adult cats. We wanted the kittens to have kitten food, but the adults were on a prescription diet.

This would allow you to free feed your smaller kitty, but would not allow your larger kitty to gain access to smaller kitty's food. Because large kitty is obsessed with food, I'd also make another hole - opposite each other - so smaller kitty has a way to get in and a way to get out, making it more difficult for large kitty to harrass small kitty.

I don't know if they're different enough in size to make it work, but thought I'd put the suggestion out there, just in case.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
They are indoor cats. The crate idea sounds like a good idea, I think I will give that a try. Or I might just put the timid one into the bathroom during meals.
post #8 of 10
LDG that sounds like a great idea! I've never thought of that, but might try your suggestion when we get Jack next year cause he will be on kitten food for a few months
post #9 of 10
Feed them seperately- I have 3 cats one of whom is very dominant and will bully the others away from their food - he eats shut in the bedroom and is used to it, at mealtimes now he goes there of his own accord. When he has finished his own in 3 mouthfuls he wails a bit, but the others get to eat at their own pace. It's not fair to allow the submissive cats to feel anxiety about dinnertime and force them to either stand up for themselves or go hungry as they would in the wild (after all we keep them in our homes to offer them a better life than that!), so just feed the bossy one in isolation and don't let him out until the others have finished.

LDG - that is a good idea for kittens, I used a similar method of a door propped open to kitten width when Sonic was young, that way only he had access to certain rooms and could get away if need be.
post #10 of 10
Yeah - I don't know if the cats are different enough in size to work. But it worked GREAT for kittens with adult cats. It was hysterical watching the adults trying to reach the food bowl to drag it over to the hole - but it only took a day or two before they all gave up trying. A really large cardboard box might work as well - but with an overweight cat, it'd have to be sturdy enough that if kitty hopped up on top it wouldn't crush.

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