Hi Everybody! Molly, from Cat Behavior Solutions, here with your Bonding Tip of the Week. Now, in the last few weeks, we’ve talked about how mealtime can be a great opportunity to bond. I want to continue with that theme! So, this week’s bonding tip is: if you have a multiple-cat household, feed your cats apart.
You may have already picked up by now that cats aren’t very good at showing stress. After all, if they show stress out in the wild, they’re practically marking themselves as an easy target. Instead of outwardly showing stress, cats give very subtle signals, signals that you might miss if you aren’t paying close enough attention.
As a result, some day-to-day happenings can cause your cat stress without you, their owner, realizing it. One example of this is feeding together in a common bowl or in too close proximity. Since they’re so good at masking their stress, they might even appear to enjoy eating together, but that’s not quite the case.
Since the very first Bonding Tip of the Week, you’ve heard me say several times that cats are solitary creatures. They have evolved in a solitary environment, so they don’t really have it in their DNA to make friends and bond with other cats. In the same vein, it’s not in a cat’s nature to hunt in groups. They don’t get together and… I don’t know… go on little hunting parties and then have a little feast together afterwards!
For house cats, eating too close together creates competition over food. This can cause anxiety for your cat, and it might even cause fights to break out. You might not know how much stress this is causing, and it might show up in behavior issues, or even physical issues, later on down the road.
So, when it comes to solutions, there are a number of different routes you could go.
I recommend feeding your cats at least two feet apart from each other. Feed them in separate rooms from each other, if possible. It might seem like an unnecessary step, but what have you got to lose? Going the extra mile is better than putting your cat in a situation it really won’t like.
So go ahead and reduce a little stress on your cats, and if you have multiple, feed them separately. We know by now that when your cat is less stressed, it’s going to be more comfortable and want to bond with you more. Until next time, keep calm and purr on!
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