Cats and food bullying – Feline food bullying

FELINE FOOD BULLYING

Catnips – London cat sitting and cat grooming 

Many of my clients with two cats seem to have this problem and now I have it with my two kittens. Like my clients, I noticed that one kitten was growing far bigger than the other so I decided to watch closely during mealtimes to see what was happening. And boy, was I in for a surprise.

First of all the smaller kitten kept glancing over at the larger one before taking mouthfuls of food. The larger kitten would gobble her food down quickly and then head for the other ones food bowl straight away which led to the smaller kitten giving in and walking away. This resulted in the smaller one hardly getting any food and sadly it took me a while to realise what was going on. Now the smaller kitten won’t even eat in the larger ones presence.

Cat food bullying DOES exist

After seeing the size difference of my own two I started to notice size differences in my clients multi household cats and the mannerisms around feeding time. Every client I have spoken to about this has admitted that they too have problems with bullying tactics around mealtimes and they do not know how to stop it!

There are two things you can do to help try to curb the situation.

1. Feed the larger cat in a separate area first until he/she is full and then give loads of fuss (or other diversion tactics) whilst you put the food bowl down for the smaller cat in another area. Close the doors between them if you can.

2. Stand over them if you cannot separate them and make sure you squirt the larger cat with water whenever he/she attempts to bully the other one away from her food. Hopefully, sooner or later, the message will sink in that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

The above advice is difficult to administer when you are at work so the third bit of advice I will say is give the smaller cat an extra bit of food at night in another part of your home away from the bully! 😉

Good luck and please do let me know if you have any further tips on the subject.

By Catnips – London cat sitting and cat grooming 


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About Anita Kelsey - Cat Behaviour Consultant

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.
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