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Can Two Cats Share a Food Bowl?

Do you have cats that appear to be picky eaters, are losing weight, or fighting over their food? Cats can have some particular feeding habits. But, if you are feeding cats from the same bowl you may be causing your cats unnecessary feeding problems.

Is it possible for cats to eat from the same bowl or even eat near each other? Do I need to change the way I feed my cats?

It turns out there are scientifically proven reasons why we should not encourage cats to eat from the same bowl. Giving them separate bowls will make them healthier and happier.

To learn more about cats sharing food bowls, check out our article on Bonding Cats.


Should we change the way we feed our cats? 

If you feed your cats at the same time as other cats, you feed them from the same bowl, or you feed them in the same area, this could be causing feeding problems for your cats.

Many experts are recommending we change the way we feed our cats, especially if it’s causing problems for them, and even if it isn’t, it’s worth considering.


Why You Should Change Your Cat’s Feeding Habits 

If you’re experiencing problems with your cat, you should change your cat’s feeding habits to benefit their health and happiness. These tips can help you mimic how they naturally eat in the wild.

We’ll get to the tips in a moment, but first, here are a few good reasons why you should feed your cats separately and mimic their instinctual feeding habits.

Mimic How Cats Eat In The Wild

Feeding cats smaller meals separately mimics how they eat in the wild. Naturally, feral cats (you know, the ones wandering around your neighborhood) often eat many small meals spread throughout the day.

They have to adjust their eating habits to what they can get, so sometimes they may have a mouse here or there or a bird, which is just a few calories at a time. They’re also used to waiting a long time for another meal if prey gets hard to find.

Cats Hunting Instinct

cats hunting instinct

Feeding cats separately mimics how cats hunt. When cats hunt for their food in the wild as feral cats, they sneak up on their prey, which explains why they like to do this alone.

You don’t see a group of cats sneaking up on an unlucky mouse or bird. And, all cats will do this at some point because their primal hunting instinct is hardwired into them.

Cats Are Solitary While Eating

Feeding cats from different bowls mimics how cats relate to each other socially to eat.

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It turns out that when it comes to cats and socializing, it depends on the situation. They’re very social creatures, but it’s different when it comes to food.

According to Hill’s, a pet food company, cats are solitary hunters and eaters: “For people, eating is a social event, but because cats are solitary hunters, most would prefer to eat alone. This means when one cat in a home must be fed separately from the others, she is probably happier.”

So, it turns out cats like to eat alone in addition to hunting alone, according to Hills.


3 Signs of Feeding Problems With Cats

You need to change the feeding situation for your cats if you notice some of these behaviors from your cat:

#1 Your Cat Loses Weight

This could mean she doesn’t feel comfortable eating in front of the other cats and stops eating around them. When cats eat, they feel vulnerable, so your cat simply won’t eat in front of other cats, so they can feel safer.

#2 Your Cats Are Fighting Over Food

If you find your cats fighting together over food, but they get along any other time, it means they think there isn’t enough food to go around. When cats believe there are enough resources, they don’t fight with each other over food.

cats fight for food

#3 Your Cats Throw Up After Eating

This could mean they’re gobbling it so that the other cats don’t take their food. When cats do this, it’s called “scarf and barf.”

This can also lead to cats losing weight because they aren’t keeping their food down. Think of how you feel when you eat too fast!


Why don’t all cat owners have problems feeding 2 cats from the same bowl?

It turns out our house cats can exist together and view each other as part of the same group, keeping them from fighting with each other for food. These groups of cats are called colonies.

If you have multiple cats living in the same house and they all get along, they likely feel like they’re from the same group. If your cats have been eating from the same bowl and you haven’t noticed any problems, there are two reasons for this:

#1 Your Cats Think They’re Part Of The Same Group

If your cats think they are from the same colony, they won’t fight with one another or compete for resources. They’ll even defend each other if a strange cat tries to attack or infiltrate their group.

#2 Your Cats Think There’s Enough Food For Everyone

If your cats don’t have any problems eating from the same bowl, it’s probably because they think there’s enough food to go around. Once the food in the food bowl gets too low, you’ll start to notice some behavioral problems between your cats.


How To Start Feeding Your Cats Naturally

If feeding two cats with one bowl is working for you, is it worth changing the routine they’re used to? After all, we all know that cats like their routine and don’t like change, so as the old saying goes: if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it!

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However, it is worth trying feeding strategies that experts recommend are best for our cats because of the potential problems we mentioned before that can occur. Despite being in the same colony, cats still are wired to hunt and eat alone.

It’s important to at least try to feed your cats in the way nature intended, as long as you can help your cats get into the routine. Here are some ways you can help your cat eat the way nature intended.

Use A Dish, Not A Bowl

Let’s start with the food bowl. It turns out that food bowls aren’t even the best option for cats because of their whiskers.

If the cat’s whiskers brush against the side of the food bowl, it can be a bit uncomfortable. Instead, it’s recommended to feed your cat from a flat dish. An alternative is to use a shallow bowl.

That way, it’s easier for them to get to the food, and their whiskers don’t get in the way of the process.

Feed Your Cats In Separate Places

Another good thing to do for your cats is to feed them in separate places from other cats living in the home. Cats often feel vulnerable when they’re feeding, so they may eat less if they’re eating beside each other so they can hurry up and get it done before they get attacked by predators or other cats trying to steal their food.

Feed Your Cats In Separate Places

Give Your Cats Small Meals, Not Big Ones

They also like to get small meals throughout the day because this mimics how they would be fed in the wild. So, instead of giving your cats one big meal from the same bowl, it’s best to provide them with small meals throughout the day in their separate dish away from each other.

Other ways you can be more in tune with your cat’s natural eating habits are placing their food dish away from their water bowl and hiding their food in places as if it were a hunting game.


Final Thoughts

So, it turns out two cats can eat from the same bowl if they think they’re from the same colony and there’s enough food to go around. But, just because they can, it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to feed them.

Even if your cats don’t fight over food and don’t have problems eating together, it’s still worth feeding them in the way their instincts intended. Your cat will have fewer problems eating their food, your cat will be healthier and stay at a healthy weight, you’ll have fewer behavioral issues between cats, and you’ll overall have a happier cat!