Tips on how to stop resident cat and new kitten eating each other's food (first time two-cat owner)

imaginewizard

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This is the first time I've ever had a second cat. Resident cat is River, 7 next month, new kitten is Lillie, almost ten weeks.

So I'm facing the issue of food segregation. It doesn't help that River is very food orientated and has been eating Lillie's food whenever he can. Lillie seems comparatively not very food orientated: The box advises 70g/day split into two meals but she hardly finishes her first 35g in a day. Sometimes I've picked her up and placed her next to her food and she's eaten (and she does eat otherwise) but she isn't finishing her meals. She doesn't seem to be suffering from it - she isn't scarfing her food down when she does eat and I don't think River is putting her off because she's like this even when he's locked out (and she doesn't mind him when he's around, judging by the fact she has been lying down and chilling near him, she only gets annoyed when he pounces on him). She does seem to inclined to nibble at River's food when she walks passed but only sometimes, and until today she's only been out of the one room she was in whilst supervised, so I've stopped her pretty much before she starts, so I don't know what her drive is but I imagine no more than her drive for her own food.

In terms of solutions - I've put a box with a mousehole cut out on top of her food, with some weighty objects on top that will hopefully deny River access - I don't know if Lillie will figure it out though, with her low food drive, hopefully she will (I had another box yesterday but it was too low for her to go inside, but she did try and monch through it, but a few times with prompting). I don't know how to isolate River's food - a website suggested using the older cat's ability to jump heights? I guess there's one place River can get to I know Lillie can't. (It's currently the one table I'm keeping all the stuff I haven't managed to find a place to keep permanently despite moving back into my flat 12 months ago oops!)

As they grow older how much of an issue is it to keep food separate? When I first got River, I free fed him until a checkup he had within the next 9 months I had him, when the vet advised I feed him only 70g to push his weight down a kg. I now only feed him 60-70g a day, which he never finishes, and his weight is around 4kg. It's been 5 years since I adopted him so he's now spent a majority of his life with limited food, so maybe I don't need to watch their food intake as much now as long as their weight stays right and just keep bowls with food in and trust they both get the 70g they need (this is when they're both adults, I wanna make sure Lillie is getting enough as she is a kitten, although like I said she's not even finishing her 35g, even tho I read kittens are usually more food driven).

I know this isn't a novel problem by any means, so looking forward to some insight from other people with more experience of bringing a kitten into a single cat household, and how they changed things as the kitten got older.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. As long as Lillie gets enough to eat and River doesn't overeat, you could change to an 'all stages' food that both could eat. Or, wait until Lillie is older to do that if you would prefer to keep her on kitten food for now.

In the meantime, if River gets too inquisitive about what is in Lillie's eating box or what she is doing in there, you could always set his food dish outside while she is in it and see if that will distract him - as he would get to eat some each time she does!
 
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imaginewizard

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Hi. As long as Lillie gets enough to eat and River doesn't overeat, you could change to an 'all stages' food that both could eat. Or, wait until Lillie is older to do that if you would prefer to keep her on kitten food for now.

In the meantime, if River gets too inquisitive about what is in Lillie's eating box or what she is doing in there, you could always set his food dish outside while she is in it and see if that will distract him - as he would get to eat some each time she does!
Ah his food dish is already outside. He will happily eat both his and hers. I should've mentioned - River is a grazer (and Lillie also appears to be) so food times aren't a thing - they will eat throughout the day, which I know is normal, but means I can't isolate them for feeding.

So far anti-River measures appear to be working though!!! It's just waiting to see if Lillie actually eats enough. I'll give it some time tho she's been here less than a week so she's been busy exploring and figuring River out.
 
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imaginewizard

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Well River's figured out he can put his arm in and pull part of the bowl (it's one of those two-bowls-attached types) out to eat the food ... 😂
 
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imaginewizard

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Micro chip feeders
Is the SureFeed one the only one that is simply a cover on a cat bowl that opens when it detects a microchip?

I've been googling for about 15 mins, all other automatic feeders are either just on timers or are the ones that release food into the open when a cat comes near. The SureFeed one seems the only one that would actually be what I need (to prevent them eating each other's food but otherwise allow me to both feed them and for them to eat in their own time), but it's in excess of £80 each.

Somehow, Lillie has now developed to the point she can now jump onto the table I keep River's food on, so it seems we're contesting with the potential of her eating his food earlier than I thought!!!
 
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