I’ve gotten this question twice: “How the heck does Newt get to eat her food with all the dogs in the house?” I figured I’d share what works for our multi-species household, though this is just what works for us and these unique little snowflakes.
I suspect that this question comes, in part, because many people leave their cat’s food out and let them pick at it throughout the day. With the dogs, though, that’s impossible.
Now, I’ve only been a cat lady for a short while, but I’ve gotten the distinct impression that cats like routine (insert sarcastic eye roll here) and don’t appreciate changes. The routine we established has served us very well. Unless we don’t get up on time. Then we’re in big, BIG trouble, according to Miss Newt. Breakfast is at 7:00 sharp. If we’re not up, she starts chewing on our heads. She will literally grab mouthfuls of my hair and pull. It’s not a nice way to wake up.
Anyway, she gets half a can of wet food plus a couple vitamins in the morning while the boys eat their breakfast. She insists on being fed at the same time as them – at first we weren’t totally in sync, and she would dive into their bowls and gobble up dog food. She gets her bowl on the kitchen counter. She hops up and chows down while the boys eat their breakfast on their bowls on the kitchen rug. She gets the other half of the can, and we repeat the whole routine, at dinnertime. This works for us because our kitchen has this little side counter that we don’t use for cooking, so it’s become her dining room. She’s totally accustomed to getting her bowl in that spot. And that’s where she waits – and meows – starting around 4:15, even though we don’t feed them until 5.
The other thing we’ve been doing is filling one of the little PetSafe Egg-Cersizer toys with a bit of dry kibble for her and leaving it in the dining room. We have a gate up at that door because the whole room is windows and right on the sidewalk, so the gate keeps the boys from barking their faces off at passers-by all the livelong day.
We only put about 1/3 of a cup in the toy, but it takes her about two days to finish. It’s a wobbly food puzzle that you can set different levels of difficulty. Ours is set to about the medium level, which we can’t change because one of the dogs (EMMETT) got his head through the cat door and snagged the toy – teeth marks prevent the top from turning anymore. Sigh. Anyway, she chips away at it over a couple days – usually batting it around and eating only a few kibbles at a time. We know it’s empty when she starts dashing frantically between us and the gate and us and the gate and us and the gate… until we get up and refill it.
So, there you have it! That’s how we feed the cat in a house full of dogs!
I’d love to know what works for other multi-species households! Having dogs + cats certainly adds a layer of challenge, doesn’t it? You have to think one step ahead (though somehow they always outsmart me). How do you manage feeding a whole herd?