What’s it Like at Feeding Time in a Multi-Cat Household? The Zee and Zoey Kitties Share All!

by Deb at 4:50 AM • Cat Humor18 Comments

This is what my counter looks like preparing for any holiday dinner – lots of prep work and a big mess! This was from last Christmas when my step-daughter Jackie and I were making homemade cookies!

I don’t know about your house, but in ours, feeding the cats dinner is like preparing a Thanksgiving feast that a mob of hungry guests is anticipating to be served. The prep time can take days and the cooking itself becomes an Olympic event. And then finally, after all that pomp, circumstance, and glory you sit down at 5:00 p.m. to eat that glorious meal. And at promptly 5:07 p.m. you are done eating…

With last weekend being Mother’s Day, it got me to thinking about that in more detail because just like Thanksgiving, I prepared a nice dinner for a small crowd that took all of us a matter of minutes to eat! With eight cats, this scenario plays out each and every night with set your watch clockwork regularity. On the days that I don’t work, Peanut will promptly come into the office at 4:59 p.m. to remind me with a soft paw tap to my cheek that it is time to get my butt up from the computer to start preparing dinner. How does she know it is 4:59 p.m.? Mostly because she is incredibly smart and also because she hears the closing music from the Ellen DeGeneres Show and somehow that triggers a hunger response in her. But regardless of how she knows, she just does and she takes her duly elected role of  town-crier by the other cats VERY SERIOUSLY. 


Thanks for letting me know what time it is Peanut… otherwise I would never know and would probably forget to feed you…

I suppose in her mind, there could possibly be that one time in her safe, warm, and secure lifetime that we forget to feed her if she did not remind me it was time to get up and get dinner going. If the paw to the cheek does not instantly get my attention, she will do it again, followed by a loud, long, and pitiful wailing meow of hunger and desperation.

Once I get up, which usually happens almost instantly, because if I don’t get up by the second paw tap and wailing meow, she will then jump up onto my keyboard in frustration which definitely gets me to move quickly. I then do a tricky weave and maneuver act as I try to skillfully walk in-between 8 screaming cats as I try to walk to the kitchen without tripping over them and falling prey to a severe injury.


And so it begins as I try to find my way to the counter as I am followed by eight crazy and hungry cats!

On the days I work, the only difference to this routine is that the cats wait for me at the door to come home and once I walk into the house, I go through the walk and weave technique, but I walk from the door to the kitchen, as opposed to from the office to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, the real fun begins as Dan and I do our best to prepare dinner for 8 cats with a variety of eating needs. This task involves an enormous amount of skill as not only are we preparing meals to put in 8 separate bowls of food, but we are also simultaneously picking one cat up off the counter who has jumped up, only to put them down to be replaced by another cat who has jumped up.


Let the games begin! I am barely into the feeding process and Peanut is already up on the counter…


And now I pick Peanut up to put her back down to the floor…


Zoey watches all of it from a safe distance, looking ever the poised young lady who would never misbehave…


So that is why she is now on top of the counter with Rolz… all I did was turn my head while I was fending off Peanut. This is just the tip of the iceberg with them!

I think this actually qualifies as exercise and this little circus routine lasts through the duration of dinner preparation and it matters not one whit when we say “no,” or “get down,” or the fact that at this point, it is blatantly obvious we are going to feed them dinner soon, so what the heck is the need for them to act like lunatics at this point? Are we really going to stop the preparations and just not feed them if they don’t jump up onto the counter during all of this?

I can sort of understand Jazmine’s concern with food – maybe she still has memories of a tough life on the farm and remembers days of not having a steady meal. She is always right next to me when I cook and is quite the talented little thief. All it takes is me turning my head for a split second and she is off with something! As far as Peanut, Mia, and Rolz – well, they have lived every single day of their lives with us and have never known a minute of stress other than when my son brings his dog over to the house and they are too afraid to come out to the kitchen and eat. But, since I bring the food into the bedroom for them when this happens, it’s not like they are missing a meal.


Jazmine looks all sweet and innocent here as she watches me cook… but don’t let her fool you… she is just like the Artful Dodger from the Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist. Nothing but a thief, I tell you!

Zee and Zoey came to live with us when they were 12 weeks old, respectively, and also never knew a day that didn’t include a good dinner. Harley, well, we don’t know what her back story was, as she came from a rescue, but I can assure you after being with us since 2004, she has no memory at all of those days. Kizmet, well, bless him, but that boy just lives in his own little world and he is literally our only cat that could care less about food and doesn’t participate in any of the theatrics whatsoever, which is odd considering his size.


Kizmet typically sits up on the cat condo while we prepare dinner and I have to go and pick him up to get him to eat!

But anyhow, finally, after what seems like an hour ordeal, Dan and I set the bowls on the floor, carefully making sure each cat is situated where they are supposed to be. Mia and Jazmine eat in one area, Zee and Harley in another and the rest in a third area. Kizmet is usually nowhere to be found during the frenzy and I have to go and remind him it is time to eat. Then we stand there, proud pet guardians, happy that we are able to provide for them. Approximately 37 seconds later, all of them have switched bowls, 14 seconds after that, they switch bowls again, and 42 seconds after that, they are done eating and have left food in all of the bowls to nibble on later.


Finally all the bowls have been prepared and I can begin feeding the cats… on the floor… where they are supposed to eat…


So far so good. From L to R we have Rolz, Kizmet (he showed up tonight to make me look like a fool for the previous comments I made about him), Zoey, Peanut, Zee, and Harley.


And over in the fussy section, we have Mia who prefers to eat without a crowd and Jazmine who is still eating kitten food.


And yup… just like that, all the carefully laid out plans have gone awry as the cats do the ole switch the bowl routine… Can you tell which cat is which in this photo?

Seriously? All the meowing and whining… all the angst and impending starvation and yet that’s what happens each and every night without fail. I guess in some way’s though, it’s kind of incredible that despite the sameness of it all, cats have the ability to always make an everyday, going to happen, ordinary occurrence, extraordinary. They look forward to dinner every single day in the same joyful and exciting way a child does waiting to open gifts on Christmas morning. I think that is an incredible message for all of us to keep close to our hearts – not all of us in this world have the luxury of a meal every day and those of us that do should take care to remember what a blessing it truly is.

So how does it go in your house for feeding time? Is it a well oiled machine, a quiet and reserved ordeal, or complete chaos?


The anticipation of eating can be exhausting… Zoey, Mia, and Zee feel a good nap is in order now that their bellies are full of good food!

Loved this article? Share it with your friends!
spread the love!

Click to join the conversation

  1. Jane says:

    This so reminds me of our house. Only difference is we have a few more kitties. I make up 2 trays with 6 bowls on each. Than a double bowl for our current foster kittens. Than I take a couple bowls into the bedroom where one of our guys prefers to stay, but he usually has a friend or 3 “visiting”. Than I go to the garage and call in our foster mommy, Jessica, who usually has her teenaged twins with her, Robby and Patty (we adopted the twins–they needed to stay together, plus since they are black and harder to place we decided to keep them with us). By now the kitchen crew has narrowed down to a couple or so with our Taffy patiently waiting to see if there will be any leftovers, and 2 of my seniors, Roy and Chessy, who seem to feel they need and deserve a second, hopefully upgraded, serving, Such is the crazy fun of our living with multiple cats!

  2. Ingrid King says:

    Wow, that is quite a production! I’m still smiling that the end of the Ellen show is considered the dinner bell at your house. 🙂

  3. Sue Brandes says:

    I only have 4 but; Cashew never lets me forget a meal. He is very loud when he is hungry. LOL. He also trips you as he’s running around in the kitchen area. He loves his food. The other kitties are fairly patient unless they think I take to long. LOL.

  4. Brian says:

    We are all very calm and patient while we are waiting for the food, but we do let Dad know when the time has come to start fixin’ the goodies!

  5. I’ve often wondered just how you do it, and now I know. Cracks me up…the ol switcher roo. LOL
    Let’s just say when I die I want to come back as one of your cats!

  6. With so many more cats than here, you have an even bigger production. Here, the head peep has to remove Newton from the counter over and over and over and over and over while she is making three cat meals. She has been threatening to find someone with a wearable camera to record the production. We all run to our assigned rooms to eat, so we can’t switch bowls, though. We always want whatever the other cats have, but can’t get to it!

  7. I’m alone since end of March, but we usually were only two (and a new sisfur is going to join the family end of June) : that’s (almost) calm… Purrs

  8. This is made my day. There’s a beautiful flow of cat energies while maintaining their personal space. I missed seeing you at Blogpaws and happy to fill in in when we next chat.

  9. First of all, I’ve just gotta say… JAZMINE IS GORGEOUS but you already knew that, I bet.

    At our house, we’ve sort of trained the peeps to feed us dinner whenever we like which sometimes means ten different dinners.

    But breakfast… BREAKFAST! Let me tell you… At breakfast, ALL TEN OF US wanna be fed FIRST! And the nine who aren’t are never happy ’bout that.


  10. Shiner Cougarcat says:

    Pretty much the same here only x 6 instead of eight. Four that eat together in a little group and 2 of us that prefer to eat alone. Mom gets LOTS of help getting our food in bowls, Blues chews on any available plastic and has to be removed (on the cabinet), LeeLu rips pieces off the nearest available cardboard, Foxy under Mom’s feet, etc. etc. Gotta love it!

  11. Carolyn says:

    I loved this post. Having been away for a while, I’ve missed your keen observations and brilliant writing. I think Austin manages quite well nagging me at regular times and yes, he’s always spot on with the timing. I can never forget to feed him. xx

  12. meowmeowmans says:

    What a great post! It looks like a kitty conga line in that third picture. 🙂

    Feeding time at the shelter looks like this, too!

  13. Robin Stephens says:

    At first, we had a lot of turmoil at feeding time, but my mother-in-law told to start feeding them in the order they got here and that helped a lot. They didn’t fight as much afterwards.

    • Robin Stephens says:

      apparently, they were very concerned with who got fed first, I didn’t really think it made a difference but it did

  14. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    “” Zoey watches all of it from a safe distance, looking ever the
    poised young lady who would never misbehave””

    ….til her dee sided ta knock de iced tea ta de floor….thunk….OOOPZ !!!

    guys….may bee if yur mom & dad wood just give ewe de keys ta de car
    sew everee one could go to de pizzeria…it wood simplify food time 🙂


  15. Connie Marie says:

    That is so funny! You have to learn the cat shuffle as to not to fall!! My balance is off anyway, my head has hit the wall enough! So I shuffle walk and haven’t fallen since. No heels though. You go to all the work for their special foods and they change anyway!! The only way I can ensure correctness if needed is separate rooms! Have to be quick too!!
    Loved your story and photos.

  16. Sandy says:

    We use Wireless Whiskers feeder it allows you to set independent allowances for up to 8 cats. In automatic mode it will measure how much your cat normally eats and automatically pet them on a diet! One feeder can manage up to 8 cats. It works by attaching a wireless tag to your pets collar so it is recognized by name when it tries to feed.
    You can also set up separate feeding stations and program which pets can access.