A large cat will struggle to fit through a pet doorPhoto: Astrid Gast (Shutterstock)

Dieting a cat is difficult. The pathetic eyes, the constant yowling, the incessant pounding of paws asking for food, not to mention all the times they wake you up at 2 a.m. hoping your guard is just enough to feed them . Add a second cat with different nutritional needs and it may seem impossible to get it to work.

I’ve been in this predicament lately: like many of us, my hangover Cement has put on a few pounds in the last year, from an already cementitious 17 pounds to a mega-laced 21 pounds, probably because all it’s exercise is feeding our smaller ones Stealing cat. Something has to change before he gets any health problems or our little cat decides he’s had enough of food theft and finds a better family.

So what to do if one of your cats looks a little too fat?

Establish strict meal times

One answer is to help structure your food intake fixed meal times, with your cats eating either in separate rooms or at different times, in an arrangement that prevents the other cat from entering the “dining room” during this time. For example, one cat could eat its meals in the bedroom while the other cat eats in the home office at the same time. If your home is smaller, meals can take place at different times but in the same room; Just keep the door closed while one cat is eating and the other is standing outside yelling to be let in. The most important thing is to create a physical separation that will keep them from eating each other.

If you stick to fixed meal times, the problem is getting your cats to adjust to the new feeding schedule. If they’re used to nibbling all day, things get tough at first. To help ease the shock, keep meals longer so they have more time to graze, and give them smaller meals more often.

If you are switching to a diet food at the same time, it is important to remember that you always have to slowly introduce your cats to a new type of food, otherwise they can get digestive problems. In the interests of your litter box (or couch, rug, or rug), start by mixing a little new food with your regular food and adding a little more of the new stuff every day.

G / O Media can receive a commission

Distract them with puzzle feeders

One possible solution to distracting your hungry cat is to get hold of something Puzzle feeder, these are toys that you can load with a few pieces of dry food. In order to get to the food, the cat has to solve the riddle. Assuming your cat isn’t giving you the death look, treating her like a rat in a maze may help her adjust to the new feeding schedule and cope with boredom.

Put the food where only a cat can access it

If the thought of getting your cats to keep certain meal times still makes you twitch, another solution is to put the smaller cat’s food in an area that the larger cat cannot reach. For example, my friend Jon put the smaller cat’s food on the fridge where his larger cat couldn’t jump. There are also Automatic feeders that is only opened to a specific pet based on their microchip, a fancier way to keep their food separate without resorting to scheduled meal times.

If one of your cats has special dietary needs, this is a great way to make sure your cats aren’t trying the other’s food. Of course, there is still nothing you can do about being woken up by a hungry cat at 2 a.m. This is a problem for you to find out for yourself.