Dear Miss Behavin’:

I’m interested in adopting a senior cat with medical issues, as a buddy to my senior cat Molly. My only problem is that Molly is on a prescription diet, how can I make sure that the new cat won’t get sick from eating Molly’s food?

First off, thank you for considering adopting and providing a home to a senior cat! Some of these golden oldies can get overlooked, especially with all of the cute fuzzy kittens that are available for adoption.

If Molly is on a prescription diet, check with your vet first on whether feeding this diet will be ok for the new cat as well or if each cat should have their own type of food. If it’s ok to feed both cats the same food, then you can have either one or two food bowls available in different areas of the home or one large food bowl if the cats are agreeable to this. The advantage of two separate food bowls is that it allows both cats to have multiple options for where they can eat, and help prevent any scuffles during feeding time. Prescription diets do tend to be quite expensive, so you may end up increasing your cat food bill each month. If you would prefer not to do that, then you may need to feed the new cat a different more cost effective food.

If, whether due to your vet’s advice or cost, you need to feed two different types of food, then the next step will be keeping the cats separate during feeding times. It can be easiest to do this by not free feeding the cats, and instead having regular meal times for breakfast and dinner. Then proceed to feed the cats with a closed door or baby gate between them, so that they can eat their fill without being disturbed or distracted by the other cat.

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