As long as we’ve had a cat and lived in this house (nearly fifteen years of both those things being true), we’ve had a very nice feeding station set up in the kitchen. It has a placemat, a bowl of food, and a ceramic bowl of water. This is the spot Maggie always used.
When Eddy came to live with us, we set up his station (with kitten food) a few feet away, in a corner just inside the dining room. This is where he ate until Maggie passed away. Eventually, we moved him into the kitchen, as it was more out of the way.
After we gave Beso and Luna run of the house, we set up their station in that same part of the dining room. The thinking is that the prime kitchen spot is the one for the Senior Cat, with the other location for the Assistant Cats.* As they moved from kitten to adult food, we simply kept a pair of bowls of the same stuff out. They could use both bowls.
Cats, as always, have their own ideas.
Eddy defaults to the bowl in the dining room. He’s happy to share with the rest of the coalition, however, if he’s going to be eating, it will be in the dining room. Beso and Luna show a preference for that bowl, but will eat in the kitchen if it is empty.
Eddy, on the other hand, gets quite distraught if that bowl is empty (or really, really low). He’ll fuss to get me to check. I usually point out to him that the other bowl has plenty of food. Eddy, however, will nip at my feet to get me back to “his” bowl. If it is the normal bowl-filling time, I might fill it. However, I might also swap it with the bowl in the kitchen. This solves his primary complaint (the empty bowl), but I don’t have to give in. Everyone wins!
*You should see our feline org chart.
Post inspired by a discussion with @gourmetpens.