Cats instinctively take their prey away from other cats to eat. When we expect multiple cats to eat side-by-side, we may be setting them up for conflict.
Watch your cats’ body language. If they aren’t completely relaxed while eating, focusing on their food instead of other cats, or if they stop and dart away in the middle of eating, you may need to give them more space.
Watch also for food bullying, even if accidental. Some highly food-motivated cats may naturally push shy ones out of the way. Some cats, especially those lower in the cat hierarchy, may need to be fed in a different part of the room. Some may even need to be fed in a different room entirely.
If you free feed, please offer more than one feeding station. Much like litter boxes, there may need to be a separate feeding station per cat. Again, this is just insurance for preventing possible conflicts over food.
Don’t forget the water! Multiple water bowls ensure regular access to water as well as backup sources should one get tipped over. Cats need to be encouraged to drink, so offering more choices will make sure your cat gets the water he or she needs. Many cats also like water fountains. There are many commercial ones available.