To be honest, there is no simple answer to this question, hence this article. How often you feed your cat depends on a lot of things, from their age to their health, the breed and the type of food they’re eating. You might also wonder if you should get an automatic cat feeder.
When it comes to feeding your cat, the most important thing is to feed them wholesome, natural food that’s as close to nature as possible. Good nutrition makes it easier to determine the feeding frequency. To break it down a bit more, here are a few of the key contributing factors to how often you should be feeding your cat.
The Type of Food
Before we get into feeding times, let’s establish what type of food makes for proper nutrition for your cat. Dry cat food pellets are a popular choice because they’re affordable, have a longer shelf life, and are easy to clean up in the event of an accidental spill.
However, feeding your cat only dry food exposes them to the possibility of developing urinary tract ailments. So you’ll want to keep fresh water available to your cat at all times if their diet is largely made up of dry food.
To balance your cat’s diet, you may want to incorporate some canned wet food, which typically consists of 80% water content. Should you or your cat prefer, you may also put your cat on a 100% wet food diet, but avoid overfeeding him because it’s easy to overdo it with portion sizes when it comes to canned food.
All in all, feeding your cat a well-balanced diet of optimal foods derived from natural ingredients will give you confidence knowing that you’re giving them the best nutrition possible.
On average, kittens younger than 12 months eat more frequently than older and larger cats, because they’re still growing and need to mature on so many levels. Three nutritious meals per day are ideal for kittens and regular feeding plays a crucial role in their overall development.
Just be sure to feed your cat high quality food with healthy fats, real ingredients and lots of vitamins. Stay away from foods with artificial ingredients, as they may interfere with their immunity and holistic development.
Adult cats that are older than a year should ideally be fed twice per day, and are not fussy when it comes to feeding times. You can feed them during daylight hours or train them to feed at night if that suits your personal schedule better. For really old senior cats over the age of 5 years, one meal a day is sufficient, as they tend to be less active than younger cats. If you’re the forgetful type, you’ll want to invest in an automatic feeder to prevent missing mealtimes.
When it comes to portions, bigger cat breeds generally require bigger portions than exotic breeds and smaller kittens, who can get by just fine with regular and even small sized food options. If you’re not sure about what size portion you should be feeding your cat, consult with your veterinarian and follow their professional advice.
The treatment of age-related and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism or bad teeth and bones come with certain dietary requirements and/or side effects. For example, senior cats have unique nutritional needs because of their age, and often experience loss of appetite which requires creativity from the owner in mixing together dry and wet foods to get their nutritional needs through smaller portions.
On the other hand, certain medications may require that you put your cat on a special diet, or feed them at certain times when the medicine is taken. Whatever the repercussions of your cat’s health problems, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s advice and keep your pet on a healthy diet.
At some point, you may also need to supplement your cat’s diet with certain vitamins as an additional source of nutrition. And if your cat suddenly loses their appetite and refuses to eat, you might want to try out new foods with different flavors and textures, or pay a visit to the vet if the problem persists.
Otherwise, keeping an eye on your cat’s nutritional needs is an ideal way to spot health problems early on, which makes sticking to a regular feeding schedule very beneficial.
Sticking to a Feeding Schedule
Speaking of schedule, your day to day activities also play a role in how often you should feed your cat. For example, if you work night shifts then you may not be able to feed your cat in the mornings, which is why you’ll have to get them used to feeding in the late afternoon or early evenings. Getting into a routine with regular feeding times will help your cat to quickly adapt to the schedule, making life easier for both of you.
The most important thing to remember is that, once a schedule is established you need to be consistent and stick to it. The last thing you want is your cat feeling hungry during what should be their normal feeding time. And if you have multiple cats with different appetites, then feeding them in separate rooms could help to prevent underfeeding others at the cost of those who overeat, thus regulating the feeding schedule properly for everyone.
The moment you decide to adopt a pet and keep it as an indoor cat, you take on the responsibility to provide them with nourishment. As you can see, an indoor cat has unique and more demanding nutritional needs than those of an outdoor cat, which has other alternatives to rely on apart from store bought food. And not feeding your cat enough can lead to health ailments related to undernourishment.
So be sure to stick to a regular feeding schedule with your cat, while providing them with healthy and nourishing food at every meal time.