How Often Should I Feed My Cat
How often you should feed your cat depends on you and your cat. For example, some owners like to leave food out all the time for their cat. This makes sense on the surface because cats are natural grazers who like to eat when they please. This works for some cats but most are terrible judges of how much they should eat and can put on weight quickly. This is because most cat owners are working and therefore not there to regularly top up the bowl with small amounts. Overweight cats often experience a variety of health problems such as joint disease, heart disease and diabetes.
In an ideal purrfect world, we would be home all day and all night stopping every couple of hours to add a little bit more food to the cat bowl. While automatic pet feeders are a great way to accomplish this, most people don’t have them. This is why most vets suggest sticking to specific meal times rather than leaving food out.
Sticking to specific meal times also helps develop a routine with your cat. Most cats will prefer their meals at dawn and dusk as this is when their instincts would have them out hunting prey in the wild. However, it’s ok to have a different routine if that’s would suits your schedule. For example, mornings may be the crazy time in your house getting all the kids organised and off to school. Feeding the cat once a day in the evening is perfectly fine – especially if you have an established routine with your cat.
Age is also an important factor in determining how often you should feed them. Kittens require much more food to support their growth and active lifestyle. If you have a kitten, it’s best to target at least 3 meals a day. Once your kitten hits 6 months of age, you can switch to 2 meals a day. Once your cat hits 1 year of age, it’s ok to switch to 1 meal a day if that’s what works best for your routine.
This obviously changes if your cat has a specific health issue. For example, if your cat suffers from diabetes, you may need to feed him/her whenever insulin is administered. You should speak with your vet about feeding schedules if you can has a specific health concern.
Lastly, if you’re addicted to the love you get for handing out tasty cat treats, it’s ok to do this throughout the day as long as you don’t overdo it. Some suggest that cat treats should be no more than 5-10% of your cat’s daily calories intake.