How many times a day does my cat need feeding? Are breakfast, dinner, and lunch enough? Our kitties cannot talk to us, which is why it is our responsibility to ensure that they are appropriately fed throughout the day. However, at the same time, we have to be careful not to overfeed them since that may lead to health issues.
In this guide, we discuss some of the most contentious issues when it comes to feeding cats and how you can go about tackling them. Trust us; the answers are not as hard as some people make them out to be!
How many times does a cat need feeding?
So, how many times a day should you feed your cat. It can often be hard to draw a balance between how much food is enough to satiate your cat and how much food is too much. However, this is where experts and vets come in.
After carrying out extensive research, researchers have pointed out that adult cats with a moderate level of physical activity need to be fed at least twice in one day.
The ideal cat feeding schedule includes administering two good portion sizes after a gap of about 12 hours. So, for instance, if you give your cat breakfast at 8 a.m., you could provide it with dinner at 8 p.m. This very effective cat feeding schedule seems to work for most felines.
How important is a cat feeding schedule?
A cat’s feeding schedule is just as important as a cat diet. This is because cats are creatures of habit. Having a safe, familiar routine makes cats comfortable. This is why cats should be given similar foods as part of their cat diet at roughly the same time every day.
While a bit of variation is possible, sticking to a routine is highly recommended if you want to ensure that your cat is physically and mentally healthy. The more your pet knows it can trust you with its meal times, the closer your cat’s relationship with you becomes.
How old is your cat?
However, the two meals a day rule does not apply equally to all cats. Your cat’s feeding schedule actually varies depending on its age. Let us explain. The younger your cat is, the more food and nutrients it needs to fulfill its everyday requirements.
This is because kittens are more active than adult cats, and their growing age means that whatever food they are given is used up quickly for their bodily growth.
This is why if your cat is young, it needs more than just 2 meals a day. According to vets, kittens can be given 4-5 smaller meals a day. This ensures that they do not overeat. However, dispersing the meals throughout the day makes sure that they have enough energy to last them through the day.
What time of the day are you free?
Another factor determining how many times you should feed your cat is your own schedule. For example, if you are not at home all day, you can probably not give your cat breakfast, lunch, and dinner—however, no need to worry. You can simply feed your cat twice a day if you have a hectic schedule.
For instance, if you leave for work at 8, feed your cat once before going to work, and feed it once more after returning home.
Does your cat have any health conditions?
Another factor determining your cat feeding schedule is any pre-existing health conditions it has. The most important disease that can affect cat feeding is diabetes. Diabetes is very prevalent amongst older cats, and the more overweight your cat is, the more likely it is to contract diabetes. If your cat’s diabetes has advanced to such a stage that it needs to be given insulin, you need to adjust your cat feeding schedule to the insulin regime.
Should I allow my cat to eat freely?
One of the tips that a lot of people recommend is allowing your cat to feed freely throughout the day. This puts an end to the question of how many times you should feed your cat. All you need to do is put a full bowl of food in front of your cat and allow it to eat from it whenever it wants.
This method of cat feeding is usually recommended for being “convenient” since it does not require cat owners to supervise mealtimes.
However, we do not suggest this “free choice” method of cat feeding. Cats do not know how much food is ideal for them. So a lot of felines can end up overeating if they are given an unlimited amount of food throughout the day.
If cats overeat, they can become overweight, which in turn can lead to cardiac problems and diabetes. This is why we always recommend pet owners establish a fixed cat feeding schedule based on their cat’s needs.
Can cats eat raw chicken as part of their diet?
Another important question regarding cat feeding is can cats eat raw chicken as part of their free-choice diet. While many people feed their cats with raw meats, we do not suggest feeding them raw chicken. This is because raw chicken can contain a number of germs and bacteria that can make your cat ill.
This is why it is better to stick to commercially produced cat foods. If you really want to feed your homemade cat meals, we would suggest cooking the chicken on the stove or in the oven first. This cooking process will kill off any harmful germs and prevent your cat from becoming ill.
We hope that our guide helped you understand the basics of cat feeding. For a new pet owner, establishing a feeding schedule for your cat can seem a bit daunting. However, we have tried to break down the basics of cat feeding for you to know what basic principles you should keep in mind when making a cat feeding schedule.