How To Feed A Cat

How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

The number and frequency of meals your cat consumes are determined by his or her age, health, and preferences. Taking a stroll down the pet food aisle at your local supermarket, you will discover a plethora of different foods to tempt your cat. In the event that you feed your cat too little or the wrong sort of food, he will not be in good health. If you overfeed him, he will get obese. However, by creating regular feeding patterns for your cat, you may assist him in getting out on the right foot.

The Influence of One’s Age When it comes to supporting their growth, kittens require more food per pound of body weight than adult cats, and as a result, they should be fed more frequently throughout the day.

says that growing kittens up to the age of six months may require three meals a day.

“Most cats will thrive when fed twice a day from the time they are six months old until they reach maturity.” In most situations, after the cat reaches adulthood, which occurs at around one year, once or twice a day feeding is sufficient.

  • According to Dr.
  • It Is Important to Maintain Your Cat’s Health If your cat has a health condition such as diabetes, you may need to adjust his feeding schedule based on how often he is supplied insulin, which will vary depending on the kind.
  • Kallfelz advises.
  • “Treat the sickness,” Dr.
  • In the event that it is a curable condition, take care of it first and then feed your cat normally.” When a cat reaches an advanced age, his teeth may begin to decay or he may get gum disease, which may make it difficult for him to eat dry food.
  • Kallfelz explains, “if they reach that phase, they should be offered canned food or dry food in a finer nugget size.” If you want to make it simpler to chew, crush up the dry ingredients and combine them with water.
  • Many cat owners exclusively provide dry food to their feline companions.

Dry cat food may be less expensive than canned cat food, and it may also remain fresher for a longer period of time.

It is critical for all cats to have access to fresh, clean water on a consistent basis.

Some cats may prefer canned food to dry food, and this is understandable.

Of course, this may happen with both canned and dried foods.

Kallfelz suggests.

If the food is not quite as appetizing, he may be less prone to overindulge.

If your cat’s nutritional requirements are lower than the norm, you may be feeding more than is necessary because the feeding guidelines on pet food labels are based on the typical cat’s nutritional requirements.

If you want to make your meals more appetizing, you may add a tiny bit of canned food to the dry food you’re already eating.


In the opinion of Dr.

It’s important to remember that even dry food put out for your cat to free feed must be fresh, so be sure to change up the food every day.

“Eating several little meals throughout the day may help patients feel less hungry,” Dr.

“However, one is nutritionally sound.” And here’s a tip that could be useful: If you have a picky cat, rotating his food on a regular basis may help prevent him from getting reliant on a single food source.

The frequency with which you feed your cat may also be determined by your schedule.

In certain conditions, feeding your cat may be more convenient in the evening when the house is calmer and less crowded.

Make an appointment with your cat on a timetable that works for both of you, and stick to it.

In addition, some cats may overindulge when food is readily available at all times. “All you have to do is come up with a strategy,” Dr. Kallfelz explains. You can feed them in distinct areas of the house or in various rooms of the house. This essay first published in CatWatch magazine in 2009.

3 Cat Feeding Methods – Pros and Cons of Each

Do you find it difficult to figure out the best approach to feed your feline companion? “Should I give my cat free food?” you might be asking yourself. What method are you using to feed your cat right now? Do you have any cats who are currently being fed for free? Do you follow a tight meal schedule, or do you use a blend of the two? Find out about the three distinct methods cat owners may feed their feline pals, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each approach, by continuing reading this article.

Meal Feeding Cats

The term “meal feeding” refers to the practice of delivering food to your cat exclusively at particular meal times throughout the day. This method of feeding may be used for both canned and dry meals. Advantages: Food consumption may be precisely tracked, making it simple to determine whether or not your cat has seen a change in his appetite. If you have the pleasure of having a multi-cat household, all cats will have access to food without one cat becoming dominant over the others — otherwise, one cat could be eating all of the food and gaining too much weight, while the other cat(s) could be missing out on the nutrients they require to stay healthy.

  1. Cats may beg for food between meals if they are hungry.
  2. But if you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and feed her in the recommended amounts and on a regular schedule, you can be assured that she is getting the necessary quantity of food and nutrients.
  3. In reality, feeding your cat only once a day should be plenty for the vast majority of them.
  4. The Cat Doctors recommends that if you have numerous cats, each cat should have its own food and water station in a calm, low-traffic area where the cat enjoys spending time, according to the website.

Free Feeding Cats

It’s natural to ask if free feeding is an appropriate strategy if you haven’t considered any other alternatives. Because they are free fed, their food is available at all times when they are allowed to roam the house. You must remember, however, that only dry foods may be served in this manner, as wet food should not be kept out throughout the day. If you notice that your cat is keeping dry food in their dish for more than a day, you should still discard it to ensure that the food remains as fresh as possible for them.

  1. Place the appropriate amount of dry food for a cat for only one day at a time in the dish if you want to have success free feeding your cat.
  2. It might often be difficult to determine if your cat’s appetite has changed for the better or for the worse.
  3. Overall, while free feeding can result in excess weight if not properly controlled, there are methods to enable free eating while still taking your cat’s weight and food into consideration.
  4. Once the food has been consumed, do not restock the refrigerator until the following day.
  5. A food puzzle filled with pre-measured food is another alternative for free feeding cats.
  6. Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior specialist who spoke with Scientific American, stated that she enjoys food puzzles not just as a means to reward cats, but also as a way to feed cats on a daily basis.

No one would ever offer them a bowl of mice, would they? “Delgado expresses himself.

Combination Feeding

Mixed feeding may be described as the practice of offering canned food as a twice-daily meal while providing access to dry food on a regular basis. In addition, by using combination feeding, your cat will be able to eat many, small portions of dry food each day on his or her own timetable. When you serve them wet food as a specific meal at a predetermined time of day, you can at least partially regulate their hunger. Besides that, it provides cats with the nutritional advantages of both wet and dry food.

  1. If you have numerous cats, it might be difficult to keep track of each one’s overall food intake, therefore free feeding may not be the ideal solution in this situation.
  2. The greater moisture content of wet food may be beneficial to cats that have been diagnosed with specific medical disorders like as urinary and renal difficulties, for example.
  3. In the event that you decide to experiment with combination feeding, consider employing a food puzzle to provide your cat with a sense of accomplishment by engaging in snack play.
  4. Otherwise, your cat or cats may grow overweight, increasing the likelihood of their acquiring additional health problems in the future.
  5. Guidelines for how much your cat should eat each day may be found on every Hill’s cat food bag, as well as in feeding tips on the product pages on the Hill’s website.
  6. Keep in mind that these are merely suggestions.
  7. Consult your veterinarian for information on the number of calories your cat should consume on a daily basis.
  8. If you believe that your cat is having difficulty with weight management or eating in general, we strongly advise scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian to come up with the best game plan for your cat.

Contributor Bio

Kara Murphy is a model and actress who lives in New York City. Kara Murphy is a freelance writer who also happens to be a pet parent who resides in Erie, Pennsylvania. Maddie, her goldendoodle, is her best friend.

What’s the Best Way to Feed a Cat?

Wether or not your cat is a fussy eater or is slightly on the chubby side, he or she will most likely let you know how they feel about what you placed in their food dish. In St. Paul, Julie A. Churchill, DVM, PhD, is an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “Cats are extremely opinionated about food, and a great deal of their food preferences are formed in the first year,” she says. “A lot of their food preferences are formed in the first year.” So, if your cat is a kitten, now is the time to introduce them to a variety of food kinds, including wet, dry, and semidry varieties.

However, even if your pet is older, there are still ways to ensure that they are receiving all of the nutrients they require to be healthy. Begin by knowing more about the item you’re purchasing and the requirements of your cat.

Choose Balanced Food

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville’s Richard Hill, PhD, associate professor of veterinary medicine, believes that all cat owners should be familiar with how to read a cat food label. According to him, “because of all the advertising, people tend to focus on the ingredients, whereas in fact the nutrients, namely protein and fat, are more essential.” Although it is fashionable to criticize grains and carbs in pet food, Churchill believes that these ingredients are not always harmful.

The crunchiness of carbs can be beneficial in holding dry food together and making food more inexpensive, and many cats enjoy the crisp.” As long as the carbohydrates are in a quantity that cats can tolerate, everything is OK.” What is the best way to tell if your cat’s diet is balanced?

It will state that the food is full and balanced, either as a result of a feeding study or as a result of the recipe meeting the nutritional requirements of cats, according to Hill.

How Much, How Often?

In the wild, most cats will take their primary meals between the hours of dawn and dusk, when they would typically be hunting and collecting prey. As a result, those are frequently the optimum times to provide them with food.


The amount of food your cat should have in their dish varies depending on their age, size, and level of activity, but the average is around 200 calories each day. It’s a good idea to get the assistance of your veterinarian in determining your cat’s nutritional requirements. Churchill recommends that you pay close attention to the calorie counts on all of the meals you feed your cat. “The calorie content might differ dramatically from one food to the next.” Cats will also nibble during the day if you leave food out, but keep in mind that cats aren’t good judges of how much they should eat at a given point in time.

When cats gain an excessive amount of weight, they are more likely to have health problems such as joint disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

Instead of reducing the amount of food you give your cat, Hill recommends switching to a food that is lower in calories rather than reducing the amount you give him.

What about sweets and treats? It’s alright to give them out on occasion, but don’t go overboard with it. The amount of calories they provide should not exceed 5 percent to 10 percent of your cat’s total daily caloric intake.

Vegetarian Cats? Homemade Food?

Vegan or vegetarian meals may be a good choice for you, but they are not a good one for your feline companion. Cats, unlike dogs and humans, require particular vitamins, minerals, and proteins that can only be obtained from meat consumption. Raw meat, on the other hand, is prohibited. That may be a normal aspect of life for huge cats in the wild, but Hill believes it is unnatural for domestic cats. The complete animal or bird that they catch in the wild is eaten, not just the flesh,” says the author.

coli, may make your cat (and you) very sick if they are consumed.

See also:  How To Treat A Cat With A Cold

If you decide to choose this way, Churchill advises that you should not tackle it alone.


In general, most experts agree that commercial cat food is the best option. According to Churchill, the beauty of commercial cat food is that it is created particularly for cats, making it full and balanced and meeting their nutritional needs without the need for you to worry about it.

A Simple Guide to Feeding Your Cat

Feeding a cat not only allows her to meet her high energy requirements, but it also supplies her with the nutrients she requires to be healthy and strong as well. Although some cats have the capacity to moderate their food intake, others will overindulge or have difficulties eating when they are in the presence of other felines. Inside this book, you’ll find useful ideas and recommendations to assist you in better understanding your cat’s unique eating pattern and how to correctly feed her in order to get the best outcomes possible.

Natural feeding behavior of cats

Cats are solitary hunters and eaters who like to be alone. Only lions hunt and eat together, and they are the only cat species that does so. Cats will hunt and consume 10 or more tiny meals each day if they live in a natural environment. One method of simulating this natural hunting activity is to use a ‘foraging feeder’ or a ‘food puzzle,’ in which your cat must interact with the feeder in order to obtain little pieces of food, similar to the one described above (e.g., Slim cat ball, Egg-cersizer, etc.) You may also conceal little amounts of dry food throughout the home for your cat to find and consume, such as in shallow plastic containers or egg cartons, to encourage him to do so.

Unlike humans, cats are solitary hunters, and hence prefer to feed in solitude, which makes sense given their gregarious nature.

Even though they prefer to eat alone, healthy cats aren’t likely to be bothered by the presence of other cats when it’s feeding time.

In addition, it’s crucial to understand that the actions displayed by your cat when you arrive home (such as rubbing on your legs or seeking attention) are a welcome activity rather than a request for food.

However, you should not feed your cat right away; instead, you should reward it with attention such as caressing or play.

Temperature matters

As a hunter, cats prefer food that is near to their own body temperature (about 101° F/38° C), which is around 38° C. It is recommended that you microwave (while stirring vigorously) or heat canned food by adding hot water before serving it if you are removing it from the refrigerator.

Feeding behavior – dogs vs. cats

Cat Dog
Strict carnivore (must have animal source protein in their diet, but also able to use many nutrients from plants) Omnivore (diet of plant and animal sources)
10 or more small meals/day 1-3 larger meals/day
Will hunt and eat at any time of day or night Hunt and eat during daylight
No social value to eating Eating has social value

Simple guidelines for feeding

  • Food and water feeding places, sleeping/resting spaces, and litter box areas should be kept distinct from one another. Individual feeding and water “stations” for each cat are ideal
  • They should be located in an area where the cat enjoys spending time in peace and quiet with little traffic. A large and shallow water dish should be used for drinking. Every day, fresh water should be provided
  • Some cats prefer to drink from a running faucet or a water fountain
  • And Many cats prefer to eat from shallow bowls or plates so that their whiskers do not come into contact with the sides. Ideally, food and water dishes should be kept apart from one another. It is important to keep food and water dishes clean. Measure out the food allocation for each cat in accordance with the quantity prescribed by your vet. keep track of your daily food consumption and appetite

Feeding Multiple Cats

Due to the fact that cats are solitary feeders, it can be difficult to determine how and when to feed each cat when there are numerous cats in the home. Here are three popular methods of feeding:

Finding the right feeding plan

Method Availability Advantages Disadvantages
Meal feeding
Food is provided at specific meal times (often 2 to 4 times) during the day but is not freely available between meals; both canned and dry foods can be fed in this manner.

The sort of feeding plan you pick will be determined by a variety of criteria, including the number of cats in your home, as well as the age and health state of your cats. Your veterinarian can assist you in determining which approach is most suited for your situation. In most multi-cat households, meal feeding with separate feeding stations is the most effective method of feeding the cats. The latter is especially true when it comes to cats that require a certain sort of diet. The practice of free choice feeding may be troublesome in multi-cat households, particularly because it is difficult to keep track of each cat’s hunger and food consumption.

Aside from blocking access to food bowls and guarding them against shyer cats, aggressive cats may force shyer cats to leave the food bowl before they have completed eating.

Setting up a feeding station

Alternatively, you may feed each cat in a separate room in your home with the door closed. It is customary to adopt a regular feeding schedule, with each cat allotted a specific amount of time to consume its food (e.g., 20 to 30 minutes). Water is readily available at all times in a variety of locations. There are a variety of options for feeding overweight cats apart from their leaner householdmates. If the door to one room has a hook and eye closing on it, the door can remain open enough for the skinny cat to pass through but not the overweight cat.

  • Another option is to use an infant gate to feed cats in other rooms if the overweight cat is incapable of jumping over the barrier on its own.
  • Commercial feeding stations (for example, MeowSpace®) are also available for purchase.
  • The employment of a timed feeder within the feeding station is yet another alternative available.
  • Using a free choice or combination feeding plan in a multi-cat household is crucial, but the amount of food supplied should not exceed the total calorie requirements for all of the cats on a daily basis, unless otherwise specified.

When family members are present, the majority of the daily food allocation should be fed. This will lessen the likelihood that your cat will learn to beg for food in the future. A full dish of food should not be available while no one is at home to consume it.

Changing to a new food

Dietary modifications are undertaken for a variety of reasons, including the desire to lose or maintain weight, the management of a health risk or disease, and others. Before making a modification in your cat’s diet because she has been sick, be sure she is feeling well and eating her regular food at home. If your cat has previously been fed using the free choice approach, it may be a good time to switch to meal feeding since she will be more likely to be hungry at meal time and will be more inclined to try the new food.


  • Do not leave any of the new foods out longer than one hour at a time. Place the new meal in a familiar food dish next to her regular food so she can become used to it. The majority of cats will simply accept the new food within a few days, but some may require a week or more (sometimes even up to six weeks), so it is important to be patient. Once she is eating the new food on a daily basis, you may begin to reduce the amount of the old food that is accessible by 25 percent every day until the transition is complete
  • However, this must be done gradually. Make sure you understand the bare minimum of food your cat should consume each day, and get guidance from your veterinarian if she is eating less than the prescribed quantity.
Contributions by Susan Little, DVM, DABVP (Feline)

Mealtimes are an excellent chance to spend quality time with your cat, but it may be difficult to make them pleasurable for both of you on a consistent basis. Cats are individuals, and they may have varying tastes when it comes to the flavors, odors, and textures of the food that they consume. Finding a cat food that she loves while still being full and balanced is the first step in properly feeding a cat. Additionally, there are a number of additional considerations, like the type of dish used, the positioning of her dish, the amount of food consumed, and how frequently you consume it.

Guide to How to Feed a Cat

The first step is determining which cat food is best for your cat. You’ll want to think about your cat’s age, weight, overall health, and whether or not she’s an indoor cat before making this decision. Kitten food is required, however senior cat food is recommended for cats beyond the age of seven. Cats in the middle of their lives can thrive on adult maintenance formula. Additionally, you have the option of selecting a meal depending on her age and other requirements, such as hairball management, as well as a range of tastes and textures to pick from.

Chicken or fish flavors, as well as crispy or creamy textures, are all possibilities.

2. Determine Amount of Food Needed

What ever sort of food you pick, it’s critical to make sure you’re giving your pet the appropriate daily quantity. Overeating can result in weight gain, which can lead to a variety of other health concerns. To decide how much to feed your cat each day, see the feeding directions on the cat food package. If your veterinarian determines that your cat has gotten overweight, you will need to reduce the amount of food you offer him to avoid overfeeding him. You should keep in mind that having your cat spayed or neutered can reduce his or her daily energy requirements by about 30%, which can result in weight gain.

3. Establish a Feeding ScheduleRoutine

An established feeding schedule will help your cat understand what to anticipate at mealtimes, and it will also make the procedure more pleasurable for both of you. You may set out a complete day’s worth of dry food every morning, and your cats will be able to graze on it throughout the day as they like. If it is more convenient for you or your cat, you may split the entire amount of food consumed each day into two or three meals. Freshly prepared wet cat food should be consumed within 20 to 30 minutes after preparation, and any leftover food should be refrigerated and consumed within 24 hours of being opened.

In addition, you may use an automated feeding bowl that is kept in the refrigerator to provide your cat with wet food when you are not home.

4. Choose the Right Feeding Dish

They can navigate around their environment, detect the breadth of apertures, and even transmit their emotions through their whiskers. It is possible that your cat’s whiskers will be irritated by deep bowls with high edges, resulting in a bad dining experience for her. “Whisker stress” is the term used to describe this condition, which can be unpleasant to her. Bowls or plates that are shallow and wide with a thin lip are the most suitable for cats. They allow your cat to eat without having to worry about his whiskers being irritated.

Using large bowls or plates can assist to collect any errant bits of food, making cleaning a little easier for you when she’s done eating.

5. Find a Good Location

However, placing your cat’s food dish in a secluded area out of the way may be more convenient, but this arrangement may cause your cat to get agitated. If you have a household with several pets, the location of food becomes even more critical. During their feeding sessions in the wild, cats maintain a full view of their surroundings, allowing them to identify any approaching predators. In order to make your cat more comfortable during mealtime, place her food dish in an area with clear views rather than in a secluded corner of the room.

6. Try Feeding Toys

Feeding toys are an excellent method to increase the amount of play and enjoyment your cat gets from his meals. Hunting puzzle feeders and food distributor balls stimulate your cat’s natural instinct to search for food. In addition to providing much-needed cerebral stimulation, these sorts of feeding toys may help keep cats engaged throughout the day. They’re also beneficial for cats that need to shed weight, as previously stated. The majority of people do not consume a complete day’s worth of food in one sitting; instead, they consume little amounts of food throughout the day while remaining active.

7. Remember to Hydrate

While hydration may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how to feed a cat, it is extremely important to her general health. Many cats do not get enough water to drink. In the wild, stagnant water is typically an indication of germs or parasites, and cats instinctively avoid it to avoid infection. Your cat may feel the same way about a dish of water that is left out on the counter. Replacing the water on a regular basis (as well as utilizing the proper sort of dish) might be beneficial.

Some cats, on the other hand, may be terrified of the noise the fountain creates, thus it may or may not be beneficial.

It doesn’t matter if you’re bringing a new cat home or simply want to make mealtimes with your present cat more joyful. The following suggestions can assist. Visit ourPet Expertisepage for additional information on feeding and nutrition advice from our experts.

How to Feed a Cat

Tips for Caring for a CatHeather O’Steen2021-08-19T 09:48:16-04:00 Although what we feed our cats is extremely essential, one component of cat health that is sometimes forgotten is how we feed them. Providing your cat with a comfortable eating area can make them happier and will aid them in avoiding overfeeding or underfeeding.

Understanding Your Cat’s Feeding Preferences

Cats have particular feeding preferences that are innate, and caretakers should take these preferences into consideration. First and foremost, cats prefer to have a number of tiny meals throughout the day. Due to the fact that many cats are routinely fed in one spot with quite big portions of food once or twice a day, this is an unfortunate fact of life. Some cats even keep food out and ready at all times for their convenience. Both of these factors can contribute to your cat’s inactivity, obesity, and stress.

  1. Puzzle feeders may also be used to assist simulate natural feline eating patterns and satisfy that instinct, which can be beneficial.
  2. More information regarding puzzle feeders may be found at
  3. This can be particularly difficult in households where there are numerous cats.
  4. It is recommended that each cat have a separate feeding station with sufficient distance and visible separation between cats to alleviate these difficulties.
  5. Our pamphlet, How to Feed Your Cat, contains more thorough advice on how to feed your cat.
  6. Your veterinarian can give more advice and examine your cat’s weight and health.

Feeding your Cat or Kitten

Cats have distinct eating preferences that are innate, and caretakers should take these preferences into consideration while providing food for them. First and foremost, cats prefer to consume a number of tiny meals during the course of their day. Most cats are unfortunately fed in one spot with quite big amounts of food once or twice a day, which is inconvenient for everyone involved. It’s possible that some cats keep food out and accessible at all times. This might result in your cat being sedentary, overweight, and stressed.

  • It is also possible to employ puzzle feeders to assist in simulating normal feline eating activities and satisfying that instinct.
  • is a good place to learn more about puzzle feeders.
  • Homes with many cats may find this to be particularly difficult.
  • Individual feeding stations with sufficient distance and visual separation amongst cats should be provided to alleviate these issues.
  • Our pamphlet, How to Feed Your Cat, has in-depth information on the topic.

If you are worried that your cat is overeating or undereating, or if you are having difficulty feeding one or more cats in your home, your veterinarian may give more suggestions as well as examine your cat’s weight and overall health and well- being.

Frequency of feeding

Cats, like their wild predecessor, are naturally specialized solitary predators who hunt in packs. Because they hunt alone, their prey is often of modest size because it is all they are capable of capturing on their own when out in the field. Small animals are the most often encountered prey. Because the average mouse only contains around 30 kilocalories, cats must seek, kill, and consume approximately ten mice each day in order to satisfy their daily energy and nutritional requirements of energy and nutrients.

Feral cats are known to spend up to 12 hours out of every 24 searching for and acquiring food.

Even if cats are provided with ad libitum access to food (meaning that food is unrestricted and readily available at all times), which would allow them to eat little and often, their modern lifestyle may cause them to overeat for a variety of reasons (see ‘Energy requirements in cats and obesity’ further down this page).

Furthermore, because most cats are fed from the same dish in the same spot on a consistent basis, little or no effort is required in order to acquire food.

Cats can experience boredom, indifference, anxiety, irritation, and tension as a result of a lack of cerebral stimulation.

Puzzle feeders are items that contain food and must be handled in order for the food to be released.

It is believed that this plan, which is based on scientific evidence, can assist cat owners in improving the health and welfare of their cats by assisting them to mimic the conditions that cats would normally contend with in order to obtain their food, thereby providing both physical and mental stimulation.

For a condensed version of this food plan, please see here.

Cats prefer to eat from shallow bowls so that they can see what is going on around them while they are eating and so that their whiskers do not brush against the sides of the dish while they are eating.

Stress may have a significant impact on a cat’s ability to feed — stressed cats are significantly less likely to consume food and are significantly less inclined to try new or unusual meals.

This is important when a cat is hospitalized at a veterinary clinic, since this is invariably linked with some stress, and feeding the cat’s regular meal rather than anything new or unexpected is more likely to be beneficial in alleviating this stress.

Energy needs in cats and obesity

Solitary hunters by nature, cats are similar to their wild forebears in this regard. Because they hunt alone, their prey is often of tiny size because it is all they are capable of capturing on their own when out in the wild. A tiny animal is the most prevalent sort of prey. The typical mouse has around 30 kilocalories, which means that cats must seek, kill, and consume approximately ten mice per day in order to satisfy their daily energy and nutritional needs. Because of this, cats ingest many tiny meals (in the form of prey) throughout the day and night in their natural environment (when their nocturnal prey are active).

Being dependent on food provided by their owners means that most cats no longer follow their natural meal pattern of eating several small meals throughout the day and night, but are instead restricted to a feeding schedule that is convenient for the owner: this frequently entails being fed two larger meals during the day, which is unnatural for cats in terms of both their behavior and their physiological makeup.

In spite of the fact that cats have ad libitum access to food (meaning that food is unrestricted and readily available at all times), which would allow them to eat little and often, their modern lifestyle may cause them to overeat for a variety of reasons (see ‘Energy requirements in cats and obesity’ further below).

  1. More to the point, because most cats are fed from the same dish in the same spot on a consistent basis, little or no effort is required to retrieve their food.
  2. Boredom, indifference, anxiety, irritation, and tension are all symptoms of a cat’s lack of mental stimulation.
  3. Puzzle feeders are things that hold food and must be handled in order for the food to be released from the objects.
  4. Cats’ health and wellbeing may be improved by the use of this strategy, which is based on scientific research.
  5. Click here to see the complete report that was used to build the feeding plan, as well as a more extensive version of the feeding plan.
  6. A variety of other circumstances, including as what cats are accustomed to, lighting and noise levels, the presence of other cats, and so on, may also influence their feeding habits and patterns.
  7. In addition, it is preferable to feed cats from a glass or ceramic dish rather than a plastic bowl since plastic bowls might take up odors from the food you are serving (which may be unpleasant and become tainted).

This is important when a cat is hospitalized at a veterinary clinic, since this is invariably connected with some stress, and feeding the cat’s regular diet rather than anything new or unexpected is more likely to be beneficial in keeping the cat well.

Important nutrients for cats

Cats, like their wild predecessor, are naturally specialized solitary hunters who hunt in small groups. Because they hunt alone, their prey is often of modest size because it is all they are capable of capturing on their own. Small animals are the most prevalent prey species. The typical mouse has around 30 kilocalories, therefore cats must seek, kill, and consume approximately ten mice each day in order to satisfy their daily energy and nutritional needs. As a result, in the wild, cats ingest many tiny meals (in the form of prey) throughout the day and night (when their nocturnal prey are active).

Being reliant on food provided by owners means that most cats no longer follow their natural meal pattern of eating several small meals throughout the day and night, but are instead restricted to a feeding schedule that is convenient for the owner: this frequently means being fed two larger meals during the day, which is both behaviorally and physiologically unnatural for cats.

  • Overeating can result in obesity, which is harmful to a cat’s health (seeobesity in cats).
  • There are no longer any possibilities for them to hunt for, capture, and kill their food – all of which require mental and physical effort.
  • Feeding cats often and in little pieces is the most effective way to combat these issues; divide a cat’s daily food ration into at least five sections, then feed these portions over the 24-hour period utilizing puzzle feeders and timed feeders.
  • These make meals last longer, increase the amount of physical effort required to gain food, and present your cat with an entertaining ‘brain-teaser’!

This approach, which is founded on scientific facts, can aid in the improvement of the health and wellbeing of cats by assisting cat owners in simulating the situations that cats would normally struggle with in order to obtain their food, therefore offering both physical and mental stimulation.

For a condensed version of this food plan, please see this link.

Cats prefer to eat from shallow bowls so that they can see what is going on around them while eating and so that their whiskers do not brush against the sides of the dish while eating.

Stress may have a significant impact on a cat’s ability to feed — stressed cats are significantly less likely to consume food and are far less inclined to try new or unusual meals.

This is important when a cat is hospitalized at a veterinary clinic, since this is invariably connected with some stress, and feeding the cat’s regular meal rather than anything new or unusual is more likely to be beneficial in this situation.


Proteins are big, complex molecules made up of chains of smaller building blocks known as amino acids that are linked together. As with all animals, cats require a sufficient amount of protein in their diet since proteins are involved in a wide range of biological activities. As a result, whereas humans and dogs can adapt to diets with a low protein content (for example, plant-based diets), cats have a much higher protein requirement in their diet, which is typically only satisfied through the feeding of a meat-based diet because they have come to rely on protein as an energy source.

These amino acids are not found in plants – although many animals (including dogs and humans) are capable of converting and utilizing other amino acids derived from plants, cats have lost their ability to synthesise these amino acids because their natural diet (animal flesh) contains an abundance of these amino acids.


When fat is consumed, it not only serves as an excellent source of energy, but it also provides fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, and E), improves the palatability of food, and is a source of a particular form of fat called essential fatty acids (EFAs). These essential fatty acids (EFAs) serve critical roles in the maintenance of animal health, since they are required for the function of several metabolic pathways as well as the integrity of the skin. Many animals, including dogs and humans, are capable of converting EFAs found in plants into the EFAs required by the body.


Due to their status as obligate carnivores, cats have a lower capacity to digest and use carbohydrates, which is understandable given that a carnivorous diet is inherently low in carbs. Instead of carbs, as is the case with many other animals, cats obtain the majority of their blood sugar (and hence, their energy) from the breakdown of protein in their food rather than carbohydrates. Although this does not imply that cats are incapable of utilizing carbs or that they should not be included in the diet, it does imply that because of their reduced ability to digest and utilize carbohydrates, meals must be carefully planned and prepared.

This is the enzyme that is required for the digestion of the main carbohydrate (lactose) found in dairy products.

Other nutrients

Cats require preformed vitamins in their diet, which are found in animals but not in plants, in order to maintain their adaption to a strict meat diet. These vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B3. However, while cats require a supply of these vitamins in their diet, an excess of any of these vitamins can also be harmful to them in some circumstances. Despite the fact that cats certainly require meat in their diet, it is incorrect to believe that they require solely a source of meat.

Some important components are still lacking, despite the fact that this covers the majority of their nutritional requirements.

It is crucial to note that in the wild, cats would consume the entire animal carcass (flesh, organs, and bones), and that if they are just given meat, they would be severely lacking in nutrients such as calcium, and their bones will not form properly.

Choosing a cat food

Providing a well-balanced diet for cats using home-prepared meals is really rather challenging due to their specific and distinct nutritional requirements. It is therefore better to provide a high-quality commercial cat food (in the form of tins, sachets, or dry food), at least as a substantial portion of the cat’s diet. When selecting a cat food, one of the most crucial characteristics to check for is whether or not it is a ‘complete’ food (this will be stated on the packaging). This implies that it has been designed to satisfy the nutritional requirements of your cat in its entirety.

  • Providing cats with a variety of diets with a variety of flavors and textures can be beneficial.
  • Both forms of meals are thought to be beneficial in some way.
  • Wet food contains far more water than dry food, and as a result, it can assist in ensuring enough water intake, especially given that cats acquire the majority of their water requirements from their diet naturally (meat has a high water content).
  • Generally speaking, International Cat Care suggests that healthy cats be fed a choice of both wet and dry food so that they can benefit from the advantages of both food types and so that they do not develop addicted to eating only one type of food.

Palatability of foods

The parameters that determine the palatability of cat food are numerous and complicated, but they include texture, scent, taste, and temperature, among other things. A cat’s sense of smell is well developed, and the aroma of food is vitally crucial to the feline’s survival. This is also boosted when the food is slightly warmed, which is why cats really prefer food that is close to their body temperature (about 35 degrees Celsius). The senses of taste and smell work together to create the perception of the flavor of a food, and for cats, diets that are high in protein and fat are generally more appetizing than those that are low in these nutrients.

Once again, this is a straightforward adaption of an animal that is reliant on meat rather than vegetation for its continued existence.

Despite the fact that we know what kind of foods cats in general enjoy the most, there is significant variance across individuals.

When fed over a long length of time, some cats will acquire a strong preference for a certain type of food (for example, wet/canned food or dry food) that they have been fed previously.

Nonetheless, most cats are fundamentally ‘neophilic,’ which means that they like exploring and trying new and different foods, as well as enjoying diversity in their diet.

Feeding kittens

Because kittens develop at such a rapid rate, their dietary requirements are higher than those of adult cats. At about 3-4 weeks of age, it is normally possible to begin weaning kittens, at which point modest portions of a high-quality kitten food can be introduced. It is normally recommended to start with a wet kitten food or to soak some dry kibbles made for kittens in water to properly moisten them before feeding them to your cat. As kittens grow and mature, they can be switched to dry food if it is what they choose.

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How to Feed Your Cat So It Stops Begging and Starts Losing Weight

Kittens who are given an acceptable quantity of calories each day will get hungry (in the wild, you look for food while you still have adequate calories). As a result, feeding a cat until it is satisfied is nearly always considered overfeeding, unless the cat is a kitten that is actively developing and under eight months of age. Cats naturally consume numerous tiny meals each day as a result of their hunting and devouring of the prey they catch. If your cat has access to a dish of dry food, it may consume many little meals of a high-calorie diet with little effort on his or her behalf, which is a formula for weight gain.

Domestic Cats Retain Their Wild Appetites

Cats who are fed have a lower caloric need per day than cats who must forage for, catch, and eat their food for a livelihood on their own. Cats experience a large decline in activity and metabolic rate as they age, but they do not experience a fall in hunger. Over time, this makes it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

Your Cat May Have TrainedYouto Feed it

The act of feeding is a training exercise for both the cat and the person who is feeding him. Cats frequently focus on the actions and acts that provide as a preview of when they will be fed and attempt to get the feeder to engage in similar behaviors and acts. For example, feeding the cats as soon as you get out of bed in the morning is a smart practice to follow. The cats will frequently attempt to get the person out of bed in the morning so that they may be fed earlier and earlier in the day.

A Hungry Cat Often Looks for Mischief

In the act of feeding, the cat and the feeder engage in a cooperative training activity. Cats frequently focus on the actions and acts that provide as a preview of when they will be fed and attempt to get the feeder to engage in similar behaviors and acts as a preview. When you get out of bed in the morning, an excellent example is to immediately feed the cats.

The cats would frequently attempt to wake the person up in the morning in order for them to be fed earlier and earlier. As another example, when the refrigerator door is opened, your cat will dash into the kitchen since they know that’s where you keep the canned food.

Choosing Between Dry Food, Canned Food, Or Both

In general, it is not necessary to provide cats with a variety of flavors and textures. They become quite adept at teaching their owners to add something different to the mix if the cat shows any signs of reluctance to consume what is being offered. If the cat is generally performing normally, refusing to eat what is presented might be considered typical behavior, or it can be seen as the cat testing the waters to see if anything better will appear. Very, very few cats require any kind of incentive to consume their food.

Canned Food is the Best Choice For Healthy Cats

There are a variety of reasons why canned food is preferable than dried food. However, it is more expensive to feed as well as more difficult to clean up after. Cats in the wild are fresh-kill hunters, and they consume the majority of their water together with their prey. They do not have a strong need to drink on their own without eating. I feel that most dry food cats do not ingest enough water, causing stress on their kidneys and the production of excessively concentrated urine. The water content of canned food is similar to that of their prey in the wild.

Canned food also has a lower carbohydrate content as compared to dry food (since dry food cannot be made without wheat) and a greater protein content as a result.

The majority of cats require 4-5 ounces of canned food each day on average.

Dry Food: An Affordable, but Less-Healthy Option

Dry food contains a high concentration of calories. It does not contain any water, so it cannot add volume to the food. As a result, feeding only dry food means that your cat will be hungrier even if he or she is getting an adequate number of calories in the food due to the smaller volume of food provided. Free choice dry food, even if it is low in calories, will not prevent weight gain if consumed in this manner.

How to Control Your Cat’s Weight on a Dry Food Diet

The most effective way to distribute dry food is to divide it into many little regulated portions throughout the day. As a result, the cat is never completely satisfied and never completely hungry. Most cats will get very hungry if their dry food intake is reduced to less than 1/3 to 1/12 cup each 24 hour day, even if they are receiving an acceptable amount of calories. Cats require different amounts of food at different stages of their lives, and the quantity required by each cat will vary (and maybe decrease) as the cat grows older.

This should not be done with cats that have a history of urinary tract crystals (FLUTD) since the vegetables elevate the pH of the urine, which makes the cat more susceptible to crystal formation.

Beware Feeding Your Cat Both Dry and Canned Food

Feeding both canned and dry food is the most efficient method of obtaining and maintaining an overweight cat. Even if a cat has just finished its dry food, the majority of them will happily consume any canned food that is supplied (or vice versa). It is difficult to manage the amount of each type of food consumed so that the cat consumes the appropriate number of calories.

Feeding Recommendations From Your Local Veterinarian

My initial preference is to eat just canned food. In the beginning, feed an adult cat 12 of an 8-ounce can (Friskies/9 Lives-size can) twice daily without adding any more food. This is the beginning point, and it is probable that the amount will need to be reduced. Little cats may benefit from half of an 8-ounce can (Fancy Feast-size can) twice day, rather than the full can. This quantity is also cat-specific, and it is frequently adjusted upwards or downwards. It appears that feeding canned food creates a better balance between calories and feeling full, and the meal appears to tide the cat over more effectively than feeding dry food does.

Recommendations For Owners Who Stick with Dry Food

Dry food can be provided, but it must be done with care, in small portions, during set meals, and without snacking. The components in today’s dry meals are considerably superior, allowing for a larger amount of useful calories per cup, resulting in even less servings being required as compared to the Little Friskies of 30 years ago. While providing many feedings throughout the day is beneficial, it may also be a cause of dispute as the cat attempts to get fed in between feedings. There should be no open dishes of food on the table.

It is sometimes beneficial to remove the bowls from the table so that there is no reminder of the lack of food, in order to prevent begging.

Pre-measure Your Cat’s Food to Keep From Overfeeding

The most effective way is to measure out a day’s (24-hour) ration in the morning and then feed out of that container to deliver feedings throughout the day that follows. When the container is completely depleted, there will be no more food till the next day. There will be more involvement in feeding since more people will be involved, and they will not be fooled into supplying more food because the cat claims that someone forgot to feed them and that they are going to perish from malnutrition.

A further advantage of measuring by weight is that it allows for considerably smaller alterations in daily meal portions than can be accomplished with precision by volume measurement (a 10 percent change in a quarter cup is almost impossible to do accurately by volume measure).

Weigh Your Cat to Ensure a Healthy Rate of Weight-Loss

The most important thing to remember is that access must be limited regardless of diet. Additionally, a scale for correctly weighing the cat comes in helpful. By weighing the person both with and without carrying the kitten, digital scales may be used to determine weight. Weights taken once a month at the same time of day are sufficient. We’re looking for roughly a pound of weight loss every month, not more. In cats, rapid weight loss can lead to major health problems, such as kidney failure.

It is a tailored regimen for each kitty, just as it is for people, and coping with the behavioral implications of a hungry cat can be one of the most difficult problems.

What is the most difficult thing for humans to comprehend is that a hungry cat is well and healthy, and that it does not require repairing despite what the cat may believe. Dr. Matt McCormick, DVM, is a veterinarian.

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