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Feeding Your Cat On A Schedule: 5 Benefits You Need To Know!

The three primary techniques of feeding a cat are meal feeding, free feeding, and combination feeding.

Free feeding is the practice of putting dry food available at all times so that your cat can eat whenever it is hungry.

Meal feeding involves administering wet, dry, or a combination of both types of food on a specified timetable.

Combination feeding is leaving dry food out at all times and providing wet food on a timetable, often once per day. There are advantages and disadvantages to each strategy.

Continue reading "Feeding Your Cat on a Schedule: 5 Benefits You Need To Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) for more details.

Free Feeding Drawbacks

You must precisely measure the amount of dry food you put out, and you must keep track of how many bowls or cups your cat consumes.

During free feeding, it is quite simple to overfeed, which can lead to your cat gaining excess weight. This increases the probability of developing diseases such as diabetes.

Families with many cats may often find it difficult to determine which cat is consuming the most food.

Combination Feeding Drawbacks

Combination feeding can be advantageous in order to provide greater diversity in your cat’s diet while ensuring that your cat receives the moisture that is only found in wet food.

But, if your cat really prefers wet food, it may reject the dry food you put down, resulting in a poor diet for your cat or your having to switch to a wet feeding schedule.

Similar to free feeding, combination feeding can result in overfeeding if food levels are not adequately monitored. This manner of feeding also makes it difficult to detect which of your cats consumes the most food.

Meal Feeding

Meal feeding, or feeding cats on a schedule, is offering wet, dry, or a combination of food types to your cat at specific meal times.

This feeding plan may result in cats begging for food between meals; but, after they become accustomed to the routine, they will be more likely to alert you prior to mealtimes.

A timetable for your cat entails a routine for you, and excessive deviation from mealtimes might be detrimental to your cat’s health.


The Benefits Of Meal Feeding

While the meal feeding schedule has several disadvantages, it also has some advantages:


  • Easier medication administration

Numerous cats, from babies to old citizens, must take drugs and nutrients. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet receives the correct dosage and timing of medication.

Free feeding necessitates a degree of faith in your cat, a species renowned for its ability to detect medicines in food and vomit them up.

By adhering to a feeding plan and adhering to a timetable, you assure that your cat will consume all or the majority of its meal in one sitting. You can observe to guarantee they do not discover and remove pills, powders, and other drugs.

In addition to allowing you to effectively distribute medicine, eating on a timetable allows you to do so. If you put medication on your cat’s treats in the morning, they may not consume it until later in the day or right before you give them more. Your cat may receive no medicine in the morning while receiving twice as much in the evening.


  • Can Control Food Intake

Similarly, you may control the amount and timing of your cat’s food consumption. Because it is difficult to manage the precise amount of food given, free feeding might result in overeating.

When you are in a rush to leave the house, it is quite easy to just add a handful of kibble to the dish and forget about this additional feeding.

Cats are susceptible to obesity and can gain weight rapidly. Due to a cat’s diminutive size, a minor increase in its nutrition is sufficient to cause weight growth.

By providing two or three meals each day, it is straightforward to compute a daily allotment and then divide it into predetermined meal amounts.

Moreover, it is simpler to determine exactly how much you have fed them and to adhere to the strategy.


  • Easily Check Dietary Changes

The cat’s diet may reveal a great deal about its health and wellness. If your cat consumes much more or less food than normal, it may indicate that something has changed.

Cats typically lose their appetite when they are unwell, especially if their digestive system is affected. But, certain illnesses, such as feline dementia, may lead your cat to consume extra food because it forgets it has previously eaten.

Scheduled meal times allow you to better evaluate your cat’s hunger, since you can readily monitor the amount of food you provide. You can determine if your feline companion is eating more or less, and you can monitor these feeding levels over time.


  • Prevent Mealtime Dominance

Your group may appear to share well while you are around, but as soon as you leave, one cat may emerge as the dominant force around the food dish.

This dominance does not always include physical aggression, making it difficult to identify. After one of your cats has eaten enough, it may move away, leaving your other cats to consume more than their fair share.

Not only does a feeding schedule help you to better monitor your cats, but it also allows you to feed them in a separate place. Keep your cats separated until they have done eating to prevent food domination.


  • Get Into a Routine​​​​​​​

A feeding plan gives your cat a routine, which might assist you in developing your own habit. Your cat, for example, will know when to return home for supper, allowing you to bring it inside before it gets dark.

Just be mindful of the timing of your breakfast. If you feed your cat breakfast as soon as you get up, they may push you to rise earlier to feed them.

How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

There are advantages to each feeding approach, but if you determine that feeding on a schedule is the best option, you’ll need to design a timetable and ensure that you’re providing the correct quantity.

We should ideally feed our cats more than once or twice daily. If you can provide four consistent meals, it is optimal, but three is also acceptable.

If you work, feed your pet in the morning, when you get home from work, and in the evening, or use an automated feeder that dispenses food at a predetermined time each day.


Mechanical Feeders

If you’re not at home all day, automatic feeders can be really useful. You insert the food in the feeder, select the serving time, and the machine will uncover or serve the food at the specified time.

Whether you’re at work and unable to feed your cat or you’re at home but want to maintain regularity, the feeder may assume responsibility for feeding your cat.

How Much Should You Feed?

Examine the food packaging for recommended feeding amounts, but conduct your own study. A cat typically consumes between 2% and 4% of its body weight per day.

Contact your veterinarian if your cat has any diseases, problems, or if it is overweight or underweight in order to verify that you are giving it the appropriate quantity.

Conclusion

There are several ways to feed a cat mentioned in “Feeding Your Cat on a Schedule: 5 Benefits!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) that might be advantageous for felines and their owners.

Free feeding is prevalent, although it can result in overfeeding, which is also an issue with combination feeding.

Planned feeding, also known as meal feeding, allows you to precisely decide the amount of food your cat receives and makes it simpler to monitor intake, provide medications, and establish a regular routine.

Ensure you provide an enough amount and be prepared to adhere to a strict feeding schedule, as your cat will anticipate food at the same time each day.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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