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Feeding cats just once a day. Good idea?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Satori, Aug 24, 2013.


  1. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    What do you make of this article Free Feeding Food? Cats Are Not Cows! ?

    This is not the only site I have seen now where once a day feeding is encouraged. But, this seems to be a minority view still with most people urging caution if a cat goes more that 12 hours without food. Are the two viewpoints reconcilable (ie, have I just missed something)?
     
  2. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    I don't free feed - no biscuits down for them to graze on - but I wouldn't like to feed them less than twice a day. Mine get at least three meals - more at the moment since Pasha is pregnant.
     
  3. MCWillow

    MCWillow PetForums VIP

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    There is no way on Earth Cedar would let me feed him just once a day :eek:

    He eats more than the others at each meal anyway, but he does walk away when he's full, whether his bowl is empty or not.

    Mine get three meals a day, sometimes four.

    They dont get dry to graze on, but Willow eats little and often, she doesn't like to eat a lot at once, so she might get fed 5 or 6 times a day if someone is at home with her.

    She will eat a few chunks of raw then go for a nap, if she is on a 'I hate raw' day she will get a pouch opened, but that pouch will cover three meals for her.

    If I changed to once a day, the others might adapt, but in Cedars case I think he would be so hungry that he would eat so much in one go he would then be sick.

    Willow would probably waste away - and I'm pretty sure all five of them would be miserable.
     
  4. Cookieandme

    Cookieandme PetForums VIP

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    I think April would eat the furniture if I only fed her once a day :eek:

    They had breakfast and I went shopping which included Costco I was putting the shopping away and then realised she had her claws through the plastic wrap on MY rump steaks :yikes:

    I portioned up the salmon fillet and noticed she was licking the polystyrene tray :rolleyes: so they both had a little raw salmon and then a small lunch. I would definitely feed April more meals but Cooke is a Hoover and we have to sneak suppers when Cookie isn't looking :D
     
  5. wicket

    wicket PetForums VIP

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    My two old girls and my nursing queen nag every couple of hours - all would be bags of bones if they only got fed once a day - the old girls have trouble holding their weight on 4-5 meals (both recently blood checked)
     
  6. Shadow And Lightning

    Shadow And Lightning PetForums VIP

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    shadow lightning and gypsy only eat once a day, in the evening, they wont eat proper meals more than once a day, despite being offered
    but they are fed raw and have plenty during that on meal
    if the rest just had food once a day id be on the menu lol
     
  7. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    That's interesting. The reason I asked the question is that one of ours eats just once a day (twice maximum) and she is only 11 months. It has worried me sometimes given what some have said about needing to feed within 12 hours. However, she will only eat raw, eats more than the other cats most days and is quite a chunky cat.
     
  8. MontyMaude

    MontyMaude PetForums VIP

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    Mine are only fed wet food and get between 3 and 5 meals a day, they get the same amount it just depends on if they are in a snaking mood or eat a full meal mode, I think Monty would pack his bags as he is after food or treats every time someone goes into the kitchen, but Maudey prefers to be waited on hand and foot but she will come and screech at me when she's hungry and wanting food.

    I didn't read the article but surely in the wild the cat wouldn't just hunt once a day and eat just one mouse and be done with it, I'm guessing they would catch as many edible things possible over the course of 24 hours.
     
  9. loubyfrog

    loubyfrog PetForums VIP

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    I'm sure Minky would eat me if i only fed her once a day :D

    Its a matter of supply on demand in our house as she eats little and often.
     
  10. Shadow And Lightning

    Shadow And Lightning PetForums VIP

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    shadow and lightning haven't ate more than one meal a day since they was about 10 months old, I continued to offer them more but it never gets ate by them
    I guess all cats are different, ive never really worried about every 12 hours, my vets have always said not to let a cat go longer than 24 hours but that's all
     
  11. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    I thought they had, at most, two major hunts each day and ate 3-4 mice at each one?
     
  12. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Interesting article Satori:) I agree with quite a lot of what the author writes, but he is mistaken when he compares the hunting behaviour of small cats (the ancestors of our domestic cats) with that of the big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs etc).

    The big cats all catch large prey animals and then gorge themselves, and don't eat again for a couple of days, whilst they digest their huge meal. Small cats have not evolved with the digestions to gorge and then not eat for days. As most of us will know from experience, if one of our cats gorges, it usually vomits!

    Small cats have evolved to live on a diet of (mainly) rodents, and each rodent they catch gives them a small amount of energy. To meet all their nutritional needs a cat will need to spend between 6 to 8 hours a day hunting, every day.

    The cat is crepuscular so will spend 3 - 4 hours hunting before dawn, and 3 to 4 hrs hunting at dusk. Even in places of abundant prey, such as barns/farms, the cats have to work hard for their food, if they are not being given supplementary food by the farmer. (I have never seen an overweight farm cat, in fact they are usually skinny).

    I can see a domestic cat surviving on one meal a day (supplied by humans)
    if the cat is free-roaming and goes out to catch their own prey to supplement the meal supplied. This was the way cats were regarded when my mother was a child. There was no such thing as manufactured catfoods in those days and owners fed their cats scraps of raw or cooked meat, offal and fish heads once a day, then the cat was expected to go off and catch mice or rats to fill themselves up. Cats who were poor hunters were often very thin, but it did not seem to occur to the owners to feed them more often.

    I am interested to hear one of your cats, Satori, only wants to eat one meal a day (of raw). I imagine he/she has a pretty slow metabolism, and is taking a long time to digest the food. I had a cat who was similar to this in the past. By contrast all 3 of my present cats have fast metabolisms and digest their food very quickly. If I do not feed them 3 times a day I find they start losing weight. They are fed a mix of raw + high protein wet food (no dry).
    I have tried reducing the number of meals to 2 and increasing the size of each meal, but all that happens is 2 of them gorge and then vomit it 10 minutes later. The third one eats the same as usual and leaves the extra on the plate. I don't leave food down, it is taken up as soon as they've finished eating, so he can't come back to it later anyway, even if he wanted to.

    I imagine there has always been some variation in appetite/digestion even in small wild cats.
     
    #12 chillminx, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  13. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    Thanks. Very helpful.
     
  14. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    Similar here with a raw diet and no biscuits. Cats are fed 3-6 times per day depending on pregnancies and kittens.

    None of mine yell for food but all eat eagerly at meal times, I'd not want them on 2 meals a day let alone 1. I also have an extremely active breed, they burn so much energy racing around they need to eat several times a day.
     
  15. Space Chick

    Space Chick PetForums VIP

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    Mine are fed three times a day, but I have noticed variations in how they eat.

    Breakfast will be 1 200g tin.... Sophie will eat about half of it on her own, Harry will only eat a small amount and Sabrina will eat what's left.

    Tea is 200g of raw..... Harry eats this with the most gusto, and probably has about half, with the girls getting the other half.

    Supper is another 200g tin, this seems to be Sabrinas most gusto meal, although Sophie will pick on it. I leave this down after I have gone to bed (in fact I put it down when I go to bed) and its always gone by the time I get up.

    So Sophie eats the most in the morning, Harry at tea time and Sabrina at bed time, although they all eat three times a day.

    In addition, they are all rather partial to catching their own extra meals (Harry more than the girls), so quite often a mouse or vole or something similar will be devoured!
     
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