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How do you feed your cat?! Meal times/Free feeding. So many opinions online!.

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Happy_Life, May 15, 2021.


  1. Happy_Life

    Happy_Life PetForums Junior

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    I am curious to know how everyone goes about feeding their cat(s) and the reasons why.

    I have spent ages online and everywhere I look seems to say different to what I previously read.

    Some say free feeding is best as it is like they eat in the wild, some say this is dangerous and NOT at all how they would eat in the wild.

    Some say to stick to meal times - I have seen this recommended as 1 meal per day upto 6 meals and every number in between.

    How do you know what is the best thing to do?
    Even my vet says just “do whatever you are comfortable with”.

    What I am “comfortable with” is doing whatever I need to do to ensure I am always doing what is best for my cat but how can you work out what that is when there are so many different opinions each that say that have evidence that proves this?!

    Any opinions would be appreciated!.
     
  2. Semele

    Semele PetForums Junior

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    I feed my 16 year old cat about 6 times per day but that's because she's old and can't eat much in one go now, plus she's very picky and I have to make sure she eats her daily portion. For younger cats I'd say around four times is OK (so every 6 hours). I think that free feeding is not a great idea for several reasons - cats are built to eat small meals several times a day, they're not grazers by nature. In the wild cats hunt, catch, kill and eat so food is available after they do some activity, not when they feel like having a nibble. Free feeding creates behavioural problems because it messes with how they're wired so sticking to regular meal times is the way forward in my opinion.
     
  3. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    One of my cats would be obese if she got free fed. If you’re looking at wild, they have several small meals a day.

    We've always done 3 meals for healthy adults. No particular reason for it, it just works for us and my cats seem well on it.
     
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  4. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    I don't think there is a one size fits all situation when it comes to feeding.
    My own preference is not to stick with set meal times for cats . I eat when I'm hungry and not because a clock tells me I should want to eat so I don't see any reason to expect an animal to be different.
    Meeko has at least 4 wet meals (occasionally more ) a day with another left out overnight for him . He is I suppose "free fed" in as much as when he finishes a meal or it has been out but not finished for a couple of hours it is replaced with fresh food .
    This suits him and me fine , he does have IBD which possibly makes him slightly different to cats who don't have digestive issues but that said I don't think I would want to feed him differently .
     
  5. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    Depends on the cat.
    Dry biscuits are the worst thing to feed your cat for numerous health reasons. One of which is if you just put a big bowl of dry down, they will just keep eating it and can become obese as the dry crap is addictive and full of empty calories and grain/carbs.
    Meals evenly spaced out in the day worked best for me, but if she meowed and it was "obvious" she was very hungry, I'd feed her. But sometimes, she was a chancer and I would ignore her and she'd go away, so obviously wasn't that hungry. But if she persisted, I fed her.

    If there is just one "rule", though, don't feed dry.
     
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  6. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    This.
    Mine eat a wet or raw meal in the morning and evening. During the day I leave dry out for them outside. I take it up at night unless they're sleeping inside then I leave dry out for them inside. They don't eat much of the dry but I still leave it out for them.

    Mine don't have any issues with picky eating, obesity, or digestive issues. If they did, obviously I'd try something different, but this has worked for our last 5 cats so if it ain't broke....
     
  7. urbantigers

    urbantigers PetForums VIP

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    My boys have set meal times and they have 3 meals a day. First meal is about 5.45am - pretty much same time every day as Kito yells his head off when he wakes up and I live in a flat.... so up I get. I make him wait a bit but he gets it round about then. I go back to bed at weekends :confused: Second meal is after work. Used to be about 3.30pm when I got home from work but now that I work from home they try it on from about 1.30, and since it’s been a while since breakfast they get it from 2pm onwards. Last meal is 9.30-10pm. It works for them.
     
  8. Kirstd78

    Kirstd78 PetForums Member

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    I feed my 2 cats (one approx 11 month and one 2-3 yrs) wet food/raw 3 times a day. First meal when we get up about 7.30ish, the second when I get in from work at 2.30ish and then finally at about 9-10ish to get them in for the night!
    They are mainly indoor cats but like to go out for some fresh air in the evening
    They also have a small handful of dry down at night cause the mumma cat is skinny and likes to graze it. The also get the odd healthy treat, eg piece of chicken or smila sticks if they come begging in between.
     
  9. Happy_Life

    Happy_Life PetForums Junior

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    Thank you everyone.

    I never would’ve guessed that when I decided to get a cat I would love it this much and spend this long researching everything from toys to food to the “perfect poop”! Lol!!
     
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  10. Kirstd78

    Kirstd78 PetForums Member

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    It happened to me too! I was never a cat person but adopted 2 rescue moggies at Xmas and am just obsessed with their furry highnesses
     
  11. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    They fill a little space in your heart that you never knew existed. xx
     
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  12. Cully

    Cully PetForums VIP

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    Have you never noticed how shoppers in supermarket dog food aisles take just a few seconds to choose what to get. While us cat owners walk up and down, muttering to ourselves and shaking our heads and looking bewildered?
     
  13. Maurey

    Maurey Maine Coon Madness

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    Whenever I decide to take the time to look at some commercial cat treats in my local pet store, in case something good’s shown up, the clerk looks at me like I’m crazy. Or maybe they’re just concerned I’m making a show because I’m looking to shoplift, who knows :eek:
     
    Cully likes this.
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