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How often should you feed your cat? Learn about it here!

Grey British short hair cat with orange eyes advice
© Shutterstock

A cat’s feeding schedule is a serious matter! Knowing how often should you feed your cat is a very delicate question that every cat parent needs to ask himself.

By Daniel Mar

Feeding a cat can be a complicated thing at first. If you feed him too little he won't maintain good health. And if you feed him too much, he'll probably get fat. To avoid this, you need to establish regular feeding routines. It doesn’t really matter if you feed your cat a complete and balanced diet if you don’t feed him enough. That is why you need to know how often you should feed your cat.

How often should you feed a kitten?

If you have a kitten, you need to be extra careful about his feeding routine. As you may know, kittens require more food per pound of body weight to support their growth. Therefore, they should be fed throughout the day. "Growing kittens up to six months of age may require three meals a day. From age six months to maturity, most cats will do well when fed two times a day," says Dr Francis Kallfelz.

Vets recommend weighing the kittens regularly to ensure they are gaining weight as they should be. You need to keep a close eye on this because their hunger can become an enemy if you don’t control it. As a rule, kittens under six weeks old should remain with the mother cat. In this time, they feed on their mother’s milk. Afterwards, once they are five weeks old, you can gradually introduce your kitten to canned kitten food, mixed with "kitten formula".

Two kitten eating dry food
Nutrition for a kitten is very important©Shutterstock

How often should you feed an adult cat?

How often should you feed your cat once he is older? Well, once the cat becomes an adult, meaning one-year-old, it is appropriate to feed him once or twice a day. Senior cats, age seven and above, should maintain the same feeding routine. "Once cats reach adulthood, once a day feeding is fine as long as they are healthy and have no disease problems suggesting a reason to feel differently," says Dr Kallfelz.

Illnesses can also affect your cat’s feeding pattern

If your adult cat suffers from a health problem such as diabetes, you know for sure that his feeding will need to be special! But like diabetes, there many other diseases that need special care and support. "Talk to your veterinarian. If your cat has hyperthyroidism, he may want to eat all the time. Treat the disease. If it is a treatable problem, treat it and then feed your cat normally", says Dr Kallfelz.

Furthermore, as your cat ages, his teeth may go bad, or his gum becomes sick. This makes it difficult to chew dry food. "If they get to that point, then offer them canned food or dry in a finer nugget size," says Dr Kallfelz.

How often should you feed your cat with dry food?

Now that you are aware of how often should you feed your cat, it is time to discuss what type of food is better. Many cat owners feed only dry food to their pets. This is not a mistake. It really is up to you. "Dry food is fine as long as it is complete and balanced," says Dr Kallfelz. In fact, dry food is less expensive than canned cat food and may stay fresher longer. However, if you only feed your cat dry food, you need to provide lots of fresh water.

Black cat eating dry food
Bowl empty, this dry food must have been good
©Shutterstock

If you feed your cat dry food, it is advisable to provide it to him at specific mealtimes in measured quantities. Anyhow, dry food can also be supplemented with a small amount of canned food. This makes the meal more appealing. "There's no problem mixing the two types of food. Just make sure the calories are what your cat needs and not more. Free feeding dry food is acceptable for the cat who exercises self-control, but some cats like to snack, and for them, free feeding can add up to extra pounds. If a cat can maintain his weight, free choice feeding is okay," says Dr Kallfelz.

How often should you feed your cat with canned food?

Canned cat food is typically about 70 to 80 per cent water. Cats tend to like the flavour of canned cat food as it is quite tasty. Nevertheless, you need to be extra careful because if it is extremely palatable, the cat may be more likely to overeat. The complete opposite occurs if it is not tasty enough. Whenever you are feeding cat food, make sure to follow the feeding instructions on pet food labels.

Black and white cat eating wet food
That looks tasty!©Shutterstock

Create a schedule

How often should you feed your cat may depend on your working schedule as well. Morning tends to be quite busy, especially if you have a family. Under those circumstances, feeding your cat may be easier in the evening. If your evenings are busier than your mornings, then feed your cat in the morning. You could also use a cat feeder that can take care of the feeding on its own! Either way, find a schedule that works for you and your cat.

Hopefully, you feel much more knowledgeable about how often should you feed your cat. Follow these instructions and you will avoid any major problems! Remember that cats are also vulnerable!