Cat Feeding: Scheduled Feeding Time Or Free Feeding
Free feeding cat is hugely convenient, but is it healhty for your feline? Discover the answer to this question today with this ultimate guide on free cat feeding and scheduled cat feeding.
Keeping a cat healthy and active is not as easy as it seems when looked from outside. If you are lucky enough to have a feline in your life or even felines, then you know that cats love to eat. Moreover, they tend to eat a lot and during the entire day and night.
People believe that dogs are true gourmets, not knowing that the cat is the one holding this position. So, as a feline owner, you have probably struggled, at least once, do you feed your cat correctly.
Do you know the right way to feed your cat? Do you provide her enough food? Do you have enough free time to feed her at the same time, or you think that free feeding would be a better option? Let’s discover what should be your first option when it comes to cat feeding.
Cats are carnivores. Therefore, proper nutrition should be imperative when it comes to appropriate cat feeding. Knowing how much your feline should eat every day, how often, and what type of food is mandatory. Creating the perfect feeding regime comes from the basics.
For example: A healthy, active, 10-lb adult cat requires 270-320 calories per day.
Bear in mind that this formula may vary from food type to food type. Of course, there is still a difference between feeding your cat exclusively dry kibble or wet food.
If it is not stated on a food package, how much you should feed your cat correctly, then feel free to talk with your veterinarian and ask for feeding recommendations.
As a general rule, an average-sized adult cat should eat one 3-ounce can per 3 to 3-1/2 pounds of body weight daily. This can be adjusted even more depending on whether you feed your feline cat dry kibble, as well. But, the main question remains: should cats eat at scheduled feeding time or use the perks of free feeding?
Scheduled Feeding Time
Scheduled feeding time means that food is provided to a cat only at specific times during the day. This applies both to dry and canned foods. Of course, this feeding style comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. Let’s learn more about them.
Scheduled Feeding Time: Advantages
Probably the best thing about this option is that food intake can be monitored closely, meaning that you can quickly notice any change in appetite.
This is also a great way if you have a multiple cat household because all cats will have access to food without one being dominant over the others.
In a way, you will save the piece in the home, thanks to this approach. Last but not least, this is a great way to keep felines weight under control. Moreover, with scheduled feeding, you will keep your feline away from foods she shouldn’t be eating.
Scheduled Feeding Time: Disadvantages
Some cats are extremely vocal. So, you can expect to hear different cat sounds between the meals. They could beg and beg heavily. The thing is that cats can’t control how much they can eat at a certain time.
But if you have planned the cat’s schedule together with your veterinarian and you are following the feeding instructions, you can sleep in peace because she is getting the right amount of food and nutrients.
Scheduled Feeding Time: The Bottom Line
Bear in mind that cats should be fed differently in their lifetime. That being said, learn when the cat becomes a full-grown cat and how many times kittens should be fed. In general, kittens should be fed three times a day.
Once the cat becomes an adult cat, around one year of age, feeding once or twice a day is fine. Overall, feeding the cat once a day should be fine, but again, it can depend on highly individual preferences.
Some cats may be prone to some health issues, so they should be fed differently, and you should respect their regime. Once again, never re-plan the cat’s feeding regime without consulting your veterinarian first. You can also explore the pros and cons of a raw diet if you are most for schedule cat feeding.
Also, regardless of feeding style, your cat should always have clean and freshwater available.
Lately, free-feeding is becoming popular when we talk about cat feeding. Free-feeding is so well spread that it’s considered to be an acceptable method.
Free feeding your cat means that her food is available at all times.
Important: only dry food can be feed in such a manner.
There are two main reasons for this:
- Cats will eat as much as you give them, which can lead to bloat or other health issues.
- Wet food left longer at one will lose its freshness.
Moreover, if you notice that your cat is leaving dry food in her bowl for a longer period, like for more than a day, you should throw it ut to maintain its freshness. So, it’s always better to pour your cat a smaller amount of dry food and add during the day.
Free Feeding Cats: Advantages
Free feeding is a great way to feed your feline is hse prefers to have food on hand during the entire day. This way, your cat can eat multiple small meals per day whenever she wants to.
Free Feeding Cats: Disadvantages
Free feeding can easily lead to overeating, which will eventually lead to obesity. Furthermore, it will be challenging to know if anything in your cat’s eating habits changed. This is especially the truth if you have multiple cats.
Free Feeding Time: The Bottom Line
Yes, free feeding can lead to extra weight, but it doesn’t mean that free feeding can’t be managed. Make sure that you always correctly measure the food amount necessary for your cat for the day.
Once you do that, don’t fill the bow until the following day. Your cat had enough food, so if she starts complaining, ignore her, or play with her to distract her.
The other option is to measure mandatory daily intake, and then that amount split to smaller chunks and provide your cat the feeling of eating more.
But… What About Combination Feeding?
Of course, if you think that both feeding styles have pros and cons, in reality, you can always choose to mix them a bit. Mixed feeding can be defined as serving canned food as a twice-daily meal and dry food free and available during the entire day and night.
Many owners complain that their feline makes weird and loud sounds during the night and that she wakes them up early in the morning.
Sometimes the reason for this behavior can be an underlying health issue, while in most cases the cat is hungry. But, there are a few advantages and disadvantages to this feeding style, as well.
Combination Feeding: Advantages
Combination feeding is a lot of about enjoyment and diversity in cat’s food. This approach will allow your cat to eat multiple and small meals per day. Moreover, she will chew on her schedule.
Also, you can monitor appetite, and your feline will get the nutritional benefits of both dry and wet food.
Combination Feeding: Disadvantages
Just like free feeding, combination feeding can lead to overeating, which will lead to obesity. Therefore, it’s essential always to measure food and not refill the cat’s bowl until the next day. It can also be extremely challenging to monitor cat’s eating habits if you have multiple cats, wit a combination feeding approach.
Combination Feeding: The Bottom Line
The truth is that both dry and wet food comes with definite advantages and disadvantages when it comes to feeding your cat. For example, cats diagnosed with specific medical conditions – such as kidney issues and urinary problems – might benefit more from food with higher moisture levels in wet food. On the other hand, dry food is far better for a cat’s teeth.
Also, dry wood is more natural to store. Also, if you decide to try combination feeding, consider using a food puzzle. This way, your cat can feel challenged by playing with her snacks, and she will have far more fun. If you have multiple cats at home, keep in mind that the volume of food should be balanced.
Keep the recommended calorie level. Otherwise, you can expect your cat to become overweight quickly. As you probably know, overweight can lead to a high risk of developing many health problems.
Regardless of the method that you choose, one thing is crucial – measure food. Measuring food is the best option to know how much your cat eats on a daily level, and if you should lower the dosage or put a new toy to increase the cat’s activity level.
Cat Feeding: Scheduled Feeding Time Or Free Feeding – Summary
No matter what method you choose for your feline, make sure that you provide high-quality food to deliver her the needed nutrients. This is one of the best ways to create a good base for feline’s happy and good life.
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