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How Often Should You Feed Your Cat? Know All About Cat Feeding Schedule

Cats should be fed at least 2 meals a day, about 12 hours a part. Kittens up to the age of 6 months should be fed 3 times a day at equal intervals and in equal amounts.
Orange cat sitting with blue analog clock in front

Fearing obesity in my cat, I spent hours researching and talking to vets on what is the best feeding schedule for my cat.

Turns out it is not quite straightforward and you need to take into consideration your cat’s age and health conditions to make a conscious decision.

The article will help you answer the elusive question, how often should I feed my cat?

How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

You can feed your cat 2 to 3 times a day. The number of times you can feed your cat in a day depends on the age, health requirements of individual cats and the cat’s preference.

Feeding too little can lead to malnutrition in your cat and too much can lead to obesity.

It is recommended to feed your cat at least two meals daily.

There are two major factors to consider when deciding on the feeding schedule of your cat.

Feeding Schedule Per Your Cat’s Age

  • Kittens: Kittens require up to four times the calories per pound of body weight as adult cats for that reason kittens up to the age of 6 months require at least three meals per day. Structured feeding time with your kitten will lead to a healthy growth of your kitten and they won’t be at risk of obesity from an early age. [Source]
  • Adults: Once your cat is a year old, switch to feeding them twice a day. Make sure you give the same amount of food each time at the same exact time. Feeding them once in the morning and once in the evening can really help their digestive system be healthy.
  • Senior Cats: As cats get older their activity level decreases and their health needs change. You should be feeding your senior cat 1 to 2 times a days after consultation with your vet on their health needs.

Feeding Schedule Per Your Cat’s Health Needs

  • Diabetes: If your cat has diabetes you need to schedule the feeding around the same time you give them their insulin injections.
  • Dental Issues: If your cat has dental issues or is ageing you will need to switch to softer and wet food. You might need to feed them more or less based on the wet food you are giving them after consultation with your vet.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism can make your cat feel extra hungry and crave food more. You need to alter the feeding schedule to give your cat more frequent smaller portions of meals throughout the day. Important to consult with your vet on the feeding schedule.

The Ideal Time Difference Between Meals

Cats need to be fed every 12 hours. 12 hours between meals gives cats enough time to digest their food, have a little cat nap and play around to build up the appetite for the next meal.

Another option could be dividing the cat’s daily meal into breakfast, lunch, afternoon and dinner. Make sure not to over feed your cat and always give the same amount each time.

Should You Always Keep the Food Bowl Full?

If your cat is a grazer, you can portion out the whole day’s food into small meals and offer them to your kitty on a regular basis, making sure that the whole day’s worth of food is eaten by your cat.

The most important thing is to always measure the amount of food you give your cat

Free feeding or always having the bowl full of food without measuring is not a good idea as it can lead to obesity.

Having regular time when you top off your cat’s food bowl with the appropriate time is the best option for grazers.

Make Feeding Time Work For Your Schedule

Life is extremely busy and we all  have a hectic schedule. So try adjusting the feeding time to your schedule. 

Your cat wouldn’t mind it as long the interval between the meals is consistent and they are getting the right amount of food per meal.

Feed your cat at the same time everyday and they will get used to it in no time.

Always Measure The Amount of Food You Are Giving Your Cat!

Always measure the amount of food you are giving your cat at each meal time. It is important to keep the amount of food consistent to avoid any risk of malnutrition or obesity.

You can use this calculator to calculate the suggested feeding amount for your cat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to Feed Cats Once a Day?

It is generally not recommended to feed your cat only once a day. The advised number of times a cat should be fed is 2 to 3 times a day at equal intervals.

What Time Should I Feed My Cat?

Cats should be fed every 12 hours. It is advisable to feed your cat twice per day. Work around your schedule so that you can ensure that you are feeding the cat at the same time everyday.

Can I Feed My Cat 3 Times a Day?

Two meals per day is a minimum for adult cats. But you can also feed adult cats 3 meals per day as long as you portion them out equally and give the meals at appropriate intervals.

How Often Should You Feed a Pregnant or Nursing Cat?

Pregnant or nursing cats require a lot of nutrients as we can imagine.You can leave out food at all times to ensure they are getting the calories they require through this period.

You should also consult your vet to come up with an appropriate feeding plan for your cat.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are a seasoned cat parent or a new one, knowing how often to feed your cat for each life stage and health condition is essential for our fur babies to live a happy and fulfilling life.

So go ahead, create a feeding plan for your furry friends and make sure everyone in the house follows it and does not feed the cat table scraps that will reduce their hunger.

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