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Welcome Crazy Cat People
So you are wondering ”What time should I feed my cat”? There are lots of different options and I did a little research to find out what those options are.
On average cats need to be fed at least twice a day, the time you leave the food out is your choice but many cat owners feed once in the morning and once at night ideally twelve hours apart. Cats are creatures of routine and habit and learn when to expect food.
There is a lot more to take into consideration when deciding your cat’s feeding schedule such as your cat’s preferences and age so in this post we delve into that a little deeper and answer some of your related questions too.
Read on to find out more.
More information regarding cat feeding times and schedule
Cats are creatures of habit and routine and keeping to a regular schedule can help your cat in a lot of ways especially if there are going to be big routine changes such as when you introduce a new cat to the household or if you are bringing a baby home for the first time.
While we’re on the subject of babies I wrote an article about babies and how to prepare for babies arrival when you own a cat.
Think of how routine benefits your life?
Routine helps us feel less stressed, we know what to expect and were more content when we stick to a regular schedule and cats are no different.
Cats have a simple stomach structure and just like us humans they get used to when to expect food. Their stomach empties within a few hours and then 8-10 hours later they will then get signals of hunger. Read this blog post by pet place to find out more information on the cat’s gastrointestinal tract.
I feed my cats at 7 am each morning and then around the same time each evening, leaving 12 hours apart and this works for me. I do also leave dry out in a measured amount because my little girl is a grazer and she likes to pick at her food.
This routine works for me but I suppose it’s about finding what routine works for your cats and being aware of their preferences.
Kittens need to be fed a little more often and you may wish to feed them 3-4 times a day while there growing up. They need lots of nutrients to help them grow plus kittens are generally more active so they use a lot of energy at playtime.
Some cats do benefit from and enjoy a free feeding schedule where a certain amount of dry food is left out for them every day.
Outdoor cats are going to be more active so some cat owners decide to feed outdoor cats slightly more food but remember that outdoor cats will also hunt and eat prey outside too. If you are lucky they may bring some of their prey back as a little present for you!
Believe me, this is a good thing as the cat wants to repay you the favour for feeding them every day (Even though a dead mouse on the carpet is enough to make anyone throw up)
The video below from Relax my cat goes into a lot more detail on the 3 main ways in which you can feed your cat.
Should I leave food out for my cat at night?
Food can be left out for cats at night but only dry food as wet food can easily spoil. A free feeding schedule is ideal for some cats so they can eat when they want, just make sure the food is measured out so the cat doesn’t over-eat which can lead to weight gain.
With my cats, there is normally dry food left out at night time but as I mentioned above only in measured amounts, my Lenny is a big boy and enjoys his food so much so if I left lots of food out he would just eat it all.
He’s just like his Daddy on that one, we both love our food a little too much.
My little girl is the ultimate Finicky cat, she doesn’t want food at set times but I notice she eats more at night time but because she doesn’t eat as much as Lenny I leave a separate bowl of dry food for her on top of the fridge where Lenny doesn’t tend to go, otherwise, he would definitely eat it all.
How can I make dry food more appealing to my cat?
There are a few ways to make dry food more appealing for cats such as mixing it with their favourite wet food and heating the food slightly, adding small pieces of cooked meat, or even adding the juice from a can of tuna and sprinkling it over the top.
You may want to feed your cat dry food but notice that they turn their nose up at it and they won’t eat it. There are lots of imaginative ways in which to make it more appealing.
The above are only a few tips on encouraging your cat to eat dry food, there are lots of other ways. I personally like to warm the food up slightly if I mix it in with meat pieces and wet food. Obviously making sure the food is not too hot is very important as you don’t want a burned tongue.
After trying the tips above if your cat still doesn’t like dry food then I suppose you may just have to accept that it’s not to kitties’ taste and stick with your wet food.
In conclusion – What time should I feed my cat?
So we know now that cats love routine especially with their food, so it’s up to you to decide the ideal time to feed them. It just works for me to feed twice a day and leave a little dry food out for them too.
Are you going to be working in the daytime? Then feed your cat before you leave and in the evening. I like to feed my cats just before I eat so they are not begging for food while I am eating my dinner.
I hope this short post has helped you think more about your cat’s feeding schedule and what to consider.
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)