There are many articles available on Google and social media answering the question above. Chances are they all give widely varying answers as to when and just how many times you should be feeding your feline. No, you might wonder if there is a wrong or right way when it comes to just how many mealtimes your cat has in a single day. The thought of if there is a ‘sweet spot’ number that is perfect for feeding your feline friend under every circumstance.
The straight answer is a resounding no. this might not be the answer you want to hear, but the simple fact is, there isn’t a definite right answer. There are only disadvantages and advantages for giving your feline food any specific amount of times. These benefits are really up to you, should you choose to adopt any of them. It is pretty much down to you the frequency with which your cat is fed in a day, as long as both of you are in tune and aren’t hampered by the frequency. Should these two factors be met, it doesn’t matter if your cat is fed 2 times or even 5 times in a day.
How Often and How Much Should Kittens be Fed
It is clear that kittens are in need of more food for every pound of their body weight, as they are growing and their developing bodies need vital nourishment to fuel that growth. Any cat owner knows that kittens can be a handful, exploring and pouncing. All that activity needs energy.
Francis Kallfelz who is a Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine James Law professor and a veterinarian certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, states that kittens below 6 months of age require at least 3 meals every single day. Since their stomachs are tiny, they are only able to eat a certain amount at a single sitting. He also states that kittens just as toddlers love to snack as well.
It is imperative that kittens are fed both wet and dry food, as kittens, particularly small ones are equipped with an identical set of teeth which makes it impossible for them to get their canines into kibble. Should the kittens be only fed kibble, they could become malnourished as they are unable to eat the amount of food they require, and they might even give up eating food as it isn’t a seamless, pleasant experience for them. Kittens that avoid food for as long as 12 hours could be severely harmed, even to the point of death. Cat vitamins designed for kittens ensure they can thrive to their full potential. Another ideal tool for breeds or ages of cat that require regular small portioned meal is automatic feeders.
Extremely Young Kittens (Newborns Up To About 4 Weeks Old)
Fledgling kittens are given the best chance at nutrition when they are fed with mother’s milk. This is because it offers up all the nutrients needed to fuel healthy development. However, if you have a kitten whose mother refuses to feed it or has not yet been weaned, it would be necessary to purchase and feed the kitten a commercial milk substitute.
The Banfield pet Hospital states that standard recommendations for commercial milk substitutes request 30ml for ½ a pound of body weight during a 24 hour period.
For instance, a 1-week old kitten with a weight of ½ pound will require 30mls of milk formula for the day. When this is divided by 8 feedings, it amounts to around 4ml per feeding.
What is clear from the above is that providing food for newborns is way more complex than providing food for kittens that are slightly older. Consequently, it is tremendously imperative that once a newborn kitten without a mother or one whose mother is unable to produce enough milk for it is acquired, you as an owner need to seek the opinion of a veterinarian straight away. Doing this should ensure that the kitten in question gets all the things and nutrients it requires for this incredibly vital stage of its burgeoning life. Typically, guidelines may differ on the appropriate time to switch the kitten to feed on solid food. However, the commonly recommended age is usually around 4 to 6 weeks of age.
Kittens (From About 4 Weeks To 6 Months)
Every commercial kitten feed comes complete with recommended feeding guidelines on their labels. The fact is not every pet owner chooses to make use of the instructions. It is typically dependent on the kitten as, it may be more active than others, which would cause it to require more daily calories. Or the kitten might have special health needs. It is imperative to feed kittens based on your veterinarian’s advice and your in-depth knowledge of your cat.
Dry food guidelines (these are usually based on the kitten’s age and its approximate weight at that age):
- A quarter to a third cup for every feeding till around 8 weeks
- A third of a cup to about Three-quarters a cup for every feeding up to 6 months, dependent on weight even longer.
Typically recommended wet food guidelines (kittens can begin eating wet food, quite earlier than eating dry food):
- Two-thirds of a 3 ounce can every day, for every pound the kitten weighs. This can go on until around 6 months.
Kittens (From 6 Months To Adulthood)
Although kittens aren’t yet fully grown adults at 6 months of age, they are able to be fed largely on an adult diet which has to be supplemented with veterinarian recommended kitten foods and appropriate kitten vitamins. Dr. Francis Kallfelz of Cornell University, states that the majority of cats 6 months and up can be fed two times a day. Guidelines at this juncture are typically always displayed by weight on the feed labels. An average kitten aged 6 months might weight about 5 to 7 pounds. However, this will depend on a lot of factors like activity level, breed, diet, etc.
Typical dry food recommendations:
- 5 to 9 pounds should be fed half a cup to Three-quarters of a cup every day, and this should be divided into a minimum of 2 meals.
General wet food guidelines:
- 5 to 9 pounds should be fed one can for every 3 to 3 and a half pounds of body weight every day. This should also be divided into numerous meals in a day.
How Much And How Often To Feed Adult Cats
Cats are typically labeled as adults once they reach an age of about 8 to 12 months. The following guidelines use the 1 to 7 years of age as the standard. These guidelines have taken into account breed, health, weight and more. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention offers recommended guidelines in a chart that takes into account the weight of an average adult cat, and many of the other bigger breeds which require even more calories:
- Persian: 7 to 12 pounds.
- Domestic Cat: 8 to 10 pounds.
- Maine Coon: 10 to 25 pounds.
- Siamese: 5 to10 pounds.
General dry food guidelines:
- 5 pounds to 9 pounds– a daily feed of half a cup to three-quarters a cup. (Certain cat owners prefer to split it into various meals, while others do it once a day or even free feed.)
- 10 to 14 pounds –should be fed three-quarters of a cup to one cup every day
- Bigger cats tend to require more daily calories, so it is best to consult a vet on the appropriate measure.
General wet food guidelines:
- Three-quarters to 1 ounce for every pound of weight each day. It should also be split into numerous meals.
How Often and How Much should Senior Cats be Fed
Senior felines are those that are eight years of age and older, dependent on the type of breed. These cats should follow a diet made for adult cats. However, illnesses associated with age, as well as changes in metabolism could result in the decreased appetite in the cat.
As the cat grows, it is best to schedule regular checkups with a vet and also make inquiries about nutrition to help make sure the senior cat stays healthy and thrives.
Can a cat be free-feed?
It is plausible to provide a massive bowl of dry food and allow the cat to select and be responsible for the times it chooses to eat. This setting does seem like it would give the cat the ability to feed in a manner that is similar to the one nature intended. In a perfect world, this would be possible. However, there are a lot of variables that have to be considered when deciding to free feed a cat. Research has shown that both dogs and cats can oversee their intake of food to adequate levels under various circumstances. One of them being the feline in question has to be healthy, and its activity levels have to be higher than that of the average indoor cat.
The cat’s food consumption can also be controlled by the owner, by merely providing just enough food required for the day. The unfortunate thing is, this can only be done if the cat is being fed solely dry diet and the household is a single cat household. Free-feeding, more than a single cat, makes it impossible to tell if all the cats got an even share of their daily requirements.
Feeding Guidelines for Bigger Cats
Bigger cats naturally tend to require more food. It is best to consult a veterinarian before setting out a guideline. Peculiar breeds typically have nutritional requirements that are specific and also need additional supplements. Nevertheless, a couple of set rules for some of the largest breeds with special dietary requirements can be helpful.
A Maine Coon kitten typically matures at varied, later phase than some other breeds, which is why sure vets recommend that the kittens be fed on kitten food for a prolonged period. Some suggestions state that they should be transitioned from kitten feed to adult feed from about 4 months to 9 months
Ragdolls tend to grow rapidly however they don’t do so at a consistent rate. They tend to gain weight in spurts, with some gaining around 2 pounds every month, only to level off then gain more weight at a later date. As a result of this, strictly following typical feeding recommendations for this breed is not appropriate. At a point, the ragdoll cat would require a large number of calories while at some other stages if the feeding regiment is not flexible, the cat could become malnourished.
How Cat Health Affects Feeding
Sure cats, especially those suffering from illness and diseases will require special care regarding their feeding. For example, diabetic cats require a diet that is lower in carbohydrates and might need to have that diet balanced out with insulin. Felines that suffer from pancreatitis, dental problems or thyroid disease are some instances of medical conditions that could affect the diet, feeding regiment, and frequency of the feline.
Water All the Time
It really doesn’t matter how the feeding needs of the cat are approached, the most important thing that should always be certain, is that the cat would always require available clean water. While some cats and kittens might seem unamused by water and seem to have no need for it, it is still their most important nutrient.
It is imperative to ensure that the water supply available for the cat is replaced a couple of times per day. If you believe that the cat’s water intake is lower than it should be, you can help increase its water intake by feeding moistened food.
At the end of it all, ensuring your cat is healthy from the time it is born all the way until it is old and grew, largely depends on careful and proper nutrition. Selecting food that is high in quality, providing water that is clean and fresh every day and spending the time to bond with your cat are also necessary to promote good health.