Feed your cat on a schedule...

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schedule_cat_feeding.jpgHow do you feed your cat? Do you leave his food out or do you feed him at scheduled times? The one factor that will determine feeding patters will be the type of food you feed your cat. If you feed your cat dry food, you more than likely leave the food out for him to eat when he pleases. If you feed your cat canned food, you know that your cat likes his food fresh. Canned food almost forces you to measure and place your cat's food out on a schedule. This isn't a bad thing.

Depending on your cat and her dietary needs, "free feading" or scheduled feedings can work. In my opinion, scheduled feedings are the way to go for most cats; here's why:

  • A great reason to feed your cat on a schedule is to deal with obesity. Feeding your cat measured amounts on a schedule usually prevents your cat from overeating.
  • Another good reason for scheduled feedings is due to cat illness. It's a lot easier to spot if your cat isn't eating if you're monitoring their food intake a couple of times a day. If you're "free feeding" your cat, it's going to take you longer to notice that your cat has lost his appetite. In many cases, a cat's loss of diet is the first sign that something is wrong.
  • With a rash of pet food recalls lately, scheduled feedings allow you to react more quickly to mandatory recalls. Cats that "free feed," eat throughout the day which makes it harder to know how much contaminated food your cat may have ingested. With scheduled feedings, it's easier for you to guess how much food your cat may have eaten in the event of a recall that effects your brand.

  • My vet told me about a really neat trick that you might want to try to switch your cat from a "free feeding" to a scheduled feeding program. The night before your first scheduled feed day, remove all of your cat's food from his bowl. Don't put out any food the next morning. In the evening, put some food out for your cat and leave it there for about half an hour. If you have more than one cat, you might want to supervise the feeding to make sure that both cats are eating enough food. Once your cat or cats are done, remove the food and follow the same procedure in the morning. In a couple of days, your cat will get used to a scheduled food regimen.

    If your cat isn't adjusting to a scheduled feeding, talk to your vet about other options.

    If you've had positive or negative experiences with either "free feeding" or scheduled feedings, post a comment below and share your story.

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