There are many reasons why a cat might need to have their mealtimes monitored and controlled. Cats that are overweight, cats that are on special diets, or if you have multiple cats, it can take closer monitoring of your cat’s feedings in order to be sure they’re getting the right nutritional needs. While dogs will gobble their food up in a quick manner, cats tend to graze throughout the day and can be getting too little, or too much food in a day. Putting your cat on a meal feeding schedule where you feed your cat twice a day, then removing what they don’t eat away from them until next mealtime, is important. It can be done easily, so keep reading to learn how and why you should.
Create a schedule
The typical schedule should be a routine of twice a day, morning and evening. You can choose the times of the morning and in the evening that best work with your schedule, whether you work or have other obligations, you should schedule a time that would your kitty to eat for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, remove the bowls and don’t allow them to eat again until the evening meal. According to Dr. Nicole Uranko, Chief of Staff at Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital, she says that cats will probably protest the new schedule at first, but it won’t take long before they adjust to the new schedule.
Why you should get on a schedule
1. Helps you determine how much to feed your cats
It doesn’t matter if your cat is overweight or not, portion control is important because cats can easily get out of shape; overweight and even obese. Multiple cats should be fed in two different rooms so that you can monitor who is eating what. If your cat is used to grazing all day long then this may be a bit hard for him to handle at first. You may have to deal with some whining and crying for food throughout the day, in the beginning, but over time, he will adjust. If need be, talk to your vet about healthy snacks you can offer your cat in between meals if you think he needs them.
2. You can observe your cat’s eating habits on a meal plan
If you have a cat who has to have a special diet or needs medicine in his food, this will let you monitor what your cat is eating at each meal and how much he’s getting. It’s a better way to determine if he is getting his medicine the way he should, or if he is getting enough calories and nutrition. If you have multiple cats, you can see the subtle changes to their eating habits much more easily. Here are a few things you should observe for:
- An increase or decrease in your cat’s appetite
- Shows signs of a lack of appetite
- Displays food-guarding behaviors
- Speed eating or scarfing down their food behaviors
- How they respond to a change to their diet or adapt to a new food
3. Makes it easier to give your cat’s medication
If your furry feline is on a medication routine, having specific mealtimes is a much better way to monitor their medicine intake. You can put their medicine in their food, but if it is distinct enough in smell, your cat may pick up on it no matter what type of food you hide it in. You may need to talk to your vet about alternatives or tricks to getting your cat to take her medication if she detects it in her food and refuses to eat.
4. Gives you a better opportunity to bond with your kitty
If you feed your cat at specific times of the day, you may want to try sitting close by and spending a little time with her while she eats. You can talk to her and let her know that you are nearby while she dines. You may find that it is comforting for your cat to have you close by every time she eats, and may adapt to the new feeding schedule much quicker if you have this special bonding time that she grows to enjoy.
5. Feeding time can help you remember to give her fresh water
Yes, it may seem simple, but many pet owners can forget to give their pet fresh water on a regular basis when they are allowed to eat all day. When you have a designated meal time, it can help you remember to take care of both needs at once. Your cat’s water bowl should be washed out regularly and always have a fresh supply of cool, clean water to drink from. Refreshing their supply twice a day helps to keep them hydrated, healthy and happy.