Cats love to eat and they can be quite convincing when they want to be. Between the cute little meows and big, adorable eyes, it is hard not to give in when your furry friend expertly requests more food, even if they shouldn’t have anymore.

As a pet parent, though, that furry little face can quickly convince us to give up just a little more food, or just one more treat. However, while it is our responsibility as pet parents to keep our cat fed and happy, it is also our responsibility to keep them healthy. Therefore, it is vital to know how often you should feed a cat (regardless of what they tell you). So, here is a mini-guide to explain how often you should feed a cat, depending on their breed, age, and current circumstance.

Meal Feeding

There are a few different feeding schedules that cat parents adhere to. This likely has a lot to do with work schedules and personal daily commitments.

Yet, there is also a school of thought that cats can eat whenever they want. Do some cats have better control than others? Can some cats graze? Sure. However, over the years, habits change and so having a grazing cat might not always be the healthiest option for your furry friend.

Rather, Meal Feeding is a much better option. Meal Feeding is when you feed your cat at certain times of the day. These times can be anywhere from two to five times per day. (Your cat should not go more than twelve hours without access to food.) The secret is that this schedule doesn’t change.

Thus, Meal Feeding is better for both monitor consumption and to make sure your cat is actually eating. If food is left for whenever the cat gets hungry, it is hard to know if they ate or not. So, when your cat is used to Meal Feeding, you can always tell exactly what your cat ate and when they ate it. (That way, if they do have any tummy troubles you can easily narrow down the timeframe.)

The trouble with Meal Feeding mostly has to do with your schedule. Often, people get cats with the expectation that they are grazers and they don’t need to live by a schedule as dog owners do. While it is more often that cats can control their intake better than dogs, grazing is not an ideal feeding structure for any cat.

Additionally, cat parents are hesitant because they worry their cat is going hungry. This is where having a great vet comes in handy. If you follow the directions your veterinarian sets forth, your cat will not be hungry.

If you feel like your cat needs a little food between feeding times, give your cat some treats. This will satisfy your cat’s food craving and it will make you feel good for being able to deliver. Just, don’t make this into a habit. You can’t give in every time your cat tries to tell you that they are hungry when you know they are on a good feeding schedule.

Tips for Narrowing Down the Perfect Schedule

Cats, regardless of their breed, size, or age love to have a schedule, even if that schedule consists entirely of eating, sleeping, and doing their cat-box business. Cats love to have the structure to let them know when they should expect different portions of their day. Thus, while no cat is exactly the same, there are some overall tips to help you narrow down the purrfect eating schedule for you and your feline friend.