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The Ideal Feeding Schedule: How Often Should Cats Eat?

How Often Should Cats Eat?

As pet owners, we spent a lot of time deciding what type of food to feed our furry friends. But understanding how often should cats eat is just as important for the well-being of our pets. Cats have very particular dietary requirements, and it’s important to keep in mind that these needs vary based on the breed, size, and life stage of your cat.

While underfeeding can result in dietary deficiencies and loss of weight, overfeeding is a much more common issue. When you feed your cat the right quantity of food, it will be able to maintain a healthy body weight, which is vital for your cat’s general health.

Whether your cat prefers dry food, wet food, a combination of the two, or sometimes even a little human food snack you must keep track of how much and how frequently you feed them.

How Many Times a Day Should a Cat Eat?

The number of times a cat should eat varies according to factors such as age, size, activity level, and personal preferences. It’s crucial to note that these are only guidelines; you should also consider your cat’s specific needs and check with your veterinarian. Additionally, the type of diet (dry food, wet food, or a mix) and brand you select may have their own feeding instructions.

Factors That Affect How Often Should Cats Eat

Depending on their unique demands, cats can be fed one to five times each day. After all, it’s common knowledge that each cat has a particular personality. Regardless of how frequently you feed your cat, their eating schedule may have an influence on their digestive system, energy level, and general contentment, so finding the right balance is key. There are several factors to consider when deciding how often should cats eat.

Consider Your Cat’s Age

The age of a cat influences how frequently it should be fed. 

How often should kittens eat?

Kittens should be fed more often during the day. Because kittens are in a critical growth period, they require more food per pound of body weight than adult cats. If they do not obtain enough nutrients and calories, their growth will be stunted, which will lead to difficulties later on. 

How often should adult cats eat?

When cats are a year old, you can reduce their feedings to once or twice a day. You should feed your cat twice a day once in the morning and once in the evening to help maintain it’s digestive system healthy.

A consistent feeding schedule also makes it simpler to detect any inconsistencies that may signal an underlying medical condition. 


Larger breeds, such as Maine Coons, require more food than those that are smaller. Even within the same breed, certain cats are naturally smaller than others and require less food.

Activity Level

Cats who are playful like the Abyssinian for example and who get plenty of activity burn more calories than felines which are couch potatoes. Due to physiologic variances, a cat’s resting metabolic rate may be greater or lower than normal.

Reproductive Status

Spaying and neutering lower the number of calories a cat requires. Most nursing and pregnant cats, on the other hand, should have unlimited access to food suitable for kittens or all life stages in order to fulfill the huge nutritional demands that reproduction imposes on their bodies.

Incorporate Your Personal Schedule

Because you can’t feed your cat while you’re at work or when you’re not home, plan your cat’s feeding schedule around your schedule. If you have a consistent weekday routine it would be easy for you to feed your cat once in the morning and once in the evening. If your schedule is more hectic, a late-night or early-morning feeding or feeding it once a day may be more convenient for you. Whatever your schedule is, try to feed your cat at the same time every day.

how often should cats eat, cat on a table

How Often Should Cats Eat a Day?

Cats have evolved to consume a variety of little meals throughout the day, but putting food out all the time is a big risk factor for obesity. It is quite common for cats to desire to eat a couple of smaller meals each day while eating dry cat food. 

However, when feeding your cat wet food, it is important that they eat it within a half hour or so to avoid the food going bad. If you want to split the wet food into two meals, calculate the total amount of calories your cat needs every day and divide that number by the number of times you plan to feed your cat.

3 Cats Feeding Methods

There are three different ways that pet owners may feed their feline friends, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Meal Feeding Cats

Meal feeding implies that you only feed your cat at certain times of the day. This method is used to feed both wet and dry food.

  • Advantages: The intake of food may be carefully tracked, making it easier to detect whether your cat’s appetite has changed. 
  • Disadvantages: Between meals, cats may beg for more food. Your cat has no control over how much they consume at any given moment. However, if you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for adequate quantities and frequent feeding, you may be certain that they are getting the necessary quantity of food and nutrients.

Free Feeding Cats

When you are free feeding your cat, their food is available at any time. Remember that only dry foods may be served in this way since wet food should not be kept out all day. If your cat has been keeping dry food in their bowl for more than a day, you should still throw it away.

  • Advantages: Your cat can eat several tiny meals every day at their own pace. The secret to free-feeding success is to place the appropriate amount of dry food for a cat in the dish for only one day at a time.
  • Disadvantages: If the amount of food is not limited, free-feeding cats can lead to overeating and obesity. It might often be difficult to determine if your cat’s appetite has changed for the better or for the worse. 

Combination Feeding

Mixed feeding is when wet food is served twice a day and dry food is always available.

  • Advantages: Combination feeding allows your cat to consume several small dry food meals each day on their own schedule. When you feed them wet food at a specified time of day, you can at least partially control their appetite. This type of feeding also provides the nutritional benefits of both wet and dry food to cats.
  • Disadvantages: Mixed feeding, like free feeding, can lead to obesity and overeating. It’s important to measure out the food and refill the dish the following day.

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