After bringing your cat home, one of the first decisions to make is what to feed, how much to feed and how often. Once you have decided on the best food to feed your cat, deciding between canned food and dry food can be difficult.

Canned or Dry
Dry cat foods have greater “caloric density” which means simply, there is less water in a 1/2 cup of dry food as compared to a canned food diet. Overall, the choice of “dry” vs. “canned” vs. “semi-moist” is an individual one. When dry or canned food is fed in the proper amounts based on age and size of the pet, either should meet the nutritional requirements of your cat. Some medical conditions, such as dental disease, may benefit from dry food. Other medical conditions, such as urinary disorders in which increased water consumption is desirable, encourage the use of canned foods. Discuss these alternatives with your veterinarian. Most cats enjoy eating a combination of a dry food along with supplemental canned food. This allows you to observe your pet’s behavior during the canned mealtime.

How Often
There are various methods of feeding cats. Sometimes, the age and size of the pet plays a role and sometimes the habits of the cat. There are two common methods of feeding; free choice and limited time feeding.

Free Choice
Free choice feeding is recommended for kittens under 6 months of age. At this young age, kittens should be allowed to eat as much as they want and their food bowls should be kept full with dry kibble. Many people continue to keep the food bowl full throughout the cat’s life. For some finicky cats, this method may work.

However, many cats do not fare well on this method. Keeping the food bowl full allows the cat to eat whenever he wants and as much as he wants. By keeping the bowl full, you cannot monitor the amount of food your pet is eating, leading to obesity. Alternatively, if you have multiple cats and one becomes ill, often you cannot tell if he is eating or not. For cats that enjoy nibbling through the day, fill the bowl each morning with the day’s ration. Regardless of when the bowl is emptied, no more food is to be added to the bowl until the following day. This will allow you to monitor your cat’s intake as well as help to prevent growing a chubby kitty.

Limited Timed Feeding
Another method of feeding is to feed small meals, several times through the day. This can be beneficial for regulating the intake of obese pets

Posted in: Cat FAQs