Cats should eat five or more times per day; small and frequent.
“The way we feed our cats generally does not match the lifestyle they were designed for.”
The quoted words are those of Dr Ellis a feline behaviourist who with a colleague, Dr Rowe, have decided that domestic cats should be fed five or more small portions of food daily. The say that in general cat owners don’t do this but provide less frequent larger portions.
It is an interesting thought. I am not sure that they are correct because I don’t think there is any research on the percentage of cat owners who feed their cats large portions twice a day.
I am sure that there are a lot of people who allow their cats to graze on dry cat food at any time of the day or night and at the cat’s pleasure. That too would appear to be incorrect and when combined with an inactive lifestyle can lead to obesity. This also leads to the suggestion that domestic cats need to grapple with puzzle feeders to challenge them and replicate somewhat wild cat hunting. The trouble is that puzzle feeders only use kibble.
The reason why the veterinarians suggest five small meals a day is because it mimics the lifestyle of cats in the wild they say. That is not necessarily true either. It is certainly not necessarily true for the big cats who need to feed on large prey and eat copious amounts of food at one sitting.
However, in general the African-Asian wildcat probably does eat small meals relatively frequently as opposed to sitting down to a large meal once daily but this is obviously depends on the availability of prey.
In general the veterinarians say that cat owners need to do their best to match their cat’s lifestyle to what their cat has been designed to do. We know, and this is constantly stated, that the domestic cat has undergone little in the way of evolution from its wildcat ancestor and have an instinctive need to hunt.
“This modern lifestyle can be dangerous to pets…” They say. Simple changes like feeding five times daily can help domestic cats to live longer and happier.
What do you do and what do you think about this? I provide my cat with food about three times daily and he then eats probably about 5-7 times per day. The complication for me is that he hunts outside a lot and catches and eats mice from time to time.