Do You Feed Your Cats on a Schedule? Let’s Discuss!

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Readers Weigh In: What Do You Feed Your Cats and When Do You Feed Them?

PawNosh Cubby Mini Glass Bowl Product Review WhiskersA Floppycats reader wrote in and asked, “Question? When do you feed Charlie and Trigg?  We normally feed Mia at 6:30 am. We’re wondering if we feed her later will it make a difference in the time she wakes us up. She normally wakes us up around 5:30 or 6 am. My husband is a golfer, so he doesn’t mind but that’s to early for me since I’m retired. Appreciate any recommendation.”

So, first thing to tackle would be what do you feed your cats?  I feed mine wet food only with a mid-day freeze dried treat – Whole Life Pet Treats.  The canned cat food that I feed my cats can be found here.  I wish I could get my cats to eat raw food, but I have failed at every attempt (I’ve tried whole prey, frozen raw, freeze-dried raw, home made raw and more!).  I am not done trying, but just don’t have the energy to fight it.  What you feed your cats probably plays a part in whether or not you have a schedule.

Mine are not on a schedule (probably because I am not on a schedule since I work for myself) – I feed them when they are hungry and when I want to get up.  I have a list of what I feed them here.

I know my situation is unique – cat owners aren’t often home with their cats all day long.  So, my mom has hers on a schedule.

My parents cats who are 12-year old Ragdoll cats are fed at 6/7am, 12 noon and 4:30pm.

Mine also get fed 3x a day – usually two small 3 oz cans at a time – and then one more before I go to bed.  So they get a total of 3.5 oz cans each a day – it’s probably more like 4 for Chiggy and 3 for Charlie…ha.  I always put food down for my two before I go to bed because I don’t want them waking me up.

I am guessing if I started to mark down when I feed them every day that I’d find out that they do eat around the same times 3x a day.  But I am not going to go to the effort of doing that =).  Additionally, Charlie and Trigg can and will eat less or more as the weather changes or as their activity level changes.  So, sometimes they get more food and sometimes they get less food – it all depends on how they are eating.  But in general, it is 3.5 small cans (3 oz) of wet food a day EACH.  So a total of 7 small cans a day.

So, let’s discuss in the comments! (Some readers prefer to discuss on our Facebook page – you can see the thread to this discuss there too!)

  • What do you feed your cats?  And are they on a schedule?  If they are on a schedule, what is your schedule and how much do you feed them?

What other topics would you like to have a discussion about on our cat blog?  Please let me know in the comments!

Comments (20)

  1. I feed mine on a schedule: 7 am, 4 pm, 11pm. There are times when they aren’t fed exactly on time, but we do try to keep it pretty close.

    As far as if a schedule will help control when the cats want to get up, I don’t think so. Mine start bugging me as soon as the sun comes up and during the winter time change, whenever they think the sun should be up! lol All my cats have been this way. When they want to be fed, they will bug you unless you keep them out of your bedroom and even then my one cats (Dacman) would bang and scratch on the door!

    Cindy

  2. I have Diva’s dish of dry kibble availailable all the time, and I feed the dog at noon and Diva too. She is very competitive with the dogs (only 1 now) and if I feed her before Joni, she will not go to the dish until they/she is fed. Then she tries to eat her wet food as fast as Joni eats so that she gets a treat at the same time. I call her a dat, a cat who thinks she is a dog.
    Her best buddy is my parrotlet.

  3. We feed Dickens and Purrcy on a loose schedule, but it depends a lot on when we get home from work or whatever else we’re doing, and how hungry they are. They eat a variety of raw food, some ready made and some homemade, and I don’t usually leave food down if they aren’t interested. Every once in a while I do leave it down, tho, like this morning when they didn’t eat any breakfast at all and we were going to work, but it was only a small amount since they often don’t eat it if I leave it.

    So, first meal is when I get up, tho not immediately. When we first got them I read that if you didn’t feed them immediately after getting up, they wouldn’t learn to wake you up for food. It does seem to have worked. 🙂 So, I get up and then do a few things like scooping the kitty box if they’ve used it, emptying the dishwasher, making tea and wandering around like a zombie. Then I feed them and usually they eat up right away. However, if they had a large snack late the night before, they sometimes don’t eat or just eat a little. If it’s a workday (M-F) that’s it until after work, but on the weekends, if I’m home and they want another breakfast or a snack or lunch, I’m very flexible and feed them.

    Dinnertime is usually around 6 or 7pm, after work and on the weekends. On weekends they often do have lunch or something in the middle of the day and don’t want dinner before 7 or 8pm, but on workdays they are usually ready to eat when we get home. They usually have another meal just before bedtime, tho it’s often more of a snack. One of their favorite snacks is chunks of cut-up boneless chicken breast. Otherwise it’s usually just more of whatever was for dinner.

    I feed them Rad Cat turkey, and rabbit that I get from Whole Foods 4 Pets and mix with Alnutrin supplement for meat with bone. We were getting Darwin’s Turkey but they changed the recipe and the kitties won’t eat it any more. The have never really liked the Darwin’s Chicken a lot but we still have some and they do eat it in rotation now. I’m waiting for my meat grinder to arrive and I’ll try making my own cat food using the recipe on Lisa Pierson’s website. I’ve tried making it with boneless chicken and turkey using my food processor and Dickens likes it pretty well, but Purrcy isn’t as excited about it. With the Darwin’s it was easy to tell how much they were eating – the two of them would share an 8oz packet for each meal, and they get about that much of the rabbit or Rad Cat but it’s harder to tell exactly how much it is. I could weigh it when I feed it, but I’m not that organized. However, I do weigh the kitties at least monthly and track it on a calendar so I know if they’re gaining or losing or staying the same. They are only 2 years old and pretty active, and we haven’t had any issues with them being overweight. They have lost weight a couple of times when they wouldn’t eat a food that had a recipe change.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn – for sharing! “wandering around like a zombie” – ha ha ha!

      You said you feed raw – one of my concerns with feeding raw is leaving it down for too long – is that something you need to be concerned with as a raw feeder or no? I am asking, as I don’t know. Also, do you thaw your raw in the fridge?

      The recipe on Lisa Pierson’s site is the one I tried and my cats wouldn’t eat – but the fact that yours are already eating raw is different – so I hope it works for you! I would love for mine to be eating like that.

      1. I haven’t had any problem leaving the raw food down because they normally eat it right away, and I pick up the plates and put them in the dishwasher. (We go thru so many plates that I bought 2 sets of lunch size buffet plates from Cost Plus World Market for them.) On the occasions that I do leave it down, I worry a little, but I’ve not had any problems. If I leave it during the day, I often don’t know when someone eats it, so I don’t know if it sits for a long time or not. A few times, it’s still been sitting there when I got home and before I get a chance to pick it up and toss it out, one of them eats it. But they’ve never gotten sick from it. And I never do that in the summer when there are ants around.

        I try to thaw in the fridge, but sometimes I get behind on getting it out in time, so then I put the container or package in a mixing bowl with water. And sometimes I gently microwave it if it’s very frozen and they’re very hungry. For the rabbit, it comes in 3lb packages, so I thaw it out, mix the Alnutrin packets in (they dissolve in some water first), then portion it out into Ziploc snack or sandwich bags and put all those into a Ziploc freezer bag and put it back in the freezer. They seem to think it’s OK, even being refrozen. Those bags are easy to defrost in cool water if necessary. For the chunks of chicken breast for snacks, I cut all from a package up into chunks and then divide it up into Ziploc bags and put those in a freezer bag and freeze them. Again, usually I try to defrost in the fridge, but it’s easy to do in a bowl of water too.

        I hope they like Lisa Pierson’s recipe too. So far results from my homemade recipes are mixed. And for ages they didn’t really like the rabbit, but about a month ago, they decided it was great, so I just ordered more. Cats! It’s so hard to know sometimes…

      2. Thanks for all the insight – that is also one of the “inconveniences” of raw – just staying on top of the thawing =)

        And yes, I would use new, clean plates for every meal given the raw thing. Well, heck, I use clean bowls for every meal for my two anyway, as that is how I was raised.

  4. I wish I had put mine on a schedule and now I wonder if I have the energy to do it! They free feed all day long on dry Purina One and get a snack of one envelope of Fancy Feasts Broth split between them at about 1:00 pm. They get a couple of Whole Life Chicken treats during the day, too. Hunter loves to fish them out of the Cat Amazing Treat Puzzle box. Neither are very food motivated- attention is their drug of choice! I feel bad for people who can’t sleep in because their cats want to eat. Mine will stay in bed as long as I will! But, feeding on a schedule is useful for other things and probably better for them.

    1. Lynn! Ha ha ha – that’s what I was thinking last night as I wrote this post – it probably would help for mine to be on a schedule…but it would stress me out, so that’s not going to happen unless it’s needed.

  5. Hey Jenny !
    We feed Leo and Shelby Lotus brand wet food in the Chicken stew and Pork stew flavors. We also use a little bit of Life’s Abundance all life stages dry as a treat. In addition we also give them Whole Life chicken chunks treats.
    We have them on the following schedule:
    1. Morning when my wife gets up for work, 5:00 AM – half can each of the wet
    2. Afternoon when we get home from work at 5:00 PM – half can each of wet.
    After supper is play time for both Leo and Shelby. Play time is about 1 hour of chasing hand driven toys like DA BIRD or the GO CAT deer hair mouse toys. Goal during play is to get both tired out enough to take breaks after each “crazy kitty” burst of energy leaping, chasing at high speed, and pouncing from under the furniture out onto the floor to catch the toy. They also play together sometimes, taking turns performing WWF style takedowns and football tackles on each other, or high speed pursuit through the house.
    3. Then its another feeding at 8:00 PM of a small amount (one handful) each cat of the Lifes Abundance dry food. They also get a couple pieces each of the Life Abundance all life stages cat vitamin supplements at that time. They really seem to like these, and they will also readily accept them as treats.

  6. My 3 girls follow my crazy sleep schedule. So they eat their first meal around 1:30p and then their second at around 11P. Throughout the day, they get alternating Whole Life freeze dried chicken, CatManDo freeze dried Salmon or Bonito flakes. For their meals, they eat Tiki Cat PukaPuka chicken or Koolina Luau chicken with egg for their first meal. Then at night they have ZiwiPeak on rotation between Rabbit and Lamb, or Venison with a little Tiki Cat over the top. Occasionally, they have eaten a little Lotus chicken as well. Just began giving them a little USTEW meat with their meal. Have to introduce anything new very slowly or it causes bad diarrhea. Gracie won’t touch the UStew by itself yet, but she has eaten a small bit in her meal. Am always on the lookout for any new wholesome cat food to put in their rotation. Can’t feed raw because of Mari’s renal failure. They all eat about 2.5 oz/meal. Sometimes in the winter, Grace asks me for more and I gladly give it to them all. In contrast, during the summer, they require a little less when it is really hot.❤

  7. Mulsanne, our 7 year old male Ragdoll tells us when it’s time to feed him and he’s on a schedule of about 8-830 am and 5-530 pm. He’s pretty cute and comes to my home office promptly at his dinner time to tell me “it’s quittin’ time and feed me please”. He gets a small portion of a variety of moist foods at 8 am and 5 pm with a little added water, warmed slightly in the microwave to take the refrigerator chill off, and then we supplement with a premium dry food called Blue in the salmon variety. He knows how much to eat and doesn’t overeat, as he’s perfectly fit… not too chubby. So he has a schedule and he doesn’t have a schedule, as he can graze a bit on the dry food.

  8. My two guys are just six months old. They get fed on a schedule, sort of. Since I’m retired I often stay up till 2/3+ in the AM and not willing to get up at 5 or 6 to feed them. But they are used to it. My Beau will usually jump up in bed around 10:00am and snuggle with a purr that would wake the dead. I lay there for a bit giving him lots of loving which he just eats up. When he’s ready he’ll jump off (his signal for me to follow him to the kitchen for his breakfast), and then I get up. I also don’t feed immediately. I’ll clean litter box and then check any messages etc. I then feed each of them 1/2 of a 5.5oz. can of either Hound and Gatos or Nulo wet food and they are fed this 3x a day. I also give Whole Life treats and fresh (but cooked) meat that I have prepared. I feed them 3x a day but 4 to 5 hours apart. Jenny’s blog about the Evangers pet food recall was both fascinating and scarry. All of this woman’s pets got sick and her one dog died and why is so unbelievable you’ll have to read Jenny’s blog. There was also a link in the blog to this really great book “Dinner PAWsible” by Cathy Alinovi, DVD and Susan Thaxton (not certain of spelling), a real advocate for healthy pet foods. Good information but also great recipes for homemade pet food that is healthy for our cats and dogs. These recipes used human grade food that are lightly cooked and were pretty easy to follow. Right now my two won’t touch raw food but since they are still kittens I thought the recipes in this book might be a good stepping stone toward the raw. Anyway I intend to try it and it’s even cheaper than buying the better cat food brands and you have control of exactly what’s going into it. My little guys are so precious to me, if either one died due to the circumstances in that blog I would be horrified and totally devastated. Fantastic article!!!

  9. Great post & discussion, Jenny! We feed Miss PSB mostly wet food and a bit of dry food (it’s what she likes). She gets three small cans of different varieties (pate type only…no fish, though) Fancy Feast with a bit of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Cat kibble throughout the day. She lets us know when she is hungry. We are very lucky to be retired and home all day with her so we let her determine the schedule as it fits in with our crazy schedule (sometimes we are up during the day and sleep at night and sometimes we are up all night and sleep all day). Miss PSB is very flexible with her eating schedule. Usually, it coincides with our own eating schedule. She likes to eat when we eat which is so adorable.

    I also give her the Turkey and Chicken Red Barn grain-free treats twice a day (she gets three pieces of each one twice a day). She adores those!

    NOTE: My hubby was totally against feeding her wet food when we transitioned a few years back. We had several arguments over it and finally compromised that I would handle the feeding by mixing a bit of the dry kibble into her wet food for her meals. He can’t stand the smell or sight of wet cat food. So far it’s working out great for everyone!

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

    1. “She likes to eat when we eat which is so adorable.” – love it.

      ha ha ha on your hubby and wet food! my brother was like that when i convinced him to get Boots on wet food only! but they soon saw the benefits of doing so and thanked me afterwards – phew.

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